Four in five British children can’t recognise a bee and less than half know what stinging nettle is3 min read

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Four in five British children can’t recognise a bumblebee and less than half know what a stinging nettle is amid fears they are becoming disconnected from nature

  • British children are struggling to name the most common wildlife and plants
  • As many as 83 per cent of 1,000 five to 16-year-olds could identify a bumblebee 
  • And shockingly another 82 per cent did not know what an oak leaf looked like
  • However, few children were flummoxed when presented with an image of a fox 

Only one fifth of children can recognise a bumblebee, while less than half know what a stinging nettle is.

British children are struggling to name the most common wildlife and plants as they become increasingly disconnected from nature, a survey suggests.

However, almost all of those asked could name a fox, the Times reported.

Only one fifth of children can recognise a bumblebee (stock pictured), while less than half know what a stinging nettle is

Only one fifth of children can recognise a bumblebee (stock pictured), while less than half know what a stinging nettle is

When shown picture cards of British flora and fauna, 83 per cent of 1,000 five to 16-year-olds could not name a bumblebee. Another 82 per cent did not know what an oak leaf looked like.

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The study recorded 65 per cent of children failed to recognise a blue tit, 51 per cent could not pick out stinging nettles, 24 per cent were complete strangers to conkers and 23 per cent were not familiar with a robin.

However, few children were flummoxed when presented with an image of a fox, with only 3 per cent failing to recognise one.

However, almost all of those asked could name a fox (stock pictured), the Times reported

However, almost all of those asked could name a fox (stock pictured), the Times reported

Another 82 per cent did not know what an oak leaf looked like (stock pictured)

Another 82 per cent did not know what an oak leaf looked like (stock pictured)

The distinctive hedgehog was also familiar to most, with only 7 per cent unable to spot it.

Andy Beer, the National Trust’s regional director for the Midlands, said: ‘As a nation we are losing our connection with nature. This is really worrying for us as a conservation charity.

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‘If today’s children aren’t connected to nature, then who is going to stand up for our countryside and wildlife in the future?

The study recorded 65 per cent of children failed to recognise a blue tit (stock pictured)

The study recorded 65 per cent of children failed to recognise a blue tit (stock pictured)

‘We all need to do more and encourage children to experience nature and to have fun outdoors; as then they will start to care about it and want to spend time outside.’

The survey, carried out for the family activity app Hoop, found more than two fifths of parents think children spending less time in nature than they did is the reason for their lack of knowledge.

A further third put their ignorance down to too much screen time.

Mary Peach ran a Forestry School in Crawley, West Sussex for children who were not in mainstream education.

As many as 51 per cent could not pick out stinging nettles (pictured), 24 per cent were complete strangers to conkers and 23 per cent were not familiar with a robin

As many as 51 per cent could not pick out stinging nettles (pictured), 24 per cent were complete strangers to conkers and 23 per cent were not familiar with a robin

She said: ‘I would think this survey is true but it’s the same with a lot of adults. We find people don’t realise the value of nature and being outside gives you. Hidden things happen when you take people into the outdoors. 

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‘I think it’s a huge problem that people don’t see the value of it. I know the children I worked with didn’t have a lot of knowledge about nature.

‘Our students would go out for a whole day and be outside the whole time in our wood. They would be making things, learning the names of plants and animals. I could take any child and within half an hour they calmed down and could engage with you.’

The survey found that most children were not interested in wildlife, with the older bracket faring the worst.

While 26 per cent of all the children said they had little or no interest in nature, 34 per cent of those aged 11-16 were disinterested, compared with 19 per cent of those aged 5 to 10.

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