"Children have lost touch with the natural world and are unable to identify common animals and plants, according to a survey.
Half of youngsters aged nine to 11 were unable to identify a daddy-long-legs [what we call a crane fly], oak tree, blue t*t or bluebell, in the poll by BBC Wildlife Magazine. The study also found that playing in the countryside was children's least popular way of spending their spare time, and that they would rather see friends or play on their computer than go for a walk or play outdoors." Read more.
Take the quiz on the paper's page. These are British animals and plants, so don't get too upset if you are in the US can't identify them--I missed two myself. What it does show, though, is that the problem that so many of us see right here in the US is not unique. When 5th grade students pile off a school bus and enter a nature preserve, see a chipmunk and yell, "Beaver!!" there is something very lacking in their education. These same children will see a toad, call it a frog, and have no interest in learning what it really is. They will, in fact, argue that it is a frog...their father told them so.
More troubling is that the children in the British survey said that playing outside was their least favorite thing to do. Is it the lure of electronic gadgets that keeps them inside, or is it fear of strangers, wildlife, the unknown? Lack of control over what they do...?
The cure? Get out. Often.