As part of the international interest for nature conservation, the European country of Denmark conducted a poll to investigate how recent past three generations of Danes experienced nature. A representative sample of 1,000 parents of 5- to 12- year-old children and 1,000 adults between 55 and 70 years of age answered a series of questions about their or their children/grandchildren’s use of natural space and attitudes toward nature. In this report, Paltved-Kaznelson presents many interesting findings, highlighting the following:
- The majority of parents agreed that it’s important for their children to learn about nature and that it is healthy for children to spend time in nature. Outdoor playground equipment placed i natural setting can be considered helpful in encouraging explorative play.
- Overall, parents heartily agreed that childhood experiences in nature had a positive influence on their lives and that a childhood with nature experiences is better than one with few or no nature experiences.
- In three generations, there has been significant steady decline in time that children spend outdoors in nature. For example, 59% of grandparents reported visiting a natural setting every day during the summer when they were children, as compared to 42% of parents and just 26% of children today.
- The level of engagement in organized sports has increased significantly. For example, 22% of grandparents reported participating in organized sports several times a week when they were children, compared to 38% of parents and 44% of children today. That would be a positive.
- 73% of grandparents and 54% of parents reported that children do not spend enough time in nature.
- 81% of grandparents and 67% of parents reported that electronic media is the prevalent reason children spend less time outside than previous generations. Also, 44% of parents believe that “parents not taking time to let their children experience nature” is an important reason why children do not spend as much time outdoors.