Posted: Monday 4th July 2016 by Rachel

Ox-eye daisiesOx-eye daisies - Barrie Wilkinson

I have a childhood memory of being in a meadow; surrounded and dwarfed by wildflowers. Amongst them was an oversized daisy with a sunny yellow centre and bright white petals. It seemed to grow taller than me as it reached for the sun.

I knew these daisies as moon pennies. As an adult, I now know the official name (the one that appears in the identification books) is ox-eye daisy or Leucanthemum vulgare. Which sounds altogether less romantic than moon penny.  

Many of my childhood memories involve wildlife and the outside world; riding bikes through the streets, playing in in the local stream, building dens in the hedge, swimming in the river. Though I am sure my past has a rose-tint to it and I’m forgetting the summer holidays that dragged, when it rained day after day and I was bored. But I did have the freedom to explore in a way that doesn’t exist for many children today. Now, the roads are too busy, there’s a lack of natural green spaces in built up areas, there’s the ever present fear of strangers and all sorts of dangers that lurk in the outside world, and a seemingly never-ending supply of digital, screen-based distractions.

Within the wildlife and outdoor enthusiast community there is an increasing awareness of the lack of opportunities for children to explore the natural world, of the growing disconnection between children and nature. And it’s not just children that are spending more time indoors, watching TV, glued to the latest screen-based technology. Adults are guilty of this too.

Yet we know that nature is good for us. Numerous studies have shown that access to, or even a view of, trees and flowers, a natural green landscape can reduce stress and help recovery from mental fatigue. The solution is deceptively simple. Get outdoors more. Spend time in the garden, walk round the local park at lunchtime, visit a nature reserve, go for a walk in the countryside.

Just like eating five fruit/vegetables a day. We know it’s good for us but it isn’t always easy. The fears and distractions still exist. This is where the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust can help. During July and August we have over sixty events.

There are guided walks on nature reserves, seawatching and dolphin watching events, wildlife identification courses and lots of family activities to get the kids involved. There really is no excuse for being bored or being inside so get your diaries out and start planning your summer of wildlife. Let’s make sure that we all, children and adults, have lots of memories of wildlife, wild places and moon pennies.

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