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Let's all get back to nature!


If you are of a certain age, you will remember a regular item on the school’s weekly curriculum…nature walks. While many children dreaded this mandatory plod through often wet countryside, at least most young people gained a basic understanding and sometimes a love for our fabulous British countryside.

Evidently that is not the case today. According to statistics from the Canal and River Trust, a quarter of young parents today can’t identify the sound of a duck; while a third of their children couldn’t recognize a duck sound either.

Also it seems that 63% of modern parents and 69% of their kids incorrectly believe that owls can rotate their heads a full 360 degrees and even recognizing simple wildlife can be a challenge.

Dr Mark Robinson, national ecologist for the Canal and River Trust, says: “It’s a shame to see that people’s knowledge of nature is declining, but this can easily be reversed. Did you know that a blackbird’s song mimics its surrounding noise, or could you identify the sound a fox makes? Just step outside your front door, stop, look and listen, and you can hear such a variety of nature sounds.”

Now the Canal and River Trust has launched a Great Nature Watch campaign, urging people to stop, look and listen to what is happening around them.

Dr Robinson continues: “Canals and rivers provide a fantastic nature reserve right on your doorstep and they’re free. By taking part in our Great Nature Watch you can not only increase your own nature know-how by spotting and listening to a wide variety of wildlife but help us monitor the numbers of species living on our waterways, which is essential when looking after and maintaining a 200 year old part of our industrial history.”

As part of this campaign, the Trust has uploaded a fabulous online test to help you identify the sounds of common wildlife.It is in the form of a quiz; it is great fun and suitable for all ages.

Also on this site you can do a Waterways Wildlife Quiz answering (and finding the answers) on all sorts of questions from how many wings does a dragonfly have to the fact that otter poo smells like jasmine tea!

As part of the campaign, if you would like to get involved, perhaps with your grand children (or even your children) on monitoring wildlife, then all you need do is visit a nearby canal or river and note down all the wildlife sightings you see or hear.  You can then submit your records by downloading the Trust’s free mobile app: eNatureWatch , or search Canal & River Trust in the Apple App Store /Google Play Store. Anyone can take part and record as many sightings as they like between now and the end of September.

And if you were unaware of the Canal and River Trust itself, then it is interesting to note that they are the guardians of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales, caring for the nation’s third largest collection of listed structures, as well as museums, archives, and hundreds of important wildlife sites. 


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