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The Wild Takes On The Virtual
Wildlife detective. Photo by P. Harris
The Wild Watch in Nidderdale has launched a series of free family-friendly ‘Bug and Beast’ safaris across the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Families are asked to go wild as part of its Screen Free Summer initiative to lure children away from their mobiles, iPads and TV screens. The free workshops open to all ages will offer fun interactive learning, from creating bug hotels to pond dipping, nature crafts and bug hunting.

A Wild Watch snapshot survey of 35 parents in Nidderdale found 74% of children spend up to two hours a day on their screens; just over 25% spent three to five hours glued to a screen. Over half questioned said they had concerns about the amount of time their child spends on screens, with 30% of parents saying they were ‘very concerned’.

Photo by P. Harris
This week, it was reported children as young as 12 are among the first patients to be treated on the NHS for gaming addiction. Fears have been raised around the craze for the online game Fortnite as 100 million players have now downloaded the game, with the Education Secretary admitting concerns over Fortnite addiction.

Alice Crosby, Project Manager at The Wild Watch, said: “In the summer holidays it can be a real juggle entertaining children for weeks on end, and we wanted to offer something that was free, educational but fun. Playing outdoors helps self-confidence, independence, creativity, well-being and a sense of adventure. It’s a natural antidote to screen time. Being engaged with nature and the outdoors from a young age can also help nurture a love for wildlife, and we need future generations to be our custodians to help protect and safeguard our declining species.”

Photo by P. Harris
The Bug and Beast Safaris are led by Forest School Leader, Liz Milner and ornithologist, Richard Baines. Workshops last two hours with events at Castiles Farm, Fewston Reservoir, Hackfall Wood, Pateley Bridge, and Gallows Hill Nature Reserve in Otley.

All are free with no need to book, but children need to be wearing suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.

For timings and locations of the Bug and Beast Safaris throughout August, visit: https://www.nidderdaleaonb.org.uk/wild-watch-events

The Wild Takes On The Virtual, 7th August 2018, 20:14 PM