Why teenagers need to get more connected to nature
By University of Essex
Mid-teenagers feel less connected to nature than any other age group, according to new research from the RSPB and the University of Essex.
At a time when there are growing concerns over the mental health of today’s youngsters it is important to highlight the positive wellbeing benefits of enjoying the natural environment and the worrying low level of teenagers feeling connected to nature.
The study, published in The Ecological Society of America’s prestigious Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment journal, is the first of its kind to offer a comprehensive snapshot of how connected to nature people aged 5-75 in the UK feel.
Data, collected from nearly 2,500 people via face-to-face surveys and online questionnaires, showed a clear decline from childhood to a “teenage trough” with 15-16-year-olds feeling the least connected to nature. This was then followed by a rise to the early 20s where it reached a plateau into retirement. With the exceptions of people in their late 20s, men also showed a lower connection with nature than women.