The RSPB says children will lose out after a nature project is scrapped due to lack of funding.
The organisation’s “Giving Nature a Home” project has been funded for the past three years through the 5p bag charge at Tesco supermarkets.
The funding arrangement ends at the start of April.
Since it began in 2014, the project has helped more than 20,000 Cardiff children spend time exploring wildlife in their school grounds and has run numerous free community events for families, in the city’s parks.
It was designed after an RSPB survey found only one in eight Welsh children felt connected to their natural environment. Wales came out bottom of the list for the UK.
Carolyn Robertson, Project Manager, RSPB Cymru (pictured below) said, “If children don’t connect with nature, they won’t want to look after it in the future. Further funding is critical if we want to improve on this shocking statistic.”
RSPB have run activities in 60% of the 114 primary schools in Cardiff. The organisation says it wants to encourage children to enjoy wildlife on their doorstep, but are finding many children do not want to get their hands dirty.
Over the winter, staff have taken wheelbarrows full of earth and insects into St David’s shopping centre in Cardiff.
At one event funded through the project, 74,000 people crawled around inside a giant spider’s web in the trees of Bute Park, giving them a different perspective on the natural world around them.
Councillor Bob Derbyshire, Cabinet Member for Environment said, “We have some fantastic parks and green spaces in Cardiff but it can be all too easy to live in a city without giving any real thought to the natural world around us.”
Carolyn Robertson said, “We know from the State of Nature in Wales report last year that 1 in 14 species face extinction in Wales and if you combine that with children’s disconnection with nature around them, the future looks very bleak for the environment.”
— Pommy Harmar (@Pom_pom10) January 20, 2017
RSPB Cymru are looking for further funds to carry on running the project after April.