Children should be encouraged to explore the natural world in the interests of wildlife conservation

I agree with two children's authors, Sir Michael Morpurgo and Julia Donaldson, when they say that children should be encouraged to explore the natural world on their own and take risks. They should not be crowded out by regulations but exposed to the countryside.

"People tell them to love the planet, but if you don't actually know what the planet is, and love things about it, why would you? You need to get dirty." - Julia Donaldson.



They should get dirty. They should scratch their knees and talk to trees. They need to smell the earth and cut grass. They need to feel the wind in their face. Silently falling rain should please them.

They should listen to the landscape, look up at the sky and admire the clouds. See them scuffling against a blue-grey backdrop and learn how to read the weather.

They should love to watch squirrels and birds feeding. The sound of the fox at night should not disturb them but make them smile. All these things will give them an understanding of nature. Through that understanding they will be more sensitive to the needs of wildlife.

And through their sensitive they will wish to protect wildlife rather than abuse it, use it and trash it as it is so commonplace nowadays.

And when they understand wild species better they will also understand and respect their domestic cat companions. In the domestic cat they have a miniature wild animal in their home. The traits of a wild cat are in the domestic version.

It is a great pleasure to have such a special relationship with our domestic cats. Two completely different species getting on beautifully. One is almost wild and the other is us, full of baggage and contradictions. They are innocently pure. Such a joy to experience it.

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