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Conflicting perceptions of the status of field biology and identification skills in UK education

Goulder, Raymond; Scott, Graham W.

Abstract

There is an enormous degree of engagement between people and the outdoors in the UK; 58% of the adult population of England, about 24 million people, make at least one visit a week to parks, urban green spaces, the countryside or other outdoor destinations. Having nearby green space is important to 52% of adults and 37% of them claim to watch wildlife while outdoors (Natural England 2015a). Children, usually encouraged by adults, also make many visits to the ‘natural’ environment; 70% of children in England, about 7 million, visit natural environments at least once a week (Natural England 2015b). There is, nevertheless, an ongoing thread of opinion and research that suggests that engagement with and knowledge and understanding of the natural environment and knowledge of plants and animals may be decreasing in affluent consumer societies. Thus, Pergams and Zaradic (2008) described a shift away from visits to the outdoors and nature-based recreation in the US and Japan. There is also evidence of widespread decrease in support for natural history in developed economies, despite its huge importance to society (Tewksbury et al. 2015).

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 2, 2016
Journal Journal of biological education
Print ISSN 0021-9266
Electronic ISSN 2157-6009
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 3
Pages 233-238
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.2016.1202489
Keywords Field biology; Identification skills; Education
Publisher URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00219266.2016.1202489
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