The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is increasingly styling itself as a wildlife charity interested in more than just our feathered friends. Now it is asking are you connected with wildlife?
The RSPB has yesterday launched a major national study into the public's connection to the natural world – and is calling for the help of people across the Westcountry.
This landmark work is being carried out in partnership with experts from the University of Essex and aims to leave no stone unturned in the search for the nation's love for the natural world.
Tony Whitehead, speaking for the RSPB in the South West said; "Here in the Westcountry we are surrounded by some of the best wildlife and natural places anywhere in the UK. But do we actually make the most of them? How much time do we spend outdoors in the company of wild creatures? And how does this make us feel?"
The RSPB believes that understanding our connection with nature and our love of wildlife is a crucial part of facing up to the challenges of rebuilding the natural world.
"In 2010 we failed to meet our commitments to saving wildlife as set out in the historic agreement at Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. It was a collective failure and we've set ourselves the ambitious target of helping to ensure we don't fail again in 2020.
"We are concerned though that part of the problem may be peoples growing disconnection from nature and with it the lack of personal responsibility in choices that are made that effect the natural world. And we are particularly keen to see how close young people are to the natural world, the very people that will inherit these issues this over the next couple of decades.
"But this is all just a theory – what we need is actual evidence. We need to know where we are starting from to understand the scale of the task". The survey will look in depth at the attitudes of young people to the natural environment, but through a web based survey anyone in the West Country can take part and measure their own "connection to nature".
Mr Whitehead added; "Through a simple online survey, we'd like to hear from people across the region about how they feel about wildlife.
"Does being outdoors make you happy, does birdsong put a spring in your step, does nothing beat the sight of meadow full of flowers for banishing the blues? Are you connected to nature and how important is it?"