Growing Up Wild: coming soon to a town near you

Monday 11th September 2017

Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s campaign to create and share memories of growing up wild outside will be on tour throughout the autumn.

Growing Up Wild has seen nearly 100 stories of exploring and playing in the Suffolk countryside from winters and summers gone-by.

Launched in May 2016, the National Lottery funded project, which is designed to capture the oral histories of outside play, also paints a picture of a landscape that the Trust is working hard to protect and restore.

Sara Holman, who with Tracey Housley, has been leading the project said it is hoped that the memory bank will inspire children, families and adults to explore, learn and play outside.

“We know that contact with nature is good for children; it makes them happier, healthier and more creative. However, there is a discrepancy between this awareness and what children are actually experiencing.”

The results of a 2015 YouGov poll, commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts, highlighted a gradual loss of contact with nature during childhood.

A total of 57% of parents thought their children spend less time outdoors than they did, while 37% of children had reportedly not played outside by themselves in the past six months.

One in three children were said to have never climbed a tree.

Sara added: “Growing Up Wild records and celebrates stories of childhoods spent in nature, providing an opportunity to increase the contact of a new generation of children with the natural world and put the wild back into childhood.”

Tracey Housley, said: “We hope the range of stories show-cased in the exhibition will help bridge the disconnect that has been seen from a national level.

We want children to explore the natural world where they live, to make nature part of their everyday lives and to develop a personal connection with nature from an early age; a connection that stays and grows with them as they move into adulthood.”

Growing Up Wild has been supported by a National Lottery grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “It’s great to see the Growing Up Wild project touring the region and continuing to inspire people across Suffolk.

"Thanks to National Lottery players, the project records people’s fond memories of playing in the countryside and helps to encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy the rich natural heritage on their doorstep, which we know is so beneficial for our health, wellbeing and happiness.”

The Growing Up Wild exhibition will at the following locations:

Tuesday 26 September – Sunday 1 October Museum of East Anglian Life

Tuesday 3 October – Sunday 8 October Carlton Marshes

Tuesday 10 October – Sunday 15 October Lowestoft Library

Tuesday 17 October – Sunday 22 October Ipswich Library

Tuesday 7 November – Sunday 12 November Lackford Lakes