The decline in the number of hours Americans spend outdoors, exacerbated by urbanization, has affected people’s familiarity with local wildlife. This is concerning to conservationists, as people tend to care about and invest in what they know. Children represent the future supporters of conservation, such that their knowledge about and feelings toward wildlife have the potential to influence conservation for many years to come.
Despite different levels of urbanization, children had either an unfamiliarity with and/or low preference for local animals, suggesting that a disconnect between children and local biodiversity is already well-established, even in more rural areas where many wildlife species can be found.
Click here to learn more about the study that surveyed 2,759 4–8th grade children across 22 suburban, exurban, and rural schools in North Carolina to determine their attitudes toward local, domestic, and exotic animals.