An open question from Pippa Cragg

A few days passed I received an email from a blog reader – Pippa Cragg – asking whether I could point her in the direction of opportunities sure to further her 9-year-old son’s passion for nature. Particularly relevant to the Hastings, East Sussex area; Pippa commented on the patronising nature of many opportunities – organised by people who wrongly assume that most children are incapable, or know very little about wildlife. Something that I’m sure most of us know to be entirely false, yet a common stereotype all the same.

Anyways, I have posted Pippa’s message below for your consideration and, in an effort to help her track down opportunities that will hopefully benefit her son, I would be grateful if you would consider sharing your ideas in the form of comments. I will pass them along to Pippa for consideration.

Again, opportunities in the particular corner of include referenced in the initial email would be great; though I’m sure national schemes would be of equal interest…

Pippa writes “I have a nine-year-old son who is incredibly passionate about wildlife. He would love opportunities to work with animals and further his passion but we are having a bit of a tough time finding ways to do this. Any opportunities we do come across seem rather patronising and frustrating for him as they seem to presume that as a child he doesn’t know very much nor is he capable. I thought I would get in touch with you to see if you had any ideas. I’d be very grateful for any input you may have. We live in Hastings, East Sussex. Many thanks.”

  1. I think you could write a whole series of blogs around the topic of patronisation in nature conservation circles. One should never express an opinion on a subject as in-depth as conservation, without having conversations with its many scientists, fellow conservationists and other subject matter experts. Do I sound patronising in my response in here? Well, Social Media lends itself to escalating that viewpoint oh so readily. Believe me; I’ve lived and learned to keep my views to myself these days and to listen a darn lot more to other expert’s conversations. Patronising seems rife in most areas of life but increasingly so in nature conservation topics. Our unwillingness to listen to each person’s thoughts, the very young and old, rich and poor, rural and townsfolk will lead us to a very dark place.

    Pippa’s son, to my mind, needs to join a select few conservation bodies, increasingly have conservations with their representatives, share his views but also to learn to listen to opposing views as well. *This latter aspect can be a most challenging task in itself and is one I’m still conquering. I’ll shut up now, as this comment could soon sound like a rant as well.

    Best Wishes

    Tony Powell and naturestimeline

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