Number of birdwatchers in Australia

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Number of birdwatchers in Australia
From: Andrew Hobbs <>
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 17:18:27 +0900
Not sure about sport, but I think the last thing we should be blaming is our school curriculum. Come to think of it, I really doubt you should be blaming sport either, considering that a very large proportion of kids are overweight or obese, due to lack of exercise. In fact the school curriculum is also blamed for the latter so the curriculum gets squeezed yet again to accommodate 'sport', since we all know that all of societies ills and evils are a result of not including this or that in the curriculum. What about parental responsibility or even society's responsibility.

Personally I think the lack of interest by children and young adults in the natural world is a direct result of our society. Partly it is the environment. Most of us insist on living in suburbia in apartments, town houses or houses with such tiny gardens there is barely enough room to grow a palm tree let alone a decent eucalypt. The local parks are kept groomed and there just isn't anywhere left to give scope for building tree houses, (those sterile plastic imitations are useless), chopping down a few plants to see how they work, catching some insects to pin out, cutting up a frog or two to see what is inside, etc etc. Partly it is the parents, who themselves are not particularly interested in the real natural world (as distinct from having a picnic in the local park etc). The last thing most parents want is their kids doing any of the above because they could well get into trouble, they could get hurt and they and their clothes will almost inevitably get dirty.

Partly it is the government, local authority, local landholder who are all scared silly of allowing anything which might conceivably be dangerous, in case they get sued. (Which is why participation in sport is dropping precipitously).

Is there any wonder that kids retreat into the alluring virtual world of computer games; at least they are in control and can do whatever they please.

Now back to some birding.



Allan & Hazel Wright wrote:
The recent debate on the number of birdwatchers in Australia prompted me to consider the number of Australian born birdwatchers we actually have in this country. Nearly all of the "top" birders on Tony Palliser's Totals list have started birding in the UK before coming to Australia, many of the people involved at Club level are from the UK and many of the people I meet on outings are English.

Is this the result of Australian children being more involved with sporting activities during their school years or does it reflect a gaping hole in our school curriculum? How can we change the perception that birdwatching is for dorks, retirees, or just dorky retirees?

Hazel Wright
Canberra ACT


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