Wild Spring Festival addresses findings which show on average families get less than 36 minutes of quality time together per day.

springA Scottish wildlife festival is hoping to save family time from extinction and encourage future generations to protect the natural environment. With over 100 family-friendly wildlife events – many free and most hosted by local wildlife guides and experts – the Dumfries & Galloway Wild Spring Festival (5 April to 5 May) is addressing recent findings published by news agency 72 Point which show that the average family in the UK manages just 36 minutes of quality time together a day.

Researchers also found that a typical family will find time for just 15 days out together every year, and nearly a third admitted they had missed key moments in their child’s development because of their hectic routine keeping them away. In an earlier survey by the same agency, over half of people admitted the only real family time they get to spend together is when they go on holiday away from the distractions at home.

Wilma Finlay, Chair of Destination Dumfries & Galloway said: “We know that quality family time is key to encouraging future generations to protect and celebrate the natural world.

“Weekends and Easter holidays provide the perfect time for families to get together. And discovering wildlife on your own doorstep is something that can create and stir magical memories for every family member. We would like to encourage more families to take part in one of the Wild Spring Festival’s many fun and unique festival events that will get them up close to the wide array of animals, mammals, birds, fish and fauna.

“From sharks, frogs and fishtails to badgers, red kites, barnacle geese and buzzards and from red deer, reptiles and red squirrels to bats, moths and bugs – there is a wide array of wildlife for families to discover together throughout Dumfries & Galloway.”

Jill Cook, manager of the national family helpline ParentLine Scotland run by CHILDREN 1ST, added: “We receive many calls from parents and carers who find it difficult communicating with their children. Spending time together as a family away from the distractions of every day life is vital in building good family relationships and making it easier for children and young people to talk to you about things that are worrying them. Finding a common interest, such as discovering wildlife, is a fantastic way of doing this and forming special memories for all the family. We are delighted to hear that the Dumfries & Galloway Wild Spring Festival is encouraging families to do this.”

Festival events take place across Dumfries & Galloway and the recently designated Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, which recognizes the outstanding natural environment and the way in which the local community works to conserve it. In 2014, the festival will also celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2014 with a series of events focused on the many species coming home to the region this Spring.

It is hoped that, by encouraging more families, the festival will continue to address concerns by many wildlife experts to ensure there are naturalists for many years to come. Speaking in an interview in the Radio Times last year, BBC SpringWatch presenter Chris Packham said: “Young people in particular are so disconnected from the natural world. It’s a shame to think that there aren’t kids out there… I’m out there all the time and I just don’t see the boy that I was and you were. That’s a disaster in waiting.”

For further information about the festival visit www.wildspringfestival.com

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