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Last Updated: Friday, 29 April 2005, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Children 'fail to name UK trees'
Oak tree
An oak tree... isn't it?
British children are spending so much time in urban areas that fewer than one in 10 can identify the leaves of native trees, according to a report.

Birch and hazel were least recognised - by just 4% - while holly was the most identified leaf - by 54% - in the survey of seven to 14-year-olds.

Just 14% said they spent free time with friends in woods or the countryside.

Some 76% were more likely to be outside shops or on waste ground, the Woodland Trust survey of 647 children found.

More than 40% of seven to 10-year-olds had never visited a wood, the poll found.

But given the choice, 57% of children surveyed said they would want to play in a park, 19% favoured a wood, 15% countryside, and just 11% waste land and open ground.

Take our picture quiz to see how well you know the UK's trees?(Images courtesy of naturedetectives.org.uk)

The Trust's Andy Beer said: "When you look at how many children spend their social time it's not surprising they are more familiar with high street shops rather than native trees.

"But what's really encouraging is that there's a clear desire to spend more time in the great outdoors."

One fifth of children successfully identified the oak leaf, 17% the horse chestnut, 9% field maple, 6% ash and 5% beech.

Welsh children fared best, with 32% recognising horse chestnut and 22% identifying ash, while Scottish children were worst - 8% named horse chestnut, 7% oak.

The survey also found that just 36% of children had learned about destruction of the UK's natural habitat during school teaching on the environment.

Recycling was the most familiar topic, having featured in classes for 72% of children, while global warming (49%), endangered species (48%) and destruction of the rain forest (46%) were also taught widely.



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