A third of Irish children have never climbed a tree, according to parents, and almost one in 10 have never visited a forest or wooded area.
Figures compiled by the ESB as part of a survey of parents ahead of ESB Tree Week show that 31 per cent of children have never climbed a tree, while almost half (48 per cent) spend more time in front of screens than outdoors.
While the methodology does not appear to make allowances for things children do that they do not necessarily tell their parents about, the survey results demonstrate that 74 per cent of more than 1,000 adults interviewed “used to climb trees all the time” but “the proliferation of digital devices in the lives of Irish children is keeping them from enjoying the beneficial effects of trees”.
“ESB Tree Week provides an opportunity to remind people why trees matter,” said ESB spokesman Pat O’Doherty.
“Together with the Tree Council of Ireland, we are encouraging people to take the time to appreciate them, either by learning about them, planting them or just simply getting out into the fresh air to enjoy them.”
Tree Week runs from March 6th to 13th with a series of local events organised which aim to help members of the public to learn about, “grow and enjoy trees”.
Details of the events will be posted on the website welovetrees.ie, and artisan coffee shops and selected Spar outlets nationwide will be distributing free packets of seeds over the course of the week which can be planted in empty coffee cups before being transferred to a garden.
The nationwide survey found that walking through a forest has a calming effect on four out of five respondents, and it is said that “trees are proving to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing”.
Coillte will also be providing 15,000 native Irish trees for next week's events.