Article from Cumbria Crack – 2015/04/24
A Lake District caravan park is claiming success in its bid to stop children peering constantly down at their smartphones while on holiday.
Instead, they are being persuaded to aim their screens upwards to where the real-life tweets come from – and to take pictures which win them a reward.
Skelwith Fold Caravan Park in Ambleside says it has given away over 400 prizes since introducing its “secret squirrels” competitions last year.
Children are challenged to find six toy squirrels hidden around the park – and photographic evidence on their smart-phones earns them their own fluffy friend to take home.
With 130 acres to go at, it means the youngsters enjoy plenty of exercise outdoors, and spend their time looking up and around, rather than down.
Park director Henry Wild said it’s amazing just how keen children are to swap social media such as Twitter and Facebook for the wider world, given the chance.
Encouraging holidaymakers to get involved with nature helped Skelwith Fold gain the David Bellamy Conservation Award once again this year at its top gold level.
The park has also been praised by Prince Charles for its successful re-introduction of red squirrels.
Skelwith Fold, says Henry, abounds with wildlife which is easily missed if much of a youngster’s time outdoors is spent scanning their devices for messages.
But the park’s squirrel-hunting challenges are now changing all that:
“We find that mums and dads also often tag along, and point out some of the many bird species we have at Skelwith with the help of an identification chart we supply,” said Henry.
“With just a little egging-on, youngsters can quickly develop a deep fascination for wildlife, and the Lake District is one of the best places in Britain to start.
“Social media is a great thing, and we use it a lot ourselves. But sometimes the small screen is no substitute for the bigger picture all around you!” added Henry.