Shopping centre owner intu has launched Big Bugs On Tour, a national experiential roadshow that brings adults and children face-to-face with 12 giant British bugs at 13 intu shopping centres nationwide.
The initiative is being backed by naturalist Chris Packham and features 12 supersized, indigenous bugs including the honeybee, ladybird, hornet, swallowtail butterfly and the nut weevil. It launched at intu Lakeside last week where it will be on display until the end of July before moving around the UK over the next 15 months, visiting 12 other intu centres around the country including intu Trafford Centre, intu Metrocentre and intu Braehead, between now and September 2019.
Roger Binks, Customer Experience Director for intu, says: “Over 35 million people shop at intu centres every year so we hope bringing them face-to-face with these giant British bugs can make a real impact in how they interact and reconnect with nature, and ensure they are happier than when they arrived.”
The campaign, which into says aims to reconnect kids and adults to nature, comes as research shows children are now better at identifying Pokemon characters than there are at recognising British wildlife, despite a £10m pledge from Government to encourage children to get closer to nature.
Research by intu found that almost four in five parents (78%) want their children to be more connected to nature and 86% think they spend too much time looking at screens. However, one in six children in the UK (17%) have not set foot in a park or forest in the last 12 months.
One in five children (21%) were unable to correctly identify a bee while one in four children (25%) have not seen a caterpillar in over a year. One in ten kids (10%) did not know honey came from bees.
Adults were also lacking in their bug knowledge, with one in four (25%) unable to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp and a quarter (25%) unable to correctly identify a grasshopper.
Over a third of adults (35 per cent) of adults say they see far fewer bugs in their gardens now than five years ago with nearly half (49 per cent) saying they are worried about the decline in insects but didn’t know how to help.
Intu’s Roger Binks adds: “We know that a closer connection to nature makes people happier and Big Bugs on Tour is an opportunity to help educate adults and children on the importance of the bugs in their gardens and put a smile on their faces.”
Naturalist Chris Packham observes: “We are facing a crisis in our countryside. I haven’t seen a single butterfly in my garden this year and more needs to be done to reconnect people with nature and start caring for and realising the importance of the bugs in your backyard. intu’s Big Bugs on Tour is shining a big magnifying glass on this and also putting bugs into school classrooms, and is a fantastic initiative to alert to the importance of nature in our lives.”
In addition to visiting into shopping centres, Big Bugs on Tour will also be inspiring school classes around the country to help children learn more about bugs.