A RENFREWSHIRE shopping centre is become home to a group of Big bugs as part of a nationwide initiative to re-connect shoppers with nature. 

New research reveals being closer to the great outdoors makes you 67 per cent happier and bosses at Intu Braehead are embracing this by introducing the 12 giant British bugs to the centre. 

The initiative by intu is backed by naturalist Chris Packham and features indigenous bugs including the honeybee, ladybird, hornet, swallowtail butterfly and the nut weevil.

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It launches at intu Braehead today and will be on display until the end of the month, before going on tour across other intu shopping centres around the UK.

The campaign to reconnect kids and adults to nature comes as reports show children are now better at identifying Pokemon characters than British wildlife, despite a £10 million pledge from Government to encourage children to get closer to nature.

The research by intu found that almost four in five parents in want their children to be more connected to nature and 86 per cent think they spend too much time looking at screens, and almost a quarter children in Scotland have not set foot in a park or forest in the last 12 months.

One in five children living in Scotland were unable to correctly identify a bee while one in four children have not seen a caterpillar in over a year. One in ten kids did not know honey came from bees.

Scottish adults were also lacking in their bug knowledge, with over one in four unable to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp and a third unable to correctly identify a grasshopper.

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Chris Packham is backing the tour 

Over a third of adults living in Scotland say they see far fewer bugs in their gardens now than five years ago with nearly half saying they are worried about the decline in insects but didn’t know how to help.

David Lyon, Marketing Manager at intu Braehead, said: "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. Millions of people shop at intu centres every year so we hope to make a real impact in how our shoppers interact and reconnect with nature.

"At intu Braehead, shoppers will not only be able to come face-to-face with 12 Giant British bugs, but can also enjoy four weekends of free in centre activities for kids! From face painting to colouring in – there’s plenty to keep your kids buzzing with excitement."

Naturalist Chris Packham added: "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.

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"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." 

Big bugs on tour is on a nationwide tour of 13 intu shopping centres including intu Braehead and is also inspiring school classes around the country to help children learn more about bugs. For more information go to https://intu.co.uk/braehead/events/bugs