Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visits her 'Back to Nature Garden' at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. Picture: Reuters

London - The Duchess of Cambridge has backed a new campaign to encourage children to engage with nature, saying it is "pivotal" for their development.

Mother-of-three Kate, 37, has made early years development one of the cornerstones of her public work, raising awareness of issues such as childhood trauma and its link to addiction.

Now she is throwing her weight behind the Backyard Nature initiative – set up by a group of inner city schoolchildren to persuade other youngsters to become "environmental guardians".

Announcing her support, she said: "Spending time in nature can play a pivotal role in helping children grow up to become happy, healthy adults. The great outdoors provides an open playground for children to have fun and learn life-long skills, from balance and coordination to empathy and creativity, with their friends, their parents, their carers or their family members.

"I hope the Backyard Nature campaign inspires children, families and communities to get outside and engage with nature, wherever they live."

Sources told the Daily Mail that the duchess was particularly impressed by the story of the Eco Emeralds, a group of environmentalists aged seven to 11 from All Saints Catholic Primary School in Anfield, Liverpool. 

The pupils took matters into their own hands nine months ago after being inspired by climate change documentaries such as Our Planet.

Using their own initiative, they contacted Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker via Twitter. They were invited to the supermarket’s head office in Deeside, Flintshire, to present their ideas – and were delighted when the company decided to back them.

It is the first time Kate, whose gardens at the Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows were designed to encourage children to explore the great outdoors, has backed a campaign of this scale.

A source said: "When she heard about the initiative, the duchess was very impressed. Particularly as it came from the children themselves.

"It is exactly the kind of thing she has been working to encourage."

Daily Mail