Half of youngsters aged nine to 11 are unable to identify a daddy-long-legs, oak tree, or bluebell, in a poll by BBC Wildlife Magazine.
Well, the obvious solution is to go play outside... or more flash cards and video games I guess.
The Phylomon Project, impressed with the many children who can identify and classify hundreds of Pokemon, aims to create a non-commercial-open-access-open-source "Pokemon card type resource," but with real creatures.
I remember being a kid, and any time any adult tried to make learning fun, it usually sucked. The better approach is to make fun educational. While playing Pokemon, for example, you do a little math, come up with a strategy, diversify your team, and test your Pokemon in a battle system that's a lot like cockfighting...
I'm not really sure they can sneak cockfighting into a conservationist's game. They can't deny that battling and leveling-up are huge aspects of the Pokemon franchise. A good story has to have some kind of adversity. A good game needs to have some kind of reward for your efforts.
In A Theory of Fun for Game Design, author Raph Koster says that "most gamers are so bottom-line that if an activity doesn't give a quantifiable reward, they'll consider it irrelevant."
Phylomon.org is setting their goal on trading cards, though, and not a video game. But without the battles, stories, and cute anime, isn't this just a box of flash cards? Nice try, but most kids won't fall for it.
Also, I must remember to pre-order that new Pokemon game... for my nephew, of course.