Still, only 17% felt "very confident" in their ability to start a fire

By People Staff
May 26, 2021 01:45 PM
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father and son hiking in a forest
Credit: Cavan Images/Getty

Bear Grylls has had an impact!

The average American thinks they can survive for 16 days alone in the wilderness, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 Americans asked respondents how long they believed they could last in the great outdoors — but a little over two weeks may be pushing it for some.

Only 17% felt "very confident" in their ability to start a fire with flint, and about 14% felt the same about their ability to identify edible plants or berries in nature.

And while 52% were confident in their ability to identify different types of plants and trees, the survey put that to the test and found many weren't quite as knowledgeable as they thought. Only a quarter of respondents (26%) were able to identify a black oak leaf, while just 35% correctly identified poison ivy after being shown a photo.

Respondents should be careful in nature — while the majority misidentified poison ivy, they weren't much better with stinging nettles (42% answered correctly). Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Avocado Green Mattress, the survey tested respondents on their "nature knowledge" by showing photos of common trees and plants.

The survey found respondents were most likely to be correct in their identification of maple leaves (64%) and ferns (55%). And a third (34%) knew the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees — deciduous trees have leaves that fall off yearly and coniferous trees have needles/scales that don't fall off.

But regardless of their ability to identify nature — or survive in it, two-thirds of respondents (63%) said the past year gave them a "newfound appreciation" for the great outdoors.

Sixty-six percent said outdoor activities seemed like the safest way to get out of their house this past year, which has led to an increase in time outside. Respondents said they're soaking up the sunshine by walking (54%), running (37%) and gardening (33%) more than they would have in a typical year.

Seventy-eight percent even said their newfound appreciation for nature has caused them to think more critically about their eco-friendly actions. It's also encouraged them to become more eco-friendly: 77% said their growing appreciation for the outdoors has made them more willing to take sustainable actions.

Results also revealed that 67% want to protect nature—because they love the great outdoors