Young tourist couple travellers with backpacks hiking in nature.

(© Halfpoint -

NEW YORK — Are you ready for life as a “Mountain Man” (or woman)? Apparently, the average American thinks they are, even if most can’t even start a fire! A new study finds the average American thinks they can survive for 16 days alone in the wilderness.

The survey of 2,000 people reveals Americans feel quite at ease with the idea of surviving in the wild. However, only 17 percent feel “very confident” in their ability to start a fire with flint. Moreover, just 14 percent feel the same about their ability to identify edible plants or berries in nature.


Do restaurants deliver to a forest?

While over half the poll (52%) are confident in their ability to identify different types of plants and trees, researchers put that to the test and discovered many weren’t quite as knowledgeable as they claimed. Only a quarter of respondents could identify a black oak leaf, while just 35 percent correctly spotted poison ivy when seeing it in a photo.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Avocado Green Mattress, the survey tested respondents on their “nature knowledge” by showing them photos of common trees and plants. Respondents were most likely to be correct in their identification of maple leaves (64%) and ferns (55%). A third (34%) could also tell the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees; which is that deciduous trees have leaves that fall off yearly and coniferous trees have needles or scales that don’t fall off.

Regardless of their ability to identify nature — or survive in it — nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) said the past year gave them a “newfound appreciation” for the great outdoors.

“The pandemic has reminded so many of us just how essential nature is to our mental and physical well-being and how dependent we all are on a healthy, thriving natural environment,” says Avocado Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Mark Abrials in a statement.


Getting back in touch with nature

Sixty-six percent of respondents add outdoor activities seemed like the safest way to get out of their house during the pandemic. Respondents also said they’re soaking up the sunshine by walking (54%), running (37%), and gardening (33%) more than they would have in a typical year.

Over three in four people (78%) even said their newfound appreciation for nature is causing them to think more critically about their eco-friendly actions. It’s also encouraged them to become more eco-friendly overall. In fact, 77 percent said their growing appreciation for the outdoors has made them more willing to take sustainable actions.

“Nature needs our help — and we all have to do our part to help protect it,” Abrials says. “We can each do that every day by minimizing our footprint and supporting companies, legislators and policies that advocate for environmental protections and a healthier, safer planet for all.”

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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