HOW many parents have urged their children to put their tablet computers or mobiles to one side and go outside, enjoy nature and get some fresh air?

If so, then take heart from Northallerton’s own Zach Haynes, whose innovative use of technology involves embracing the natural world and digital world to great effect.

His online blog – – features observations of wildlife encountered during his time outdoors. It has proved phenomenally successful and has received well in excess of 100,000 views.

His posts range from taking delight in the smallest of insects to explaining the importance of living responsibly with the natural world.

The project began when he was ten and set himself the challenge of writing a daily blog post for a whole year on the nature around his home and on trips around the UK with his parents.

Armed with a camera, he photographed and researched what he saw and shared the delightful results with the rest of the world.

The posts can take an hour a day to put together and required some commitment.

But now – aged 12 – he has followers around the globe from Sweden to Japan.

He has also won a clutch of science awards, as well as recognition from BBC Springwatch Unsprung and BBC Wildlife magazine, who named him Young Blogger of the Year.

While the online world holds plenty of pitfalls and dangers for children, North Yorkshire’s digital Gerald Durrell demonstrates how they are also the ones most likely to find the greatest uses for it