Many states around the U.S. are working to get children into nature. Maryland’s Governor recently announced that state’s Children in Nature Action Plan for 2010. California passed a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, which includes 10 easy and fun things the state recommends children experience from age 4-14.
There’s more good news. In Colorado, Colorado Kids Outdoors Program legislation is making its way through the statehouse. The Kansas Coalition for Children in Nature was formed to work with state agencies to create opporturnities for children to experience nature. Connecticut’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection vowed to maintain a commitment to state parks and to the state’s existing No Child Left Inside” initiative.
Cities are passing legislation, too. Albuquerque, New Mexico, recently threw its unanimous support behind the Leave No Child Inside Coalition of New Mexico, which includes nearly 150 organizations and individuals who are trying to combat nature-deficit disorder. Chicago, Illinois, unveiled its own Outdoor Bill of Rights.
A new resource has been added to the mix which may make it even easier for state and local governments to pass initiatives to get children into nature. The National Wildlife Federation just released its State Policy Solutions Guide. The guide provides on-the-ground solutions that include state policy intitiatives, public health programs, schoolyard habitats, trail plans, and public greenspace protection, and could not have come at a better time. Childhood obesity is up. Children spend half the time outside that they did just 20 years ago. At the same time, a growing body of research points to the developmental, educational and health benefits of outdoor activity.