Legislators agree on kids’ rights to outdoors

Youth outdoors

By Kristina Ortez de Jones, Associate Organizing Representative

New Mexico took a major step forward in connecting children with outdoors when both chambers of the New Mexico Legislature passed the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.
The Leave No New Mexico Child Outside Coalition, made up of more than 50 organizations
across the state, and Wild Friends, a civic engagement organization for children
based out of the University of New Mexico, were actively involved in the Bill of Rights.
Written by children all over the state, the rights include:
• play outside and explore freely
• watch wildlife in the outdoors
• wade in a river, creek, lake or pond
• catch a fish and hunt for food
• camp out under the stars
• plant a seed and visit farms and ranches
• hike a trail
• explore public parks, open spaces, nature centers and wildlife sanctuaries
• actively care for land, water and wildlife
• dig in the dirt and learn about the world from the ground up
• use their imaginations to draw, dance, sing and play outdoors

Our legislative champions, Representative Mimi Steward (D-Albuquerque) and Senator
Cynthia Nava (D-Las Cruces), each introduced memorials that call on state agencies
and departments to provide outdoor experiences for New Mexico’s children. Both
memorials passed unanimously. A big thankyou to our champions and the countless
supporters who made phone calls, sent emails and showed up in person at committee hearings in support!
— Kristina Ortez de Jones is the Southwest
Representative of the Mission OutdoorsInitiative. More information about Mission
Outdoors can be found at www.sierraclub.org/missionoutdoor