Children’s Outside Bill of Rights

Our Future

Do you remember running along the acequia when you were a kid, or playing in the park in the summers until the streetlights came on?

These activities, which many of us took for granted as children, are not modern-day realities for most of New Mexico’s young people. With the rise of technology and more “seat time” in schools, fewer and fewer children are getting outside and connecting with nature.

The Getting Kids Outside forum, held last August in Albuquerque, brought experts from all over the state to discuss ways in which the state, teachers, public-health practitioners and parents could do a better job getting children active and moving. A key policy outcome from that conference was the concept of a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.

For the last few months, members of the Leave No New Mexico Child Inside Coalition have met regularly to draft a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights – New Mexico’s first. Only a handful of states have a Bill of Rights devoted to connecting children with the outdoors (these include California, Colorado, North Carolina, Maryland and a few others). We hope our legislative allies will introduce the Bill of Rights as a Memorial in the 2011 Legislative Session.

While it doesn’t have appropriations funding attached to it, the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights will help us set the stage for more programs within the Department of Education, Natural Resources and other agencies at the state level. This will also help us draw necessary attention to the campaign to connect children with nature, and find novel ways to get our kids outside and moving.

What makes the New Mexico Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights different

Children’s Bill of Rights
1. Play outside and freely explore
2. Watch wildlife in the quiet outdoors
3. Wade in a clean river, creek, lake or pond
4. Catch a fish and hunt for food
5. Camp out under the stars
6. Plant a seed and visit farms and ranches
7. Travel a trail
8. Explore New Mexico parks, nature centers and wildlife sanctuaries
9. Actively care for land, water and wildlife
10. Dig in the dirt and learn about the world from the ground