Time outdoors makes kids happier, healthier and smarter.
Our policy framework is informed by key principles that guide our approach to state policy that increases equitable access to the benefits that accrue to young people from meaningful experiences outdoors. High-quality state policy should be:
- Child-centered, age-appropriate, and focused on the whole child
- Family-focused and multigenerational
- Inclusive, anti-biased, and anti-oppressive
- Leveraging multiple approaches
- Locally supported
- Community-led and culturally sensitive
- Respectful of indigenous rights and ancestral practices
- Reflective of best practices
Community Benefits of Youth Outdoor Policies
When kids spend more time outside, everyone benefits. Some of the outcomes associated with youth engaging in regular outdoor activities outdoors include:
Public Health and Wellness
When kids and their families spend more time outdoors, communities see meaningful, documented improvements to public health and wellbeing. When we make the benefits of outdoor experiences accessible to everyone, everywhere, we build stronger connections and communities.
Education and Workforce Development
Integrating outdoor education and environmental literacy into education and workforce development training creates new job opportunities and improves education and learning outcomes.
High quality nature-based programs support positive youth development and social emotional outcomes.
Economic Development and Conservation
Outdoor recreation and conservation provide direct economic benefits to local communities.
Policy Strategies for Advancing Youth Outdoor Engagement
State legislatures and other policy makers are passing laws and creating policies to enable, advance, establish, and fund youth outdoor engagement so more children have the opportunity to have positive experiences outdoors, regardless of where they live or their social or economic status.
Sometimes, all kids need to get outside more often is access to safe green spaces and outdoor learning opportunities in schools.
Outdoor Equity and Justice
Kids can’t play and learn outside if they can’t get outside, but one in three children today does not have a safe park or green space within a ten-minute walk of their home.
Environmental Literacy and Education
Ensuring environmental literacy and education is integrated in all forms of education ensures students will have opportunities to learn about and care for the outdoors.