Moving Outdoors in Nature Act Will Support Strategies to Connect Kids with Nature (Nov 18, 2010)
WASHINGTON — Congressman Ron Kind (D–WI) introduced the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act (MONA) (HR 6426) in the U.S. House of Representatives this morning. The bill supports federal, state, and local strategies that connect children with the natural world.
Thanks to the leadership of Congressman Kind, Moving Outdoors in Nature Act will help get America’s kids healthy and active by connecting children, youth, and families with nature through natural play areas, outdoor recreation programs, public health initiatives, outdoor learning environments, service learning, and other initiatives.
The legislation will achieve these goals by:
- Directing the president to develop a federal strategy to connect children, youth, and families with the outdoors
- Encouraging states to develop similar state-based strategies that incorporate public health, parks and recreation, transportation, and other initiatives at the local level
- Supporting research documenting the health, conservation, and other benefits of active time spent outdoors in the natural world
The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) supports passage of the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act, a bill that will help to address the childhood obesity epidemic and shape a new conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st century.
Comprehensive policy solutions like the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act are critical. Today’s children are spending less time outdoors in nature than any generation in history. At the same time, one in three American kids is overweight or obese; more than half of all children in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D; instances of attention deficit disorders are on the rise; and stress, anxiety, and depression rates among youth are increasing.
The conditions are right for making lasting changes in the ways children, youth, and families relate to nature. In June 2010, first lady Michelle Obama unveiled Let’s Move Outside!, which expands the first lady’s initiative to solve childhood obesity within a generation by providing resources for families to get active in nature.
In addition, the Obama administration recently completed more than two dozen listening sessions nationwide as part of the president’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative. The importance of reconnecting children and families to recreation, conservation, and the outdoors was a consistent theme in many sessions.
As part of the America's Great Outdoors initiative, federal public lands, health, environmental, and other agencies will submit a report to President Obama by the end of the year that makes recommendations for a 21st century conservation strategy. Today’s introduction of the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act will complement the administration’s initiative and could provide the framework for developing a broad-based strategy to reconnect children and their families with the outdoors.
The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with the common interest in expanding the number and quality of opportunities for children, youth, and families to connect with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the well-being of current and future generations, the health of our planet, communities, and the economy depend on humans having a personal, direct, and lifelong relationship with nature and the outdoors.
OAK’s steering committee brings together the Izaak Walton League of America, YMCA of the USA, REI, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, The Outdoor Foundation, National Recreation and Park Association, and the Children & Nature Network, collectively representing more than 30 million members and supporters, to address the growing divide between children and families and the natural world.
Learn more at http://www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org/.