|The bill includes a list of outdoor experiences and activities each Houston child has the right to:
1. Safe and accessible routes to outdoor spaces in their communities.
2. Adequate shade outdoors.
3. Connect with nature on their school grounds.
4. Equitably funded public parks regardless of zip code.
5. Discover leadership opportunities to be stewards of nature.
6. Be included and accommodated with accessible outdoor environments.
7. Green spaces that mitigate the impact of climate change.
8. Experience the mental health and holistic wellness benefits of engaging with nature.
9. See and experience native wildlife and plants in their local park and green spaces.
10. Free or low-cost outdoor programming.
11. Breathe fresh and clean air.
12. Learn how to be safe in the outdoors.
An intergenerational committee of local youth and community leaders convened to discuss the priority issue areas impacting nature accessibility in the Greater Houston area and determined the rights that would be included in the bill. The inclusion of youth in the committee aligns with the COBOR’s fifth right. “I hope the Houston COBOR can lead to more youth engagement and prompt youth to get more active in our society,” said Samiaht Busari, youth committee member. “When youth see changes happening, they are more likely to get involved themselves.”
“Equitable access to nature, and its many benefits, is critical to the mental, physical, civic, and cultural wellbeing of children,” said Jaime Gonzalez, the Healthy Communities Director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas and committee member. “The Houston Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights will help ignite conversations and actions to help us co-create a city where nature and children flourish together.”
For additional information on this initiative, please contact Fernanda Marrero Hi, Youth Engagement Manager at the Mayor’s Office of Education and Youth Engagement: Fernanda.Marrero@houstontx.gov.