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Groups seek N.C. Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

A coalition of groups is hoping to persuade lawmakers to pass the N.C. Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
A coalition of groups is hoping state lawmakers will follow the lead of a few other states around the country and pass a N.C. Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights.

"Our goal is to get the state leadership to show their commitment to make sure our children have a safe place to play outside and are encouraged to do so," says Shelby Laird, president of Environmental Educators of North Carolina.

The North Carolina Children and Nature Coalition is a project of the N.C. Zoological Society. The Environmental Educators of N.C. is part of the leadership team. It is inspired by Richard Louv's popular 2005 book "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," which details the importance of getting kids outside and why so many don't do it.

The campaign was launched late last month and already has dozens of supporters, including the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, which holds the nationwide Take A Child Outside Week in September; the N.C. Aquarium; and the Eno River Association.
The proposed bill of rights says that every child in the state should have the opportunity to visit a farm, explore a stream, hike a natural area and camp under the stars, among other activities. Click here for the full bill of rights.

The group has launched a poster contest for kids and adults. The posters will be used in marketing materials for the campaign. The contest gives kids a voice in illustrating what they think is important about going outside, said Laird, the mom of a 16-month-old daughter.

Entries must be received on or before June 21. Winners will be posted by August 1, 2010. Click here for all the details on how to enter.

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