kids-snow-sm.jpg
News

No Child Left Inside—Getting MN Kids Outside

by Nels Paulsen,
Policy Director
 

Recently, Conservation Minnesota testified in support of HF 133 "No Child Left Inside," legislation to promote and fund outdoor recreation opportunities for Minnesota kids. At Conservation Minnesota, our mission is to protect the Minnesota you love, and we believe that children who play in nature will grow up to love and protect it. We support HF 133.

        

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

RE:   To the members of the Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee

 In support of HF 133 (Becker-Finn) – “No Child Left Inside”

Dear Representatives,

Conservation Minnesota is a statewide nonprofit with members in all 87 counties.  The mission of Conservation Minnesota is to “protect the Minnesota you love.”  We regularly ask our members which conservation issues are important to them, and we use their responses to help shape good conservation policy at the state capitol.

Although our members have a vast array of conservation priorities, one issue we regularly hear about is a concern that the next generation will not have access to or appreciate Minnesota’s great outdoors in the same way that generations before us have experienced.  Many Conservation Minnesota members express concern that today’s youth spend less time outside and are less likely to be exposed to outdoor opportunities such as hiking, paddling, fishing, hunting, and birdwatching.  More people utilize and support Minnesota’s outdoor opportunities when they have some basic outdoor skills.  We prefer that those basic outdoor skills be taught at a young age, because this can evolve into an appreciation for and comfort in the woods, on the water, or just simply outside.

I think many of us are familiar with books like Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, where the idea of nature-deficit disorder is described not as a medical diagnosis but as the negative psychological impacts on kids when they do not get outdoors.  The No Child Left Inside bill recognizes not only the skills and knowledge that can be gained by learning about the outdoors, but also the mental and physical health benefits that outdoor recreation can bring.

Minnesota is lucky to have a robust conservation community that supports a myriad of outdoor activities.  Many Conservation Minnesota partners have great youth programs that help kids all across the state learn about and feel comfortable doing things outside.  And it is the view of Conservation Minnesota that if some of this programming is good, more of this programming is better.  There are always more kids who can benefit from learning about our natural worlds and becoming comfortable immersing themselves in Minnesota’s great outdoors.

Thank you and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Nels Paulsen

Policy Director