Joint Resolution Supporting All Maine Youth Outdoors
Outdoor learning and recreation made an enormous difference in 2020.
We're building on that momentum, and you can be a part of this transformative movement no matter who you are!
Primary Sponsor: Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau
Co-Sponsors: Sen. Mattie Daughtry, Rep. Michelle Dunphy, Rep. Maggie O'Neal, Sen. Chloe Maxmin, Sen. Craig Hickman, Rep. Michael Brennan, Rep. Patrick Corey
HP 1087, Joint Resolution Supporting All Maine Youth Outdoors recognizes the value of outdoor learning and recreation to increase student well-being, performance, and connection to natural resources in their community.
UPDATE: The Maine Legislature passed this Resolution on 4/28/21!
Maine students explore Cow Island through a school partnership with outdoor adventure nonprofit Rippleffect.
Amazing benefits of the outdoors for youth:
Enhanced critical thinking abilities
Strengthened social skills
Connections between classroom content & ‘the real world’
Students empowered to be engaged citizens & community members
Improved student understanding of relationship with natural world
Improved standardized test scores
New confidence & leadership skills
What does the Resolution say?
Time spent outdoors exploring and learning is proven to improve academic performance, increase student motivation, and enhance student connection to natural resources and their community.
For years, Maine youth have been spending less and less time outdoors.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed immense strain on Maine youth and our education system, and teachers have creatively overcome many of these challenges by using the Maine outdoors.
Maine’s environment and natural resource economy will depend on today’s youth, who must understand relationships between natural and human-built systems in order to make informed decisions.
When all youth can experience the outdoors, our communities are much stronger.
This resolution commends Maine teachers, administrators, and school districts for their innovation in using outdoor learning to increase community safety while meeting youth physical and mental health needs. It also affirms that all Maine youth benefit from the opportunity to enjoy time outdoors to explore, learn, and build connections to Maine’s natural resources. This creates stronger and healthier communities and upholds Maine’s deep history of connection to the outdoors.
Tools for Taking Action:
Outdoor learning made a difference in 2020 in Maine:
Schools built gear-share libraries to create equitable access to winter items
Administration supported teacher professional development to learn outdoor learning best practices
Families, teachers, & community members built outdoor classrooms together
Schools partnered with local groups and nonprofits to learn from experts in nature-based education
School leadership allocated CARES Act funds and apply for grants to support outdoor learning
Schools innovated with creative use of schoolyard outdoor spaces nearby public and private lands
We see state-level decision-making as one opportunity to make outdoor learning accessible. Many school decisions are made locally in Maine, and we are working toward systems change at a local level. Learn more about our Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy working group.
All youth have the right to meaningful outdoor experience, but not all youth in Maine have the opportunity to learn and explore outdoors. Click here to learn about Stories of Change, an NBEC working group focused on an initiative to elevate the stories of BIPOC and other marginalized people outdoors.