Outdoor Policy Guide
Every youth deserves transformational experiences in the outdoors, whether in class, in a school garden, at a summer camp, or in countless other settings.
UPDATED DECEMBER 2021
There is much that leaders at the state and local level can do to open the door to meaningful connections between youth, their local community, and the outdoors, and to support opportunities for youth who may not otherwise have the chance. This Outdoor Policy Guide highlights state and local policies from around the United States that are intended to build opportunities for youth learning and recreation in and about the outdoors through a wide range of approaches. It is intended as a tool to inform and inspire as we seek to make change in our own state and in our own communities. Explore the guide, empower yourself as an advocate, and connect with NBEC to join your voice with other advocates working to empower Maine’s next generation of leaders with the outdoor experiences they deserve.
Explore the full list of policies below or filter by location, scale, policy type, or all of the above, and results will be displayed instantly. Explore detailed summaries of each policy by clicking 'Learn more.'
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Outdoor Learning in Schools
Early Childhood Education
Alaska's Office of Outdoor Equity
This bill urges the Governor of Alaska to establish an Office of Outdoor Equity and to allocate grant money to encourage greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors and workforce development.
Climate Change Learning Standards
In 2018, new state science standards were adopted by the Arizona state board of education after public feedback from educators, content experts, community members, and other stakeholders. These new standards include changes related to science content, learning standards, and connections between science and other subjects.
District Land for Outdoor Classroom
A school district in Vermont voted to approve spending for a 10-acre parcel of land to be used as an outdoor learning space for schools in the district.
Mandatory Climate Education
This bill would amend California’s adopted science curriculum to include “coursework including material on the causes and effects of climate change” from grades 1-12 starting no later than the 2021-22 school year.
Environmental Literacy Grant Program
Administered by the California Department of Education and funded with Environmental License Plate Funds, school districts, other local schools, state agencies other than the State Department of Education, and community organizations are eligible for grant funding to support programs with long-term educational benefits to California educators and students, with support going primarily to professional development for teachers.
Environmental Equity and Outdoor Access Act
This bill establishes California’s Environmental Equity and Outdoor Access Act, which reinforces the state’s commitment to ensuring that all Californians have access to the outdoors, and that they can benefit from the state’s cultural and natural resources.
Outdoor Equity Grants
This program was designed to support outdoor environmental education at state parks and other public land. Funding will be available to public organizations and will come from the state as well as private donors, with an estimated $10 million per year towards this program.
School Pavement to Parks Grant Program
This statewide grant program allows school districts that serve low-income communities to apply for funding to transform portions of their school grounds into green space.
Regional Environmental Education Community
Through the California Regional Environmental Education Community, this program offered a one-time allocation of $4M that has been used to promote state-level environmental education guidelines and to help teachers implement them, while additional funding is dedicated to grants for teachers and schools.
Grant Program Legislation
This grant program is a conduit for public or private gifts, grants, or donations to be dispersed to organizations and schools, with an emphasis on outdoor learning for urban and/or low-income youth was funded with $100,000 within its first year.
Great Outdoors Colorado Inspire Initiative
Great Outdoors Colorado created the Inspire Initiative to support the development of 15 coalitions of organizations joining together to address structural barriers to youth getting outside in their communities with emphasis on collaboration between organizations. Total program funding is $27.6 million towards these coalitions.
Colorado Outdoor Equity Fund
This equity fund was created to award organizations that will utilize funds to increase access to the outdoors for underserved youth and their families through education, conservation, or recreation.