Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore believes that every child should have the opportunity to go camping, take a hike and explore nature. And with the stroke of a pen, he signed on Sept. 27 a proclamation endorsing the California Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights as a group of children gathered to watch.
Moore wanted to publicly show the Pacific Southwest Region’s support for the statewide initiative, which was created to encourage children to experience outdoor activities and promote active, healthy lifestyles.
“You all represent the future,” said Moore to the children huddled around his desk. “It is important for us to have you learn about the outdoors, and we want you to enjoy being outdoors.”
Moore quizzed the children on their knowledge of the Forest Service and what activities they already enjoy doing outdoors. It provided a successful lead-in as Moore explained the significance of the bill.
The California Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights includes easy, fun activities for children ages 4-14, such as playing in a safe place, exploring nature, learning to swim, going fishing, following a trail, camping under the stars, riding a bike, going boating, connecting with the past and planting a seed. Moore challenged the children to engage in these activities before they turn 14 years old.
The region, which includes California, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands, plans to promote this Bill of Rights and its activities as a guideline for national forests, parks, parents, communities and other entities to use as a tool to communicate the benefits of being outdoors and having an active lifestyle.
“Providing our youth every opportunity to develop strong connections to the land will help teach them essential values that will contribute to healthy lifestyles,” said Moore. “It is vital for the Forest Service to connect with children, so that they know how important they are, and make every effort to connect them to nature.”
The Pacific Southwest Region provides a great diversity of outdoor recreation opportunities for its residents and continuously works toward connecting people with nature in an unmatched variety of settings and activities.