SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager, and representatives of the National Park Service; Presidio Trust, the office of Supervisor Ferrell, and the San Francisco Unified School District Board met at Mountain Lake to sign the San Francisco Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (SFCOBR), a new charter promoting outdoor experiences for all kids growing up in the city.
“SF Rec and Park’s priority has always been serving the children and families in San Francisco,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “Therefore, we are excited to be in partnership with the National Park Service, Presidio Trust, and SF Unified School District to ensure all our children get to play!”
The SFCOBR was inspired by research findings on the importance of children’s outdoor activities and direct exposure to nature for healthy childhood development. A number of studies indicate that children who participate in outdoor activities are healthier, do better in school, have better social skills and self-image, and lead more fulfilled lives. More than 20 states have now ratified their own Outdoor Bills of Rights to support and promote outdoor recreation for children.
“We are pleased to join our partners in signing the San Francisco Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights,” said Damien Raffa, Presidio Trust outdoor education specialist. “At the Presidio, we see first-hand the impact of nature on children and the importance of outdoor activity.”
At a noon ceremony, attendees signed the SFCOBR and engaged in activities that included lawn games, tree climbing, wildlife exploration, the Aquarium of the Bay mobile, and creatures from the San Francisco Zoo.
San Francisco Children and Nature Forum, a coalition of educators, park staff and health care and urban planning professionals, came together to develop the SFCOBR which is specific to San Francisco. Two citywide programs are expected to result from the initiative: a City Outdoors Passport – an activity punch card that youth and their families complete as they pursue outdoor activities provided by partner agencies, and a crowd-sourced web-based map of places where these experiences are available to kids throughout San Francisco.
The list of experiences identified on the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights are the result of a three-year project that culminated in a voting campaign that reached schools, community groups and families representing all corners of the city:
*Explore all the wild places in the City;
*Harvest and eat a fruit or vegetable;
*Plant a seed and watch it grow;
*Visit and care for a local park;
*Splash in the ocean or bay;
*Play in the sand & mud;
*Discover urban wildlife;
*Sleep under the stars;
*Climb a tree; and,
*Ride a bike
Schools and community organizations are invited to sign on to thecharter and be recognized for their commitment to enriching outdoor activities via the www.sfcan.org website.
Founded in 2011, the mission of the San Francisco Children and Nature Forum (SFCaN) is to inspire city agencies, schools and communities to nurture, empower, and engage children, youth and families in their relationships with urban nature in San Francisco. This new forum brings together educators, out-of-school program providers, recreation and parks staff, and health care and urban planning professionals towards the end of ensuring that all San Franciscan childhoods flourish with access to quality outdoor experience. The Forum invites the sharing of best practices, discussion of current knowledge as well as innovative ideas and potential collaborations regarding San Francisco’s children and the outdoors.