Outdoor Bill of Rights Unveiled at Chicago Event

Children should have the right to camp under the stars, play in the mud, climb a tree and plant flowers, according to a new Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights announced Thursday at the Chicago Wilderness Congress.

The bill of rights is part of the Congress' year-old No Child Left Inside initiative aimed at creating a culture in which children are encouraged to connect with nature, said Peggy Stewart, manager of outdoor environmental education for the Chicago Park District, who heads the Congress' efforts to share its program nationally.

The doucument, presented at the Congress attended by 500 conservation experts, policy makers and community leaders at the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum, listed the following rights every child should have:

- Camp under the stars

- Catch and release fish, frogs and insects

- Celebrate heritage

- Climb a tree

- Discover Chicago Wilderness--prairies, dunes, forests, savannas and wetlands

- Explore nature in neighborhoods and cities

- Follow a trail

- Learn to swim

- Plant a flower

- Play in the mud

Chicago Wilderness launched its Leave No Child Inside initiative in June 2007. The idea for the initiative stemmed from the publication of environmental activist Rich Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods." Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder,” referring to today’s kids and young people who spend much of their free time indoors, being inactive.

Stewart says it’s easy to get involved. “If you’re…
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