WHEREAS, Missouri’s children are increasingly disconnected from nature and the outdoors; and
WHEREAS, the incidence of obesity in Missouri children is increasing; and
WHEREAS, children are our most precious resource; and
WHEREAS, personal experience in nature can improve mental ability and sense of well-being; and
WHEREAS, educating children about nature can help build lifelong understanding and concern for the care of our natural resources; and
WHEREAS, healthy natural resources, plants, and animals are important to Missouri’s future; and
WHEREAS, Missouri children can benefit from being more connected to nature and the outdoors.
NOW THEREFORE, I, JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by the virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby establish the Children in Nature Challenge to challenge Missouri communities to take action to enhance children’s education about nature, and to increase children’s opportunities to personally experience nature and the outdoors. The Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Health and Senior Services, Mental Health, Higher Education, and Economic Development shall actively support the Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources to implement this Challenge by:
Reaching out to Missouri communities to encourage utilization of existing state programs that help educate children about and connect them with nature and the outdoors;
Encouraging Missouri communities to build local programs that expand upon existing state programs;
Serving as an informational resource for Missouri communities undertaking this Challenge;
Championing the use of the Discover Nature Schools program and other indoor and outdoor instructional components for K-12 curriculum that strengthen children’s connection to nature and enhance their education about the environment; and
Promoting this Challenge and developing a process to recognize Missouri communities for their efforts and successes in meeting it.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 26th day of February, 2010.