Bill S3920A-2013

Creates a legislative task force on outdoor environmental education and recreation

Creates a legislative task force on outdoor environmental education and recreation that will benefit residents of New York state by fostering stewardship and conservation of the environment, and an appreciation of the importance of the wise use of natural resources as well as acknowledgment of the health benefits of time spent in nature.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 17, 2014: PRINT NUMBER 3920A
  • Jan 17, 2014: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO CULTURAL AFFAIRS, TOURISM, PARKS AND RECREATION
  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CULTURAL AFFAIRS, TOURISM, PARKS AND RECREATION
  • Feb 27, 2013: REFERRED TO CULTURAL AFFAIRS, TOURISM, PARKS AND RECREATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3920A

TITLE OF BILL: An act creating a legislative task force on outdoor environmental education and recreation that will benefit residents of New York state by stewardship and conservation of the environment, an appreciation of the importance of the wise use of natural resources as well as acknowledgment of the health benefits of time spent in nature

PURPOSE: This bill creates a task force on outdoor environmental education and recreation. This bill would assemble representatives from various organizations and state agencies to promote development of a framework that will ensure that New York State has a aggressive outdoor environmental education and recreation Plan that focuses on creating, developing and retaining opportunities for outdoor learning.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 provides the Legislative findings.

Section 2 provides the objectives of the legislative task force on outdoor environmental education and recreation.

Section 3 provides the composition of the legislative task force, which shall consist of twelve members. The task force members will have expertise in outdoor recreation and environmental education.

Section 4 authorizes the task force to report its findings, conclusion and recommendations by January 1, 2017.

Section 5 of this bill provides for an immediate effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: The average American boy or girl spends just four to seven minutes each day in unstructured outdoor play, and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen.

Visual and physical access to basic types of open space is vital for everyone, and particularly valuable to children growing up in "urban hardscapes" or areas where access to nature is limited.

Outdoor play has been shown to increase fitness levels, raise levels of Vitamin D, improve distance vision and lower nearsightedness, decrease symptoms of AIDED, improve test scores and increase academic performance.

The development of policies that foster stewardship of the environment, an appreciation of the importance of the wise use of natural resources and recognition of the health benefits of time spent in nature are essential to the residents of New York State.

This legislation would assemble representatives from various organizations and state agencies to promote the development of a framework that will ensure that New York State has an aggressive outdoor environmental education and recreation plan focuses on creating, developing and retaining opportunities for outdoor learning.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S5205 of 2011/2012.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to State.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3920--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 27, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. NOZZOLIO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation -- recommitted to the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT creating a legislative task force on outdoor environmental educa- tion and recreation that will benefit residents of New York state by stewardship and conservation of the environment, an appreciation of the importance of the wise use of natural resources as well as acknowledgment of the health benefits of time spent in nature THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings. (a) The legislature hereby finds that in the last two decades, childhood has moved indoors. The average Ameri- can boy or girl spends just four to seven minutes each day in unstruc- tured outdoor play, and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen. The decline in the appreciation and prevalence of outdoor recreation opportunities profoundly impacts the wellness of our state's youth. The correlation between increasing childhood obesity rates and the decline in outdoor recreation is undeniable. (b) The legislature further finds that visual and physical access to basic types of open space is vital for everyone, and particularly valu- able to children growing up in "urban hardscapes", or areas where access to nature is limited. (c) The legislature further finds that the development of policies that foster stewardship of the environment, the importance of the wise use of natural resources and recognition of the health benefits of time spent in nature are essential to the residents of New York state. The legislature concludes that this can best be accomplished by the creation of a task force on outdoor environmental education and recreation.
S 2. Objectives. A legislative task force on outdoor environmental education and recreation is hereby established to: (a) Promote the development of a framework that will ensure that New York state has an aggressive outdoor environmental education and recre- ation plan for children that focuses on creating, developing and retain- ing opportunities for outdoor play and learning; (b) Identify and support programs which offer safe access to open spaces and summer camp to children from urban areas; (c) Promote the development of policy recommendations to ensure that New York's public and private sectors focus on creating opportunities for underserved and at-risk children to participate in outdoor play and educational experiences; (d) Promote the development of strategies to ensure that K-12 educa- tional institutions develop policies and programs that promote environ- mental education to encourage outdoor play thereby improving public health and take advantage of the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of moving outdoors in nature; (e) Promote the development of strategies to assist community based, nonprofit organizations in furthering programs that provide for summer camp and out of school time opportunities for outdoor recreation or education; (f) Evaluate laws, rules, and procedures to ensure that they facili- tate, or at least do not hinder, the growth of outdoor play or environ- mental education. S 3. Composition. The task force shall consist of twelve members. The task force members will have experience and expertise in outdoor recre- ation and environmental education. The task force shall consist of: the commissioner of education or his or her designee, the commissioner of health or his or her designee, the commissioner of environmental conser- vation or his or her designee, the commissioner of the office of parks, recreation and historic preservation or his or her designee. One member shall be a representative from a nonprofit health and wellness organiza- tion. One member shall be a representative from a nonprofit environ- mental conservation organization. Two members shall be appointed by the governor; one member to be appointed by the temporary president of the senate; one member to be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; one member to be appointed by the speaker of the assembly; and one member to be appointed by the minority leader of the assembly. The task force shall be appointed for a term of two years. S 4. Report. The task force shall report its findings, conclusions and recommendations to the governor, majority leader of the senate and the speaker of the assembly by January 1, 2017. The task force may develop and publish other documents throughout the year as it deems necessary and/or appropriate. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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