News Release -- City Adopts Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights to Guarantee Every Child Equal Access to Nature

City of Rochester

News Release

Commitment to Outdoor Play and Learning Backed by Investment in Urban Nature Center

(Tuesday, April 27, 2021) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren today announced that the City has adopted a Children’s Bill of Rights to guarantee every child’s right to play outside and enjoy nature regardless of race or social class.

“The Children’s Bill of Rights is our pledge to provide every child in our city equal access to nature and the outdoors,” said Mayor Warren. “We are going to close the Nature Gap of racial and economic disparity that causes some children to stay inside. Enriching the lives of young people with the ability play and learn in nature is critical to the success of our Equity and Recovery Agenda and our goals to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”

“I am absolutely thrilled that the City Council and City Administration have chosen to unanimously adopt the Rochester Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights,” said Council President Loretta C. Scott. “This

Bill of Rights will help to ensure that all children will be exposed to the beauty of nature and the great outdoors, which in turn will enable them to build lifelong healthy habits and a genuine respect for the wonderful amenities the earth freely gives us.”

The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (COBOR) is a joint resolution of Mayor Warren and City Council adopted April 13 that declares every child has the right to enjoy such outdoor activities as observing a star-filled sky, learning to ride a bike, camping, hiking or playing in the snow.

These to support these goals, the Mayor also unveiled plans to build an Urban Nature Center in Lower Maplewood Park that will host a wide range of opportunities for children to learn and play in nature. These include teaching gardens, outdoor classrooms, a natural playground and exhibits on the Genesee River and the plants and animals that live in Rochester.

The COBOR and the Nature Center initiatives are the results of the City’s inclusion as one of 18 cities nationwide to participate in the Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative in partnership with the National League of Cities and the Children and Nature Network.

The proposals were created with the help of young people who serve on the Mayor’s youth advisory committee, called Youth Voice, One Vision; and those who participate in the Urban Ecologist Program of the Seneca Park Zoo Foundation.

According to the Center for American Progress, 74 percent of people of color are likely to live in a “nature-deprived” neighborhood…compared to just 23 percent of white people.

This economic and racial disparity can be attributed to such things as historic racism in the nation’s investments in parks and access to wilderness; the “environmental injustice” of building highways and toxic-waste producing factories in redlined minority neighborhoods; and the disproportionate crime rates in minority neighborhoods that make it dangerous for some children to play outside.


For more information, contact Justin Roj at