For many kids, the closest and most accessible outdoor space it not a national or even their neighborhood park. It is the grounds right outside their classroom door. Last week, I visited the gardens at Enos Garcia Elementary School in Taos, where students are learning about growing and harvesting healthy foods like Taos Pueblo blue corn, Santa Clara white corn, and Taos red beans.
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich announces the Living Schoolyards Act at Enos Garcia Elementary School in Taos, October 6, 2022.
This amazing outdoor space was the perfect setting to announce my new legislation, the Living Schoolyards Act, which will provide federal grants and guidance to help more schools completely re-envision their outdoor grounds. Schools can create more hands-on learning opportunities, strengthen local ecological systems, and provide every single child a place where they can learn and play outside.
As a former outdoor educator myself, I know that just one outdoors experience can change a child’s whole perspective. It can create a genuine connection to place and help kids learn about ecosystems, climate change, and their environment. It can also inspire a lifetime commitment to conservation and a healthy lifestyle. Green outdoor spaces on school grounds have also proven to improve children’s mental and physical health and improve student outcomes.
I hope you will join me in building support and momentum for the Living Schoolyards Act so we can provide schools across the country with the resources they need to build thriving outdoor learning environments on their campuses.
United States Senator