Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (COBOR)
As the fourth most populous city in the country, the City of Houston is mindful of its responsibility to lead the way in improving the wellbeing of children and increasing their access to nature. To demonstrate this commitment, the Houston Mayor’s Office of Education and Youth Engagement has launched a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (COBOR), an initiative developed by the Cities Connecting Children to Nature program, a national partnership between the National League of Cities and the Children & Nature Network. This initiative aligns with the city’s commitment to recognizing children's rights, as demonstrated through the recent adoption of a Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports and Houston’s designation as the first city in the United States as a candidate for the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative.
The COBOR is a list of outdoor experiences and activities each Houston child should have access to and establishes a common foundation and high aspirations for connecting our communities to nature.
The bill will be formally recognized through a Mayoral Proclamation on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 during Houston Climate Week and one day before Earth Day HTX which promises to be the largest Earth Day event ever presented by the City of Houston.
The Houston COBOR includes 12 rights:
Children have the right to safe and accessible routes to outdoor spaces in their communities.
Children have the right to adequate shade in the outdoors.
School Grounds as
Children have the right to connect with nature on their school grounds.
Children have the right to equitably funded public parks regardless of zip code.
Children have the right to discover leadership opportunities to be stewards of nature.
Children have the right to be included and accommodated with accessible outdoor environments.
Children have the right to green spaces that mitigate the impact of climate change.
Children have the right to experience the mental health and holistic wellness benefits of engaging with nature.
Children have the right to see and experience native wildlife and plants in their local park and green spaces.
Children have the right to free or low-cost outdoor programming.
Children have the right to breathe fresh and clean air.
Children have the right to learn how to be safe in the outdoors.
An intergenerational committee of local youth and community leaders was convened to discuss the priority issue areas impacting nature accessibility in the Greater Houston area and determine the rights that would be included in the bill. The committee included a diverse range of voices and experiences, including local government leaders, nonprofit professionals, educators, researchers, and youth.
Increasing access to nature for young Houstonians is included in Resilient Houston, the City’s comprehensive resilience strategy, as part of its commitment to ensure all neighborhoods have access to quality parks and nature, as well as making Houston neighborhoods greener and cooler.
For more information, please email Fernanda Marrero Hi, Project Lead of the Houston COBOR at the Mayor's Office of Education.
The following organizations, school districts, and groups have signed on as allies to uphold the 12 rights in the Houston Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.
Chinese Community Center
Christians for Change at the University of Houston-Clear Lake
City of Austin
Clear Lake High School/Clear Lake High School Garden Club
Community Family Centers
Davis High School Environmental Club
Fit Houston, Inc.
Friends of Columbia Tap
Galveston Bay Foundation
Houston Climate Movement
Houston Heights High School
HTX Sports Tech
iCure Health International
Kids for Saving Earth
Lamar High School International Club
Legacy Community Health
MacArthur Ninth Grade
Madres del Parque
Miska Consulting LLC
Parker Elementary PTO
Robot Bacon Corporation
SAFE Diversity Communities
The Student Conservation Association
The WOW Project
United Way Greater Houston
Y Teen L.I.F.E. YMCA of Greater Houston