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Children's Health & Safety Association

Issue 43: July 2018

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 23:26

Celebrating the ‘New’ Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter

Written by 

 

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February 16, 2014 – The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and its partners are helping children across the province develop a life-long connection with nature thanks to Canada's first-ever children's outdoor charter.

The Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter, established in October 2013, is an awareness initiative that encourages children to get outdoors to explore nature and discover Ontario's rich biodiversity by participating in 12 recommended activities.

  • Following a trail
  • Exploring a park
  • Harvesting something to eat
  • Swimming in a lake
  • Paddling a canoe
  • Playing in the snow
  • Building an outdoor fort
  • Visiting a farm
  • Camping under the stars
  • Fishing
  • Observing plants and wildlife
  • Creating an outdoor adventure

Working to keep Ontario children and their families healthy and active is part of the government’s plan to work together as 'One Ontario' to build a successful, compassionate and united province where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and enjoy a high quality of life.

Did You Know…

ü  Ontario is the first province in Canada to develop an outdoor charter for children and youth.

ü  70% of young Canadians spend an hour or less a day outdoors.

ü  A 2011 University of Essex study shows that participating in outdoor activities improves children’s mental health, increases physical activity and boosts self-esteem. Children report feeling happier, more energetic and having a more positive outlook on their school, home and social lives.

ü  A 2010 University of Florida study found that the more time children and youth spend outdoors, the more likely they are to act in an environmentally friendly manner.

ü  Ontario’s rich biodiversity offers boundless opportunities for discovery. Our province is home to approximately 250,000 lakes, 30,000 known species of plants and animals, more than 330 provincial parks and over 80,000 kilometres of provincial trails.

child-out-005"Childhood is a time to play and explore," states David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources.  

"The Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter reinforces the importance of children being outside to discover the wonders of nature. When we encourage a child to take part in outdoor activities, we help develop healthy habits and a lifetime of appreciation for Ontario’s biodiversity.

child-out-007Liz Sandals, Minister of Education said, "The well-being of our children depends on a healthy, active lifestyle."

"The Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter advocates for an environment where active choices are easy choices for students, encouraging them to build a stronger connection to nature.”

"The charter is an open invitation to explore the wonders of nature. The partners to the charter encourage everyone - parents, organizations, governments, communities - to work together to make sure kids have chances to connect with nature. The opportunities in the charter are a doorway to making that happen.”

“Ontario is home to approximately 250,000 lakes, 30,000 known species of plants and animals, more than 330 provincial parks and over 80,000 kilometres of provincial trails.”

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
October 2013

"Far too many of our youth have become disconnected from the very life support system that sustains them: our biodiversity”, said Bill Kilburn from the Back to Nature Network.

Steve Hounsell, Chair for the Ontario Biodiversity Council asked, "Why would we protect or care about that which we do not understand?

"The Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter seeks to unleash a lifelong fascination in the life that surrounds them and to instil a passion to protect what sustains them."

Don Hall, President of the Sault Naturalists stated, "Let’s help our children find a balance between screen time and old-fashioned outdoor play with the help of tools like the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter".

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Follow a trail on a bike to enjoy the fall colours.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Parks

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Camp under the stars and enjoy a treat with your friends.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

 

 

 

 

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Swim in a lake – there are about 250,000 lakes in Ontario.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Parks

 

 

 

 

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Paddle a canoe.

Photo Courtesy ofOntario Parks

 

 

 

 

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Observe plants and wildlife in your neighbourhood.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Parks

 

 

 

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Harvest something to eat at one of Ontario’s pick-your-own farms.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

 

 

 

 

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Play in the snow.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

 

 

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Go fishing during Ontario Family Fishing Weekend from February 15-17, 2014.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

 

 

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Build an outdoor fort!

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

 

 

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Visit a farm to make new friends.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

 

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Explore a park and see the world from a new perspective.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

 

 

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Create an outdoor adventure at a nearby park, creek or garden.

Photo Courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

 

Resources for the Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter

ü  Learn more about the charter and download a kid’s passport for tracking activities.

ü  There are many Government of Ontario programs to help children and their families complete the 12 charter activities, including Learn to Camp, Family Fishing Weekend and the Ontario Trail Network, which features many accessible trails.

ü   Biodiversity: It’s in our Nature — Ontario’s plan to conserve biodiversity.

ü  Introducing the Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter – from the Ministry of Natural Resources Introductions and hyperlinks to trails, outside forts, parks, camping, fishing, playing in the snow, harvesting food, visiting a farm, swimming in a lake, paddling a canoe, observing plants and wildlife, and creating outdoor adventures.

ü  The Backgrounder

ü  Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter website

ü  Download and print:  

1) The charter                                         

2) An activity-tracking passport for kids                                         

3) A poster to share with friends and family

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Children's Health and Safety Association's mission is to provide up-to-date health and safety information for every concerned parent.  We believe the most effective way of instilling positive change for children is through awareness and information programs.

 

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