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Youth Outdoor Policy Partnership

Meridian established and manages the Youth Outdoor Policy Partnership, linking a network of organizations that advocate for strong state policies on outdoor education and environmental literacy.

Time spent outside, including environmental education, can be enormously beneficial for children’s mental and physical health. State policies are an effective lever to incentivize youth outdoor engagement. However, state legislatures can be difficult to navigate, and advocates for these issues within them can be disconnected from efforts occurring in other states. Meridian, with support from the Pieces Foundation, established the Youth Outdoor Policy Partnership in 2018, forging a coalition of organizations to bridge these silos and collectively champion state-level outdoor engagement policies.

The members of the Partnership—the Children & Nature Network, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, North American Association for Environmental Education, and National Caucus of Environmental Legislators—have implemented exemplary programs across the United States. They also oversee grassroots networks of advocates and possess a deep understanding of different state policy contexts. Building on this tremendous value, the Partnership provides a platform for members to exchange ideas and develop strategies, document and replicate successful programs and policies, and connect ideas with the right champions and policy-makers.

Meridian coordinates the Partnership’s activities, including members’ development of a “policy playbook” of example policies, case studies, and objectives. Meridian also helps forge connections between the Partnership and complementary efforts in related sectors, such as outdoor recreation and health. Through the collaborative efforts of its members and Meridian’s support, the Youth Outdoor Policy Partnership is creating important new momentum and ideas to get kids outside.