June 19, 2018
The Honorable Robert M. Hertzberg
Chair, Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee
State Capitol, Room 5046
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 2614 (Carillo) Outdoor experience: disadvantaged youth
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair Hertzberg,
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, strongly supports proposed legislation AB 2614 (Carrillo), which would require the Natural Resources Agency to track the availability of outdoor experiences for disadvantaged youth in a school district and create a grant program to encourage access to these experiences with the goal of improving the overall health and well-being of these youth.
Time spent outdoors in nature encourages physical activity (a key component in combating obesity), social interaction, and an appreciation of the environment. Many underprivileged young people in California, however, have little to no access to outdoor experiences. This is especially pervasive in urban areas among communities of color where children have limited means to travel to and from outdoor areas. While these youth often live near parks and beaches, they cannot reach them.
AB 2614 (Carrillo) will improve disadvantaged youth’s access to outdoor experiences by tasking the Natural Resources Agency with compiling a list of school districts that contract out their school buses to non-profit organizations or state agencies for transport services and connecting them to those non-profit organizations and state agencies that provide disadvantaged youth with outdoor experiences. As a result, this bill would help connect these organizations with the transportation services that would enable them to give these youth positive encounters with nature, and all its associated benefits.
The bill would also create a grant program that would provide additional monetary support to foster more access to the outdoors and uplift the many young people who are denied these advantageous experiences. Additionally, to encourage the preservation of the environment and promote health and sustainability, the grant program will provide rebates to organizations that offer these transportation services using low-emission buses.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 statewide strongly support proposed legislation AB 2614 (Carrillo) and urge you to vote AYE. Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Angela Dangvu, M.D. Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
State Government Affairs Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Members of Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee
The Honorable Wendy Carrillo, Author
AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne