The city of Rochester is making a commitment to provide children with better access to nature. Mayor Lovely Warren gathered with city council members Tuesday to announce plans to build a nature center at Maplewood Park. She also unveiled a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, part of a national initiative to give children opportunities to learn and play in nature.
“The children’s outdoor bill of rights and the establishment of the Maplewood nature center are goals that we set in 2018, when Rochester was one of just 18 cities in the country selected to participate in the Cities Connecting Children to Nature initiative in partnership with the National League of Cities and the Children and Nature Network,” Warren said.
The proposed $4.7 million nature center and the bill of rights were developed with members of the mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee along with the Seneca Park Zoo Foundation’s Urban Ecologist Program.
The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights will give children access to opportunities like swimming, hiking, wildlife education among other things.
Warren said Rochester has a lot of unique amenities and with many access points to nature.She encourages parents to get their children outside of the house.
“You could go up to the gorge or you go up to the lake, or you can come right here to Maplewood Park and experience nature for yourself,” said Warren.
If the city council approves the plan, the design phase for the Maplewood Park Nature Center will begin in 2023.