Policy Update

Landmark Legislation: Washington State’s “No Child Left Inside” Program



NCEL Point of Contact

Dylan McDowell
Executive Director

“No Child Left Behind”: Washington’s Model Legislation Engages At-Risk Children in Outdoor Rec and Ed

As numerous states work towards engaging the public, particularly children, in outdoor recreation and education, Washington state’s 2007 “No Child Left Inside” bill can stand as a strong model of increasing access to and availability of outdoor resources. The bill, HB 1677, was sponsored by Assemblymember Dave Quall and established Washington’s Outdoor Education and Recreation Grant Program. These grants go towards programs that provide underserved students with opportunities to get outdoors and thus improve students’ academic performance, health, confidence, and more. Nonprofit organizations, schools, public agencies, and community-based groups are all eligible to receive grants through the program.

To ensure that this funding reaches at-risk communities, the bill prioritizes programs that engage students from low-income families or those that are struggling academically. Furthermore, after Washington Senator Kevin Ranker spearheaded the bill’s reauthorization in 2015, the bill now also prioritizes funding for groups that engage with veterans to implement or administer their programs.

“No Child Left Inside” is the most recent addition to NCEL and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute’s Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook, a one-stop shop for some of the nation’s strongest state environmental laws. Learn more about what states like Ohio and Virginia are doing to foster outdoor engagement.