NM Legislature Unanimously Approves Wild Friends Memorial

Wild FriendsThe 2012 New Mexico Legislature unanimously passed the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, a memorial written in part by students in the Wild Friends program at the University of New Mexico School of Law.

The non-binding memorial, which was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Cynthia Nava (SM 10) and in the House by Rep. Mimi Stewart (HM 3), asks the state to recognize the rights of children to have access to outdoor activities, and encourages state agencies to develop outdoor programs for children.

Wild Friends is a network of students, teachers and mentors in grades 4-12 across New Mexico who support wildlife and seek common-ground solutions to wildlife issues. Every year, members of the network choose a wildlife-related topic, research the topic, help draft legislation, and follow it through the legislative process, with students traveling to Santa Fe to advocate on behalf of the legislation and often testifying at committee hearings.

During the Feb. 9 Senate floor session, a group of Wild Friends students from Guadalupe Montessori School in Silver City sent a note to Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez (`76), requesting that he call up Senate Memorial 10 for a vote. At 3 p.m. that afternoon, he did.

“Several senators spoke on behalf of the memorial and Wild Friends, and complimented the students in the gallery on how well prepared they always are and how important their legislation is,” said Sue George (`88), director of the Wild Friends program.

The House had unanimously passed House Memorial 3 during the previous week, where students from Jemez Valley Middle School and Bel Air Elementary School in Albuquerque testified in committee, and students from Rio Rancho Cyber Academy spoke as expert witnesses on the House floor.

February 13, 2012