ASHEBORO, NC - The North Carolina Children and Nature Coalition (NCCAN!), a project of the N.C. Zoological Society and the Environmental Educators of N.C. (EENC), is sponsoring a poster design contest that will be used in marketing materials for the new N.C. Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights. The contest is open to school aged children and adults. Information about the contest and the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights can be found at the contest website

The N.C. Children's Bill of Rights will be used across the state to market and advocate legislation on behalf of children. Proponents of the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights will heighten awareness and seek to ensure all North Carolina children have opportunities to connect with nature at an early age and build upon that connection as they grow. A growing body of research has demonstrated the health, educational and social benefits of outdoor play in nature.

"Discussions concerning children and the out-of-doors are being held primarily between the adult decision makers," noted EENC President Shelby Gull Laird. "It's our intention to have children be a part of the planning. Our poster contest is a first step in this direction."

"NCCAN! is working with the Environmental Educators of N.C., the N.C. Zoo and other stakeholders to create a cultural shift across N.C. that promotes children getting outdoors, engaging in play, and connecting to nature " said Kathy Bull, External Affairs Director for the N.C. Zoo Society and chair of the NCCAN! Coalition.

"NCCAN!'s vision is that children will have the opportunity to value, discover and experience the natural world around them. NCCAN!'s mission is to establish a relationship between children and the natural world by bringing together people and organizations to strengthen, broaden and support efforts that build these connections."

NCCAN! is a statewide coalition under the umbrella of the N.C. Zoological Society. Environmental Educators of N.C. is a professional organization of environmental educators whose mission is to promote excellence in professional development and facilitate networking opportunities, inspiring educators to create an environmentally literate citizenry.

For information on NCCAN! visit the website or call 336-879-7286. For information about EENC visit

The North Carolina Zoological Society is the private, non-profit organization that supports the North Carolina Zoo. The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.