The Institute at the Golden Gate has grown and thrived on its ability to think creatively and strategically, to act quickly, and to put people and ideas together in new and meaningful ways. In order to achieve this sometimes you need to push back from the desk and get out of the office and into the field. This is exactly what we did this past Friday.
We threw on the galoshes and headed north to visit our friends at Slide Ranch. The great team at Slide Ranch work to connect the Bay Area with farm-based environmental education that focuses on the principles of sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. They engage youth, families, and educators of all backgrounds by cooking, gardening, caring for animals and exploring the country and coast. The Institute and Slide Ranch share the mission of connecting people with their environment to strengthen and improve the health of ourselves and our communities.
Since 1970 the team at Slide Ranch has been empowering and encouraging visitors to roll up their sleeves, get dirty, and be connected - while learning how to respect nature. We jumped right in on Friday and within a matter of minutes we were exploring the one acre garden, chomping on fresh from the ground chard, and taking part in the daily milking of the goats. We left with dirt under our fingernails, minds expanded, and definitely more inspired than a day in the office provides.
To experience Slide Ranch on your own check out their website and be sure and attend the upcoming Spring Fling on April 26.
From March 28-29, participants of the upcoming BioBlitz will be racing throughout the Golden Gate National Parks for a thrilling 24-hours. The aim of a BioBlitz is to survey the biodiversity of a given area by finding and identifying as many species of plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms as possible.
Many such phenology activities are showing that species populations are shifting and changing as a result of the rapid environmental changes of the 21st century. Leatherback turtles, Delta smelt, sea otters, and salmon are just a few of the many species whose numbers may go into decline.
But what is happening in our own backyard? What happens to our sense of place as the natural and built environment around us changes rapidly? How do our communities react?
The need for action on climate change and biodiversity loss is recognized across the United States and around the world. To make progress towards combating and adapting to climate change, and halting the loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems, it is vital to understand the impact this devastation has on our daily lives and the parks and open spaces that we cherish. Join the Institute at the Golden Gate for a BioBlitz Speaker Series event to learn how biodiversity loss and climate change is already affecting how we engage with parks and open spaces.
Panelists from University of California-Berkeley, Free Range Studios, and Green for All will help lead conversations on how our changing climate is and will continue to affect the connections we have with open spaces. Help shape the discussion and learn how you can take action in your own backyard to protect the parks and open spaces that we all cherish. Join us for this engaging event on Thursday, March 13 at 6:00pm. For more information and to RSVP, visit the event page.
As the 2016 National Park Service (NPS) centennial draws near, it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the legacy of our national park system and to reaffirm our commitment to its continued relevance and excellence.
On August 24, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act.” His legislation created the National Park Service with the stated purpose “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Since that time, NPS has grown from 35 to 401 national parks with 84 million acres of land and over 280 million visitors annually.
While conservation and management are of critical importance, it is the green and gray of the interpretive ranger that is the face of NPS for many Americans. The interpretive and educational opportunities offered at our most treasured places help us connect physically, emotionally, and historically to the parks. It is these experiences that call us to action as stewards of the land. With this history as providers of trusted information, park leadership has recognized the vast potential of our nation’s parks to become key providers of informal education and learning.
How can we seize this important opportunity and tackle current challenges such as budget restraints and staffing cuts, as well as rapid technological and demographic change? How can NPS continue to offer high quality, relevant, and impactful educational programming given the current challenges? What are current examples of successful, alternative, innovative funding models for educational programming that might be replicated or scaled up?
The Institute is committed to exploring these questions and to supporting efforts to make parks the most effective venues possible for informal, high-impact education. In the coming months, we will bring you more news of a number of early-stage initiatives in which we will be helping design and develop best practice in this important area.
Do you know of any exciting, innovative examples of education funding models? If so, please share them below or email us - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 2011 Dr. Nooshin Razani has been the lead health consultant at the Institute at the Golden Gate, leading such projects as the Bayview Hunters Point Park Prescriptions pilot and sitting on the leadership team for Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area. Dr. Razani is a practicing pediatrician at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland. She was trained as a "Nature Champion" by the National Environmental Education Foundation in 2010. Since that time she has become a champion in the Bay Area of getting individuals and communities outside for their physical and mental health.
We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Razani has joined the Institute team as a Senior Fellow. She will continue to work on projects that push the Bay Area, and the rest of the country, to be leaders in nature and health. Stay tuned to hear what exciting projects she will be spearheading in the year to come! For a complete biography of Dr. Razani and to learn about the rest of the Institute team visit the Who We Are page.
As those involved in our November conference, Parks: The New Climate Classroom, take the time to synthesize lessons learned, one important theme has come through loud and clear: know your audience. During our conference follow up, participants emphasized the value of discussions around audience needs and values.
Many participants called out Ed Maibach’s presentation on American perceptions and beliefs around climate change as particularly informative and stimulating. Maibach presented findings from the Yale Climate Communications Project, highlighting the “Six Americas”– terminology coined in their report to describe the span of American beliefs around climate change. He highlighted that those on either end of the spectrum (Alarmed and Dismissive) are wholeheartedly committed to their perspectives. However the majority of Americans (67%) fall between those two extremes. These middle populations are most receptive to new information around climate change and the sweet spot for educational programming.
Check out the original report for more detailed information on the different groups. Additionally, last month the project published their latest findings from November 2013 regarding climate change beliefs.
In his presentation, Maibach also highlighted the importance of showing people how they have personally experienced climate change. Rather than relying on analytical data and figures to convince people of the importance of climate change, Maibach suggests that climate education and communication should focus on experiential learning. Showing people how weather in their community has changed and connecting it to their daily life provides an important opportunity for moving the needle on climate beliefs.
Watch this space for upcoming video highlights from our Parks: The New Climate Classroom conference, including a webcast of Ed Maibach’s thought-provoking session!
New Report Targets Key Role for Parks and Public Lands in Addressing Wider Societal Challenges
A nine-year old with ADHD. A teenager studying climate change. A café owner serving healthy, local food. A senior citizen with Type II diabetes.
What do they all have in common? The answer is our nation’s parks and open spaces.
In our new report, Change Makers, our team at the Institute at the Golden Gate outlines how we are leveraging the power of parks and public lands to help address some of society's most pressing problems. The report, published to mark the Institute's fifth anniversary, tells the story so far, and reveals our team's latest plans to strengthen the role of parks in addressing society’s health, food, urban, climate, and education challenges.
The Institute's mission is to help unlock the power of parks and public lands to be part of the answer to some of society’s biggest challenges. We support the role of our nation’s parks in promoting people’s health and wellbeing, providing innovative education for all generations, and becoming places that are valued and relevant for all people, irrespective of culture, age, ethnicity, or background. Since we first opened our doors to the public five years ago, the Institute has helped improve policy and practice locally, regionally, and even nationally.
Click here to download our new Change Makers report.
Please join us in advancing this important mission. As a first step, we invite you to become a member on our website. Or if you prefer, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Whatever your preference for staying connected, we’ll make sure you receive periodic updates on our work and can join the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you!
Director, Institute at the Golden Gate
The Institute at the Golden Gate recently met with our friends and partners at the Crissy Field Center where we learned a lot about what they do and how much their work overlaps with the Institute’s mission. While the Institute and Crissy Field Center may be different programs of the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy with different approaches, we both believe in the power of parks and public lands to transform lives and help solve some of the most pressing problems facing us now. Crissy Field is known for its amazing educational programs led by National Park Service rangers and Crissy Field staff, while the Institute….
Actually, now might be a good time to see how well you know the Institute! A randomly selected winner will receive a prize! Try this short, fun quiz by clicking here.
Thanks for reading and look forward to the responses!
If you were to perform a simple online search using the key words "mental health benefits of nature" you would be met with over 62 million hits, many of them news articles touting the endless benefits that green space has on our mental wellbeing. Additionally you can now find an abundance of resources from around the world focused on improving the mental health of of youth, refugees, veterans, and urbanites.
Mental wellbeing is quickly becoming a major public health issue. In 2011 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the use of antidepressants in the United States had increased nearly 400% in the last two decades alone. As the world becomes a more urbanized and complex place, we have to start asking ourselves just how important our green spaces are to us.
Just last week The Guardian published an article titled "Why green is good for you" and pointed to a study that tracked the mental health of a 1,000 people - half had moved to an area with higher rates of green space and half who moved to an area with less green space. As predicted the group who moved to an area with more abundant green spaces had an immediate improvement in their mental health. The most striking outcome was the improvement in mental health that was still present three years later.
It's been ten years since the term "nature deficit disorder" has entered our vocabulary. From forest bathing in Japan, to refugee walking programs in Australia, to the rise of park prescription programs throughout the United States, it's clear that we're making strides to improve the health and wellbeing of our population.
You don't need to plan your retirement to a cabin in the woods just yet to reap the mental benefits of nature. Taking the path that winds through the park on your way to school, ditching your couch for the shade of a tree to read the newspaper, or playing on the local playground with your kids are all good ways to become happier, and thus feel better. It doesn't take a lot but it does take a little.
We'll see you in the parks.
As we embark on 2014, it is a good time to stop and reflect on what we have learned in the past year and how those lessons can better shape the next. Having recently joined such a vibrant organization as the Institute at the Golden Gate, I personally have much to learn!
2013 was a pivotal year for the climate education program. Last May, we published our Climate in the Parks report, which presented case studies of innovative programs from around the world that use parks and public lands as a classroom for climate education. The information we gathered for the report showed us the importance of collaboration and partnership in effective educational programming. It also reinforced how the power of parks and place-based learning can be harnessed to create a compelling and personal climate change narrative.
In November, we gathered over 100 key stakeholders at Cavallo Point for Parks: The New Climate Classroom. This three-day workshop brought together individuals and organizations from parks and public lands management, interpretation, climate change communications and education, youth leadership, behavior change, science and communications research, among others. Participants and presenters alike found inspiration in this multi-disciplinary, cross-sector approach.
Our Parks gathering was a resounding success - in a post-conference survey, over 90% of the respondents ranked the conference highly. Perhaps more informatively, they repeatedly mentioned the value of bringing a diverse array of stakeholders to the table.
“It was eye-opening to see how other fields (outside of science and education) are engaging with climate change issues,” one respondent shared, while another wrote, “I really appreciated the mix of local, regional and national perspectives, as well as the cross-disciplinary approach (i.e. educators, advocates, journalists, etc...).”
Learning from our climate report and conference follow up, we clearly saw the value of using a place-based, multi-sector approach to climate education in parks. Moving into 2014, we will keep this at the forefront as we continue to develop our climate education programming. Watch this space and sign up on our website to keep up to date on this exciting program.
If you’d like to share what lessons you’re taking away from 2013, please feel free to post below!
The past year has been a remarkable one for the Institute at the Golden Gate. We started 2013 with a list of ambitious goals focused on one key mission: making parks and public lands part of the solution to some of society’s biggest challenges. We’re thrilled to report that 2013 was probably our most successful year yet! Here are some of the highlights.
Our food program marked a milestone achievement with the announcement by the National Park Service in June that it was adopting new food policies that will affect tens of millions of meals served in national parks each year. This exciting new development was the culmination of three years of work by the Institute to inspire and help co-design a new food policy for parks across the country. More widely, it shows how parks and public lands can be part of the wider movement toward a more sustainable food system.
In 2013, the Institute also co-hosted the first national summit on sustainable food service with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, convening food industry leaders from parks, hospitals, schools, retail outlets, and museums to design collaborative sustainable food solutions at scale. Galvanized by these successes, we’re now planning the next stage of our food work, including projects regionally and nationally, as well as initiatives right here in the Bay Area.
Over the past year, the Institute's Health program has worked to strengthen the role that parks and public lands can play in preventive healthcare. Locally, health and park agencies united to provide over 100 culturally relevant, introductory, and free programs in dozens of parks in all nine counties of the Bay Area.
At the national level, the Institute co-hosted a workshop in Houston, Texas, to strengthen and scale-up the park prescriptions movement. Globally, we are participating in an international Healthy Parks Healthy People task force to elevate the role parks and public lands play in making our populations healthier. With support from donors like Kaiser Permanente and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the pilot programs we’re testing in our own backyard—such as the Bayview Hunters Point park prescriptions program—are helping to create best practice guidelines that are now supporting activities across the United States and beyond.
Meanwhile, our climate education program focused on the role parks can and should play in informing, educating, and empowering the public on critical challenges such as climate change. In May 2013, we released a well-received report that identified more than a dozen examples of innovative and high-impact educational programming in parks around the world.
Following this publication, we hosted a dynamic conference in November, with more than 140 people from as far afield as Australia gathered in Sausalito, California, to brainstorm about the role our beloved parks can play in educating and empowering people on climate change. The event attracted experts and innovators not just from our country’s parks, but from many other sectors engaged in ground-breaking educational programs, including leaders from schools and universities, museums, the media, and Silicon Valley—as well as youth activists and well-known authors like Jonah Sachs and Mark Hertsgaard. With generous support from groups like the Ayrshire Foundation, we plan on taking our work to the next level in 2014.
Closer to home, the Institute continued its work welcoming environmental and government groups to hold their meetings at beautiful Fort Baker. By offering discounted bookings for overnight guests and meeting space in conjunction with Cavallo Point–the Lodge at the Golden Gate, the Institute helped more than 1,200 professionals hold their meetings in 2013 at this inspiring and affordable venue overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of the many environmental friends and colleagues that took advantage of this opportunity were the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Student Conservation Association, Institute for the Future, and WildAid.
Building on the momentum of 2013, we’re already ramping up for an exhilarating and eventful 2014. Thank you for your continued support and best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year!
Director, Institute at the Golden Gate
As the year winds down, I get a bit obsessed because, as an avid birder, the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count takes place from mid-December through early January locally, nationally, and internationally. Citizen scientists will be fanning out through all of the Golden Gate National Parks, including Crissy Field, Land’s End, Ocean Beach, Fort Mason, Rodeo Lagoon, and beyond. They will be participating in a project that started way back in 1900 to observe and count birds, instead of hunting them in what had been a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt.” The Institute’s Healthy Parks, Healthy People program encourages birding and
other activities in order to reap the physical and mental benefits of being outside in nature.
Many areas of the Golden Gate National Parks provide excellent starting points to observe birdlife. A walk along Ocean Beach may reward you with views of Snowy Plovers, Marbled Godwits, Surf Scoters, and Sanderlings. A Hooded Oriole might show up in the Fort Mason Community Garden, as has been the case in recent weeks. Perhaps even more unbelievably, a Blue-footed Booby and Brown Booby, birds much more likely to be seen in Baja California than off Land’s End, could materialize, as was the case in the past two years, generating buzz in the scientific community as to why these birds are showing up here.
Possible reasons for these avian appearances may be climate change and dwindling food resources. The climate program at the Institute supports and convenes experts, change makers, scientists, park rangers, educators, and community leaders to leverage the power of parks as sites to observe, interpret and discuss the impact of a changing climate on natural and cultural landscapes.
Going forward, the Institute is excited to support the Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service in the March 2014 National Geographic BioBlitz, which will be taking place in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This 24-hour survey will attempt to document as many species of flora and fauna as possible to record the rich biodiversity
of our parks and to investigate human and biotic connections for, as John Muir famously observed, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
The Institute wishes you a happy and healthy 2014 and encourages you to get out in parks and public lands to get healthy, to learn, and to inspire and be inspired!
The Institute was delighted to welcome the Oceans Conservancy, Envision Education, Conservation Studies Institute, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and more this fall as part of our Institute-rate bookings in partnership with Cavallo Point Lodge. Through this partnership, environmental groups can apply for discounted, over-night meeting rates for bookings between the months of November and April of each year.
The Institute was pleased to welcome Envision Education back to Fort Baker in early December. IGG Director, Chris Spence, gave a few brief remarks to the group including appreciation for their work providing young people, especially those from underserved communities, with an education that prepares them for the complex and intertwined challenges of being responsible stewards of the planet and society – a truly noble goal.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Science team generously invited the Institute team to hang out around Cavallo Point’s fire pit and shoot the breeze. Staff shared what the Institute has been up to in the last year as well as a brief history of Fort Baker. In turn, the Science team gave updates on the amazing things they have been up to including, but not limited to, 1)work on a thirty meter telescope that will allow scientists to see the farthest reaches of the universe, study light from the earliest known stars, and test the fundamental laws of physics; 2) earthquake early-warning research and where the next big quake will hit; and 3) researching the ongoing aquatic and marine life fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. It was a reinvigorating afternoon spent with admired colleagues.
Conservation Studies Institute has met at Fort Baker twice so far this fall and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them back each time. The Institute is proud to call CSI friends and partner as we work together to keep the National Park Service a key player in the conservation world. This fall’s meetings included discussions on urban parks and the urban agenda.
The above are just a sampling of some of the amazing groups that have taken advantage of our Institute rate. To learn how you can apply for this amazing deal and join the thousands of other professionals that have called Fort Baker home for their environmental meetings, check out our Convene page, or give us a call at (415) 914-8935.
We're thrilled to introduce the newest additions to our team here at the Institute at the Golden Gate: Carlo Arreglo and Catherine Carlton.
Catherine joins the Institute as the new Program Manager of our Climate Education initiative. She brings interdisciplinary experience designing and implementing environmental programs for maximum social impact. After working on a variety of agriculture and development projects in Malawi and Zambia over the past five years, Catherine returned home to the Bay Area last month to join the team at our recent climate education conference. She holds a degree in History from Stanford University and a Master’s in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Carlo joins the Institute as our Project Coordinator, a new role focused on communications and outreach. In this role, Carlo will draw from a wide-ranging background as a former National Park Service interpretive ranger and University of California-Berkeley instructor in the English and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management departments. An avid birder, Carlo volunteers for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory and leads walks for the Golden Gate Audubon Society. He holds degrees from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Hawai`i at Manoa.
Please join us in welcoming Carlo and Catherine to the Institute family!
Curious to know more about our other Institute staff? Please click here.
The American Public Health Association (APHA), around for over 140 years, champions the health of all people and all communities. At this years 141st Annual Meeting in Boston, MA the APHA adopted 17 new policies - one policy in particular calls out the growing acknowledgement of the health benefits of spending time outside. The 'Nature, health and wellness' policy, championed by our friends at the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), states:
Nature, health and wellness — To aid in promoting healthy and active lifestyles, encourages land use decisions that prioritize access to natural areas and green spaces for residents of all ages, abilities and income levels. Calls on public health, medical and other health professionals to raise awareness among patients and the public at-large about the health benefits of spending time in nature and of nature-based play and recreation. Also urges such professionals to form partnerships with relevant stakeholders, such as parks departments, school districts and nature centers. Calls for promoting natural landscaping.
The idea that parks and public spaces can be utilized as a preventive health resource has quickly moved from niche to norm, and the passing of this policy statement by the APHA only proves this further. The epidemics that result from an indoor, sedentary lifestyle require action from all sectors of society. To elevate the message about the important role that nature can play in improving the health and wellbeing of our communities requires park agencies and healthcare providers to work together. The Institute is committed to furthering these partnerships in our own backyard and across the country through our Park Prescriptions and Healthy Parks, Healthy People programs.
[This brief description of the policy statement is not comprehensive and does not include every point, statement or conclusion presented in the policy statement. The full policy statement will be available at www.apha.org/advocacy/policy in early 2014.]
This Thanksgiving, there is much to be thankful for. The Institute at the Golden Gate’s Food for the Parks initiative has gained tremendous momentum this year. This summer we celebrated the announcement of the National Park Service’s Healthy Food Policy, outlining new healthy food standards and sustainability guidelines for national parks. Today, you will now find delicious, healthy foods offered in over 250 parks across the country.
To ensure the sustainability of this healthy food initiative, the Institute continues to collaborate with the National Park Service to generate resources for providing healthy and sustainable food service and identifying best practices across the country. The Institute recently created this user-friendly Google Map to assist park concessionaires in locating local and regional food sources. This data was compiled from across the National Park Service, USDA, and Real Time Farms, a crowd-sourced nationwide food hub guide. As we continue to develop this online resource, more layers of information and search features will illuminate how our nation’s parks can connect with more local and sustainable food hubs in every region.
All across America we see an increasing demand for healthy and sustainable foods in schools, hospitals, markets, restaurants, and our parks. Park leaders, concessionaires, and customers are all interested in reducing the overall environmental footprint of our park concession operations, and all view parks as places for health, wellness, and recreation. Thank you for joining us in the effort to bring healthy foods to our parks – Healthy Parks, Healthy People!
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!
What is the best way for us to be talking about climate change? From November 6-9, 2013, experts from as far afield as Australia gathered at Fort Baker in Sausalito, California, to share ideas on this important question. The event, which was hosted by the Institute at the Golden Gate, focused on how we can best inform, educate and empower people on this complex topic. The answer from many of the 140 participants was to make the climate story personal and place-based. How is climate change affecting us locally in our own lives? What are we already seeing and experiencing?
Many of the presenters and panelists--from authors like Jonah Sachs and Mark Hertsgaard, to academics, researchers, journalists, teachers, educators and park rangers--spoke about the value of telling real stories rooted in place. Many participants shared their personal experiences with climate change - whether it was an extreme weather event or a change in growing seasons. Since the Institute's mission is to make parks and other public spaces part of the answer, we were particularly interested to learn more from park rangers and interpreters about the changes they're already seeing in their parks.
What's your climate story?
Throughout the year the Institute team takes time to explore hubs of innovation, exchange ideas with other change makers, and build new connections. We discover new approaches from groundbreaking organizations and impact-makers that inform our programmatic perspective. Oftentimes, we draw commonalities across sectors, which inspire new Institute collaborations and partnerships.
At the 2013 Brower Youth Awards we met inspiring young leaders who pilot test environmental projects and serve as change agents in their own communities. Jonathan Ferrer, a dynamic 17 year old, shared highlights from his experience engaging hundreds of young people on environmental education and participation, including organizing the largest youth climate summit in New York. His work reminded us that through one person, impact can be amplified through the strength and support of a local community. There is a strong desire for environmental engagement among youth, and we believe that parks and protected areas can play a role as dynamic resources and inspirational venues and platforms for climate change education.
Throughout this year’s Bioneers Conference, we engaged with social and scientific innovators spanning all sectors, who design breakthrough solutions and turning vision to action. One of the hot topics this year centered on the importance and connection between our human health and the health of our environment. Together with scientists, health practitioners, and environmental leaders, we spent time outside and explored the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of being in nature. We shared the story of our Healthy Parks, Healthy People work and found new allies and partners eager to participate in the Healthy Parks, Healthy People movement.
For the first time, an entire conference track was devoted to sustainable food at the annual Net Impact Conference for students and professionals working within and beyond businesses towards a sustainable future. We embarked on an agrarian journey to Pescadero Farm with Kitchen Table Advisors and discovered first-hand the challenges, trade-offs, and solutions to achieving cost-effective sustainable foods. In collaboration with corporate CEOs, nonprofit leaders, small business owners, and farmers, we identified common challenges across sectors and shared innovative approaches to bring sustainable food service to scale. Together, we brainstormed new solutions to sourcing, distributing, and providing healthy and sustainable food service among a variety of large-scale food service systems, including the National Park Service. From the conference, we discovered new partners and change makers that will continue to shape our sustainable food program.
The Institute’s mission is to contribute to a more sustainable and healthy world by harnessing the power of parks and public lands to advance environmental stewardship and human wellbeing. It is through the consistent development of our programs and creation of new, dynamic partnerships that we believe we will achieve the greatest impact.
Which meetings, workshops, and conferences have recently inspired your work? We encourage you to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to hearing from you!
The Institute and the National Recreation and Park Association—with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—convened more than a dozen leaders representing the parks and health sector to refine on-the-ground tactics for program development program delivery, measurement, and professional training around park prescriptions.
Together, the partnering organizations are furthering the movement to elevate the initiative from a new idea to a best practice in preventive health. The goal of the National Park Prescriptions Initiative is to establish national standards, based on qualitative and quantitative evidence from programs across the country, to increase the quality of new and existing programs and support more accurate evaluation of program impacts. This time next year we hope to be disseminating a suite of resources to make it easier for diverse communities to implement a park prescriptions program of their own.
Experts in the fields of health, parks, and recreation are committed to making individuals and communities healthier through regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands. In the coming years health care providers will be able to easily prescribe time outside for patients of all backgrounds—and parks will continue to be seen as places for health and wellness across the country.
See you in the parks!
Institute at the Golden Gate is proud to partner with Cavallo Point Lodge to offer discounted over-night meeting space to environmentally-focused organizations during the months of November through April each year. A luxury resort located at beautiful Fort Baker, Cavallo Point is a LEED-certified restoration of an historic army post with a commitment to environmental sustainability. Cavallo Point serves organic, locally-sourced meals and provides a fully suite of amenities no matter the group.
The Institute’s discounted rate period begins soon and is filling quickly. Call today to arrange an in-person walk-through or discuss details for your meeting. Visit our Convene page for more information.
Do parks have a role in educating us about the local impacts of climate change? Would you listen? This November, the Institute at the Golden Gate’s will convene Parks: The New Climate Classroom to contribute to the growing movement for meaningful, practical, and local climate change education and communication in parks and communities nationwide.
With the exception of the Bay Area, it was another hot summer across America. Not the record-breaking waves of heat that scorched the country in 2012, but hot enough to exacerbate the wildfire season, deepen ongoing droughts and water issues, and get people talking about climate change.
It has also been just under one year since Hurricane Sandy crashed into the East Coast causing more than $50 billion in damage to New York City alone. Many areas will be digging out for some time to come and considering how, and if, to rebuild.
It is impossible to say definitively that one storm or event was caused by climate change. However, the overwhelming tide of opinion—both scientific and cultural—is making the positive link between the changes that we all see and feel in the daily weather and the changes in the global weather and climate systems that we see on TV and online.
Climate change is a problem that demands worldwide action. This is the toughest form of collective action, as most of us naturally pay attention to what is happening in our own communities and interest areas. Just as Twitter, Facebook, and easy cellular access have provided platforms for communicating local stories on a global scale, there are parks and publicly managed lands that touch communities in nearly every corner of the nation and the world.
The Institute at the Golden Gate asks, “What if, in addition to conservation of the natural world, one of the main goals for park systems was to actively help people understand the changes taking place in the natural world at their doorstep?”
The Institute recognizes the vital role that parks can play to help the public understand the local implications of climate change. To support the growing movement among parks to effectively and emphatically fill this role, the Institute will convene Parks: The New Climate Classroom this November. Bringing together leading thinkers on behavior change, communications, place-making, and design, this event will provide practical tools and connections to strengthen existing programs and launch new ones.
Following on the successes of the Institute’s Food for the Parks and Healthy Parks Healthy People work, Parks: The New Climate Classroom is another way the Institute is helping parks respond to our nation’s most pressing challenges and build for a 21st century future.