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hphpbayarea (7)

  • By now you’ve probably heard us mention the Crissy Field Park Prescription Day event that we are so excited for on Sunday, April 23, 2017. But did you know that the Crissy Field celebration is just one of 14 events taking place across the Bay Area? Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area member organizations are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the second annual Park Prescription Day the only way they know how – by having free, fun, and family-friendly activities in parks and open spaces!

    There are events in several different counties and all of them offer guided programs that encourage being healthy outdoors, such as hiking, nature walks, yoga, and more! Here’s a list of all the fun and FREE activities happening in the Bay Area on Sunday, April 23:

    • Marin Health and Wellness Center, Marin City Community Services District, and Marin County Parks are hosting a celebration at George “Rocky” Graham Park in Marin City. Participants will enjoy an afternoon filled with live music, food, and fun exercises.
    • California State Parks will be leading two guided hikes on Mount Tamalpais State Park, where participants will explore how nature, science, and mindfulness intersect with one another.
    • Contra Costa Health Services, the City of Richmond, the National Park Service, and Walk & Roll to School are hosting a celebration at John F. Kennedy Park in Richmond. At this event participants will enjoy a free lunch, free health screenings, and fun activities that will show them how their local park can benefit their physical, mental, and emotional health.
    • East Bay Regional Park District will be holding guided wellness walks in each of their seven interpretive sectors in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
    • Santa Clara County Parks will be allowing free vehicle entry and parking to all 29 Santa Clara County Parks on April 23rd to celebrate their new ParksRx program.
    • Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is leading a leisurely-paced hike along the Ipiwa and Sunny Jim Trails while the docents share California native people’s management and use of indigenous plants and animals. They’re also leading a leisurely walk along Waterwheel Creek Trail where you’ll learn about how John Muir experienced the world and why he continues to be an inspiration and influence to nature lovers.
    • The Institute at the Golden Gate and San Francisco health, park, and community partners are hosting an event on Crissy Field in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This event will have fun activities for everyone, such as tai chi, Zumba, and guided walks. Attendees will also be able to receive free health screenings. RSVP to the San Francisco event on Facebook!

    For more information about the Bay Area events, visit hphpbayarea.org. See you in the parks on Sunday, April 23!

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  • Our Health program’s newest report is now complete!

    Introducing the Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area, A Roadmap and Case Study for Regional Collaboration.

    Since its creation in 2012 we have seen many successes with the HPHP: Bay Area collaborative, and wanted to capture our challenges, successes, and lessons learned to not only share with those who work at the intersection of parks and health, but also with those interested in creating their own regional cross-sector collaboratives.

    As a collaborative, HPHP: Bay Area seeks to be a space for park and health agencies to share best practices, workshop programmatic challenges, and accomplishes this through the initiatives of First Saturday programs and Park Prescription programs.

    We decided to frame this report as a roadmap and case study for regional collaboration because the story, successes, and challenges of HPHP: Bay Area provide a unique case study and potential roadmap for other collaboratives across the county who are looking to connect health and parks within their agencies and communities.

    We also wanted to frame this report within the context of a roadmap because the evolution and growth of the HPHP: Bay Area collaborative has been –and continues to be— a wonderful journey of innovation, exploration, partnership, and iteration.

    This report pulls from 30 interviews of collaborative members and comprehensively describes the history of the HPHP: Bay Area collaborative. The roadmap is broken down into six steps, allowing readers the ability to take a deep dive into how to create a vibrant cross-sector collaborative such as Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area. The steps are as follows:

    1. Identify and convene stakeholders
    2. Develop a purpose
    3. Create a collaborative structure
    4. Pilot an idea
    5. Provide consistent and appropriate park programs
    6. Develop tailored Park Prescription programs

    This report also provides successful program models of current Bay Area Park Prescription programs.

    For those who would like to download the report, it is available at hphpbayarea.org/resources and instituteatgoldengate.org

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  • Photo courtesy of San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks

    Last Saturday was National Trails Day and thousands of sites across the United States celebrated the holiday by hiking, maintaining, and enjoying the wonder that trails bring.

    Last Saturday was also a holiday for Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area; it was the third anniversary of the First Saturdays program. All around the Bay Area, park agencies have been hosting First Saturdays programs for community members since 2013.

    Since the programs started in June 2013, the First Saturdays programs has helped thousands of residents explore and enjoy the outdoors through free, introductory, and welcoming activities led by trained parks staff or docents.

    Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area Collaborative member agencies have been hosting these First Saturday programs to help people take care of their health by incorporating active recreation and nature interpretation into their lives. These member agencies and especially the program leaders want to improve the health and wellbeing of all Bay Area residents, especially those with high health needs, through regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands.

    As First Saturdays matures and grows as a regional effort, let’s celebrate the role that the program leaders have in introducing our communities to trails. Sometimes, the trails begin in a park, sometimes a recreation center, or sometimes, they start in the middle of an urban environment. In every instance, though, the trail that the First Saturdays program leaders takes us on is a pathway to better health.

    Find a First Saturday program near you by visiting hphpbayarea.org

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  • HPHP Website Dreams Do Come True

    Written in collaboration with Lori Bruton

    If you are a long-time fan of Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area, you’re in luck! The HPHP: Bay Area Collaborative has been working hard over the past year to create our own website!

    For a group of practitioners dedicated to the integration of health and nature into real-life programs, this foray into web programming, site design, and beta-testing was—undoubtedly—a feat that was only achieved through team work. Like much of what Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area and the Institute at the Golden Gate do, this website only became reality when different groups came together to collectively solve a problem. Sometimes, the problem is making parks accessible to high health needs populations. Sometimes, the problem is a limited-functionality website that we had outgrown.

    We built this website the same way we built our collaborative, through many people bringing their expertise to the table, constant partnership, and a desire to improve the health of all Bay Area residents.

    One of the main reasons we created this website is to make it as easy as possible for new and existing park users to be able to find a HPHP: Bay Area program near them. HPHP: Bay Area aims to improve the health and well-being of all Bay Area residents, especially those with high health needs, through the regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands, and in order to do so one must be able to first find a park and see what introductory programs are being offered there. You can learn about the HPHP: Bay Area programs being offered on the homepage of the website, and also on the programs page. You can sort by date, distance from your house, activity, program leader, and do so much more.

    First and foremost, the Institute at the Golden Gate is honored that the HPHP: Bay Area Collaborative had trusted us to manage the process of website creation. Additionally, we would like to thank everyone who has contributed their ideas, content, photos, videos, and website development skills to this website. Red Wolf Technology has been a creative, technical, and patient consultant in helping us develop this website from idea to tangible product. The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Web Team has been a guiding light and strong support system for helping us novice website creators at the Institute put our big ideas and dreams into an organized and realistic component list. And of course, the HPHP: Bay Area Collaborative partners have been our cheerleaders, content-creators, beta-testers, and program leaders from the very beginning. Without their hard work to put on these programs to welcome diverse groups into parks, none of this would be a reality. Lastly, the website would not exist without the new and current park users that attend these HPHP: Bay Area programs and believe in the health benefits of parks and nature.  

    We hope you enjoy the new website as much as we do! Please feel free to contact us if you have any feedback about the website.

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  • Stroll Call: Surgeon General Issues Our Walking Orders

    On September 9, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, launched a nationwide Call to Action on Walking. As chronic disease, depression, and obesity rates in the country soar, “America’s Doctor” is extolling the health benefits of walking. 

    The “Step It Up!” campaign challenges the nation to make walking a national priority in all facets of American life. Dr. Murthy’s Call to Action seeks to promote development of communities where it is safe and easy to walk, launch walking programs, and conduct research on walking. 

    As lovers of parks and open space, we at the Institute at the Golden Gate (a Parks Conservancy program in partnership with the National Park Service) are doing our part to answer the Surgeon General’s call. In fact, our belief in the health benefits of parks is so great that we’re taking many approaches to promote parks as places to walk and recreate.

    • Individually, we use park trails and paths to experience first-hand the physical, mental, and social benefits of walking.
    • Locally, we have dozens of programs (such as Healthy Parks Healthy People, the Crissy Field Center, LINC) that bring communities into the park to walk and enjoy the parks.
    • Regionally, we work with thousands of park stewards to maintain safe and accessible walking paths in parks.
    • Nationally, we convene the top researchers, practitioners, and advocates of the parks/health nexus to develop policies that amplify the role of parks in healthy, walkable communities. We’re excited about our growing role in fulfilling the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking—and we invite you to join us.

    Take the first step, and reconnect with the physical, mental, and social benefits of visiting a park. Attend a Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area program this Saturday, October 3rd. There are over 10 family-friendly, easy, and fun walks all over the Bay Area to get you started.

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  • (co-written by Kristin Wheeler, Associate Director) 

    Parks need health partners and public health needs parks. That was the ever-emergent theme of this year’s National Recreation and Park Association Congress. At this congress—one of the biggest parks and recreation conferences in North America—the Surgeon General announced his call to action on walking and specifically highlighted the importance of how parks and recreation create healthy, active communities. At the Institute, we know that the intersection of human health and parks is prominent, but hearing our colleagues at the national level discuss their involvement with this intersection was educational and rewarding.

    What we learned

    • Health systems are taking a closer look at parks—The Surgeon General’s opening remarks hammered home the value of parks to health. His approach was significant because he talked about parks not just as part of the built environment, which has a big influence on public health, but he specifically talked about the inherent properties of a park, as opposed to other parts of the built environment. The fact that usually the only way to get to a park is to walk or roll (from your house or your parked car) is significant and can influence the policies and environments around the park as well.

    • Parks want to learn more—The Institute’s two sessions, in which we discussed our regional and national work regarding Park Prescriptions, were well attended and netted fruitful discussion on ways that other agencies can incorporate health into their current missions. All of the agency representatives we spoke with were eager to engage in active stewardship of community health, but wanted more tools to help them navigate the often complicated world of health systems. While we may not have all of the answers, our collective resolve to bridge the two systems of parks and public health are moving us in the right direction. 

    • Agencies are already trying things out—If there is one thing that conferences are great for, it’s chatting with like-minded folks. We met many different agencies that are already trying out different programs in their own jurisdictions to contribute to the health of their communities. It was inspiring to hear of the successes that these different agencies have had and how they have troubleshooted some of the questions that we've racked our brains around. Check out the Miami-Dade Park Prescriptions program or the New Orleans Veggie Prescription program.

     

    There are infinite ways in which parks can and do contribute to community health. Being able to share promising practices openly and willingly benefits the entire movement of making sure that parks and open space are seen as active and vocal advocates for the wellbeing of their communities. 

    With that, I hope to see you in the parks. The Surgeon General insists. 

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  • Park, health, and community organizations from all nine Bay Area counties—including the Institute at the Golden Gate—launched a coordinated effort called Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Bay Area in June to provide approachable, culturally relevant park programming for communities with high health needs. The programs, which involved over two dozen diverse organizations, kicked off on June 1 and will continue the first Saturday of every month.

    The programs brought over 100 people out to parks across the region, many for the first time. Families, seniors, and community groups participated in activities ranging from a stroll around the Crissy Field tidal marsh to a healthy hike in Santa Clara County to an interpretive walk at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in the East Bay. Participating agencies had staff on hand to introduce visitors to the features of the park and talk with people about the many physical and mental health benefits of spending time outdoors.

    With mounting evidence that people of all ages are more physically active when outside and often experience lowered stress levels in that environment, parks and health care providers are working together to make it easier to spend time outdoors. Together, we are helping to create a healthier Bay Area population through the regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands right here in our own backyards.

    This regional collaborative is part of the international Healthy Parks, Healthy People movement that takes a holistic approach to promote the health and well-being of people and the sustainability of the planet.

    To learn more about Healthy Parks, Healthy People or to join an activity near you visit hphpbayarea.org. See you in the parks!


    This article was featured in the July 2013 Park E-ventures.

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