Park Prescription programs are designed to improve the physical and mental health of both individuals and the communities that they are part of. This is accomplished through creating programs that are designed collaboratively among park professionals, health care providers, public health professionals, and community based organizations.
At the 2016 Health Outdoors! Parks and Public Health Forum, two questions commonly raised by participants were: How do I build a Park Prescription program? What sectors should I partner with in order to get my programs started?
In response to these questions the Institute’s Health program did two things: 1) create collaboratives in various counties throughout the Bay Area to help facilitate the creation of Park Prescription programs within them, and 2) create a comprehensive toolkit that efficiently and effectively models each step needed to create a Park Prescription program.
What is unique and wonderful about this toolkit is that it allows the user to not only see the steps that are needed within their own sector, but also allows them to see the steps that other sectors have to follow as well.
How to use this toolkit:
To get started, select the portal for the sector that you represent (clinical, public health, community, or parks) or would like to view.
This will then open a series of steps in green, below is an example using the portal for park professionals.
Select the step that you are interested in learning more about by clicking on each green box. Once selected, the box that you have chosen will expand to provide training videos and technical assistance tools that support your progress in this step. Below is an example of what Parks Step 1: Determine your population looks like when selected.
As with most toolkits, the implementation of this toolkit works best when supported and championed by all of the agencies and sectors involved. If you have any questions or feedback about the toolkit, email email@example.com.
Our Health program’s newest report is now complete!
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:
This report also provides successful program models of current Bay Area Park Prescription programs.
On September 21, 2016 the Institute’s health program convened 200 Bay Area parks, public health, non-profit, and academic professionals at the Health Outdoors! Parks and Public Health Forum.
As an event, Health Outdoors! sought to bring together those who work at the intersection of health and nature, and provide them with a space to learn from one another, share best practices, and build partnerships.
Through attending this forum, participants gained a solid understanding of:
This event took place at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, and was put together in collaboration with the Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area Collaborative, Bay Area Moves! and made possible by Kaiser Permanente.
In the morning attendees had the opportunity to listen to dynamic and engaging plenary speakers Dr. Nooshin Razani and Dr. Nina Roberts, who both made the case about why it is important to be physically active outdoors in nature, and why it is essential for communities to have both equal and equitable access green space. In addition to listening to speakers who are the leaders in the fields, one of the morning highlights was the physical activity break where attendees learned the dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The morning session ended with a panel of park and health agencies who have been successful in creating park prescription programs in the Bay Area.
During lunch not only did everyone at the forum have the opportunity to network with one another, but attendees also had the opportunity to experience the many health benefits of nature firsthand through a ranger-led tour of Fort Mason and yoga on the Great Meadow.
In the afternoon attendees attended two sessions of workshops that provided them with strategies and best practices around how to leverage health and park partnerships to create equitable built environments, ways to incorporate physical activity into current programs, creating park prescription programs, and creating programs that attract diverse communities.
Overall, the Health Outdoors! Parks and Public Health Forum was a great success. To be there as both a volunteer and an attendee was truly a rewarding and amazing experience. The excitement and energy around the opportunity to learn and collaborate from one another was palpable and felt by both those presenting and those attending various workshops.
The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, is a day that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and when the thirteen colonies declared themselves independent from England. For many Americans, this holiday is celebrated with friends, picnics, parades, cookouts, fireworks, and parties where everything from desserts to cutlery follow the patriotic theme of red, white, and blue. Here are a few ways five national parks celebrated Independence Day this year.
1. Boston National Historical Park
At Boston National Historical Park, visitors were not only able attend a sixty minute walking tour to learn about the events that lead to the Boston Tea Party, but were also able to tour Boston’s North End neighborhood— Paul Revere’s old neighborhood—and learn about the patriots and loyalists who lived there in 1774.
2. Saratoga National Historical Park
At Saratoga National Historical Park in upstate New York, visitors attended the naturalization ceremony of twenty immigrants, participated in thirteen lemonade toasts to commemorate the coming together of the thirteen colonies, and viewed traditional musket and canon demonstrations.
3. Minute Man National Historical Park
At Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts, visitors were able to visit Lexington and Concord and see where the first shots of the revolution were fired.
Historical Reenactment at Minute Man National Historical Park, image courtesy of The National Park Service
4. Virgin Islands National Park
Located on the Island of St. John, this year Virgin Islands National Park celebrated by holding cultural demonstrations where visitors learned about the colonial sugar era on the island, and the farming techniques used during that time.
5. Independence National Historical Park
Unsurprisingly, at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia there were many programs to celebrate the holiday. Visitors had the option of taking tours that examined the paths colonists took from being subjects of the British Empire to becoming citizens of the U.S., taking tours that told the story behind the Declaration of Independence, the life of Thomas Jefferson, and the places where he worked on the Declaration of Independence. Independence National Historical Park also offered interactive programming where children learned about what it would have been like to serve in the continental army or navy during the American Revolution.
On February 12, 2016 President Obama designated three new desert monuments in California—Castle Mountains National Monument, Sand to Snow Monument, and the Mojave Trails Monument. There has been a long history of presidents contributing to the expansion and improvement of the national park system. In honor of President’s Day, here is a list of ten things past presidents have done for the National Parks.
1) Abraham Lincoln
In 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed a bill that established Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as a public trust. This bill laid the groundwork that allowed Yosemite Valley to become a national park in 1872.
2) Ulysses S. Grant
President from 1869-1877, Grant created America’s first national park –Yellowstone National Park—in 1872. This is in addition to being the first president in United States history to set aside land with the sole purpose of protecting wildlife.
3) Benjamin Harrison
President Harrison designated land in Alaska as a refuge that would eventually become Katamai National Park and Preserve. He was also responsible for creating the Casa Grande reserve in Arizona, which is the first prehistoric and cultural site to be established in the United States.
4) Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt is often regarded as the conservation president. President Roosevelt saw conservation as a tool to keep America’s natural resources and beauty safe for public enjoyment and not leveraged as manufacturing resources for entrepreneurs. During his two terms, Roosevelt set aside over 230 million acres of land, created over 50 bird sanctuaries, and signed the Antiquities Act—which gives the president the authority to protect natural and cultural resources. Roosevelt used this act to not only create 18 national monuments, but also to designate five national parks. Since the signing of this act into law, 15 other presidents have since used it as grounds for designating national monuments.
5) Woodrow Wilson
Most remembered for his work with United States foreign policy, in 1916 President Wilson presided over the creation of the National Park Service. The national parks created under Wilson’s presidency include Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Parks.
6) Franklin D. Roosevelt
During the New Deal, Roosevelt used the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to employ 250,000 young men and use them to work in federal and state parks and forests. Men from the CCC helped develop the Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, and many other projects. From 1933 to 1942 these men built roads, bridges, forests, cabin camps, and park structures throughout the county. The Civilian Conservation Corps to date was the largest park improvement program to have taken place in the US.
7) Lyndon B. Johnson
President Lyndon B. Johnson was very active in the conservation movement because it was a passion of his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. In 1964, Mrs. Johnson formed the Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, where she directed that flowers be planted –especially tulips— within the parks of Washington D.C. Overtime her beautification movement became nationwide, as she visited national parks and historic sites with the intent of promoting conservation and historic preservation. During his administration, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, the Wild Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, and established many new national parks.
8) Gerald Ford
In his youth President Ford was a park ranger at Yellowstone National Park during the summer of 1936. He later returned to the park as president on August 29, 1976 with the hope of generating new public interest in the national parks.
9) George H.W. Bush
President George H.W. Bush and his wife, First Lady Laura Bush, were frequent visitors of national parks. During his presidency George H.W. Bush and his wife visited Yellowstone, Grand Teton, the Everglades, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the USS Arizona National Memorial at Pearl Harbor, and the Martin Luther king Jr. National Historic Site. This is in addition to visiting the Lincoln Memorial, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.
10) Bill Clinton
In 1994, President Clinton established Joshua Tree National Park under the California Desert Protection Act. This act created the largest protected area of wild land in the lower 48 states, adding 234,000 acres to the park.
John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt at Glacier Point in 1903. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Scott, Gary. "The Presidents and the National Parks." WHHA. The White House Historical Association, Fall 2010. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.
Howard, Brian Clark. "The Presidents Who Gave Us Our Best Parks." National Geographic.National Geographic Society, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.