Active Living Activities in Northeast Iowa


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Presentation for the WKKF Food & Community Conference, April 2010

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  • Hi! My name is Scot Michelson and I am the Active Living Leader for the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you the work that has been happening with the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative – Active Living.
  • Let me tell you a little bit about our region and our work. The NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative encompasses six rural counties in the northeast corner of Iowa. This area has just under 100,000 people in small communities spread over a rural geographic area almost the size of Connecticut. These six counties are thinly populated, with 26 persons per square mile. We have one town with 8,000 people and only one other town has more than 5,000 people. The majority of our residents are dispersed across the landscapes on farms and acreages. Our region is made up of the working poor. Many are running farming operations in addition to their factory or ‘town’ jobs. Our communities are small and close-knit with schools serving as a primary connector or “hub” for many activities and functions.
  • We focused our discussion around how we could build on our region’s assets to create healthier people, healthier communities and healthier economies. Hundreds of people participated in these discussions and identified our region’s strengths. Three of our region’s greatest strength’s were 1) our Youth, 2) our Schools; and 3) our region’s ability to grow healthy food. Over 1000 people and over 150 organizations created a common vision for Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative ……. that every day all people in NE Iowa have access to healthy, locally grown foods and abundant opportunities for physical activity and play.
  • Here is the map of our 6 county region with the 20 school districts outlined. We have been able to engage 16 of the 20 schools in our region in the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. All 16 of these schools have youth teams. 12 of the 16 schools are pilots; 6 Farm to School and 6 Safe Routes to School. There is 1 Farm to School and 1 Safe Routes to School pilot in each county. The pilots were selected based on the following criteria: Free & Reduced Lunch rate in the District Presence of a Food & Fitness Youth team Readiness for pilot commitment and work Representative of our region; larger schools with multiple buildings & campuses and small one-campus k-12 settings
  • Planning… engaging stakeholders from across the region to collect data and asses the current reality; Walkable/Bikeable Community Mapping Inventory of NE Iowa Built Environment School Use Survey NE Iowa Regional Safe Routes to School Project Community Assessments by Luther College Students
  • Example – Sidewalk Mapping and Inventory assessments
  • New Playground – Summer 2009
  • NE Iowa FFI – Community Action Plan 3 Strategies School Local Food Active Living
  • Bicycle Rodeo in Riceville, IA – May 2009 140 students participated – coordinated by FFI Youth and their coach
  • Mark Fenton Visit to NE Iowa – Oct. 7 & 8, 2009 Tour of region – 5-6 school communities Public presentation SRTS Workshop Concepts in his presentation… Free-range youth: Children allowed to explore/roam the outdoors. The ability of youth to be free-range is important for their social, mental and physical development and well-being.   Creating safer world for free-range youth: The battle is between free-range youth and suburban sprawl, infrastructure, and unsafe built environments. We win the occasional battle, but are losing the war!   The twin epidemics: The obesity epidemic should be called the twin epidemics of physical inactivity and poor nutrition . Eating a good diet and being physical active are independent risk factors of body weight. Independent of body weight these two things will help you live a healthier life. Physical activity (minimum) recommendations: Adults: 150 minutes/week (only 25% of adults achieve this minimum) Kids: 300 minutes/week Combining exercise with good nutrition will help individuals achieve their best genetic outcome for their health.     Overcoming “stickiness”: Goal: environmental changes to create long-term behavior changes. Poor nutrition element is intuitive; provide healthier snacks, change vending machines, etc. Decreasing physical inactivity is more complex; Create a community in which it’s safe and reasonable within certain radii to walk, to bike, to use public transportation, and lastly to use a car.     A checklist for creating stickier communities (questions to ask): 1. Are there a variety of different destinations to live, work, shop and play? Note: good land use planning will make it easier for people to walk/bike for functional trips not just for recreation. 2. Are there networks such as sidewalks and bike lanes that provide good connectivity between points? Are they woven into fabric of the community? 3. Are the destinations safe and inviting? 4. Is it safe for people of all ages and abilities, in other words, is there universal access?   Three P’s for system change: Programs: Incentive programs can stimulate community members to “get active.” Projects: Create infrastructure. Policies: Work to change rules so that that infrastructure is constructed well. Make sure that support involves school administrators, parents and local law enforcement Recommendations for NE Iowa: 1. Adopt a Safe Routes to School program http://www. saferoutesinfo .org 2. Create a regional trail system making sure to address issues regarding connectivity. 3. Create a regional design of “complete streets” http://www. completestreets .org   The purpose of these efforts: Sticker designs create safer communities so that youth can be free-range. This will also help: Combat the twin epidemics Reduce pedestrian traffic-related causalities Create safer streets Improve air-quality Improve downtowns aesthetics Decrease dependency on foreign oil    
  • October 7, 2009 National “Walk to School” Day
  • Shared Bike System – college campus
  • FFI Website – SRTS pilots Information: Overview of National SRTS Workshops Resources Expectations
  • February 2010 Active Living – Safe Routes to School Workshop Active Living – SRTS Workshop Agenda * Kathy Ridnour, Iowa DOT - SRTS Coordinator * Molly Gable Iowa Bicycle Coalition Overview of the 5 E’s workshop for SRTS planning Greg Welk ISUE Active Living Programming VERB Walking School Bus Mileage Club Iowa Walk to School Chris Seeger ISUE Community Mapping/ Web Resources * Asset Mapping * SRTS Route Tools * Web Support Tools * Trail Maps Tim Lane IDPH & Chris Albrecht CTRE Transportation Specialist IDPH Healthy Communities
  • Active Living – SRTS pilot work so far… progress and challenges Workshops – well received by school teams and youth SRTS Coordinator – finding a part time coordinator to help with communication – to be the “glue’ School Readiness and Capacity – challenging… Economic downturn – Staff/faculty & budget reductions Staff & faculty time Non-active School Wellness Committees – FOCUS OF FFI WORK GOING FORWARD Finding community champions – to commit to a team Considering changing name of pilots to “Walkable-Bikeable Communities”
  • Active Living Activities in Northeast Iowa

    1. 1. Investing in the future of Allamakee, Chickasaw Clayton, Fayette, Howard & Winneshiek Counties Scot Michelson Active Living Work Group Co-leader Iowa Department of Natural Resources
    2. 2. NE Iowa’s Food and Fitness Initiative
    3. 5. Planning Phase of FFI – Active Living <ul><li>Assessments of the Built Environment Walkable/Bikable Community Mapping (2008)          Elkader: front page , back page          Fayette: front page , back page          Cresco: front page , back page          Calmar: front page , back page Inventory of NE Iowa Built Environment (2008 ).  See the Active Living Tab.          Tool: Inventory Sheet          Tool: Inventory Sheet Instructions School Use Survery (2008)          Tool: Survey Questions NE IA Regional Safe Routes to School Project Children's Bill of Rights Survey Results (2008) Park Survey in Winneshiek County (2008) Walkability of Trails in Decorah (2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Community Assessments by Luther College Students (2007)         Walkability of Allamakee County         Barrier Mapping in Elkader         Survey of Activity Levels of Children at Recess         Analysis of consumer household survey to study effects of locally grown foods         Relationship of walking and happiness </li></ul><ul><li>Community Assessments by Luther College Students (2008)         An Analysis of the Benefits of a Community Wellness Center         Correlations Between Positive Affect & Fruit/Vegetable Intake on the Luther College Campus         Gender Differences in Response to Preventative Health Care         Self Reported Health Consciousness Levels: Organic vs. Non-Organic Shoppers         Park Survey in Winneshiek County, Iowa         Studying the Health Behaviors of Decorah Students with an Emphasis on Walking and Biking to School         Saving School Lunch: Utilizing Healthier Options to Combat Obesity         Initiative for a Healthy Lifestyle through Food: &quot;Think Global, Eat Local&quot;         Determining Efficacy of Sidewalks and Trails for Employees to Walk to Work         Walkability of Trails in Decorah         Assessment of Winter Recreational Opportunities & Facilities in Decorah, Iowa </li></ul>
    4. 8. <ul><li>Community Action Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy A </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that school district policies & practices support healthy living of children, families and community members. </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy B </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that local, health-promoting food is available and affordable in all communities, neighborhoods and institutions. </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy C </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that communities have a built environment that supports abundant opportunities for physical activity and play. </li></ul>
    5. 9. Tactics and Activities to Achieve Policy & System change… <ul><li>Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Regional built environment learning community </li></ul><ul><li>Regionally increase youth and family participation in physical activity and play every day. </li></ul><ul><li>Regionally advance community planning and policy change for spaces and places for physical activity and play </li></ul><ul><li>Policy and System Change Target: Development/maintenance of infrastructure for walking and bicycling to and from schools in rural communities. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities to support change in target </li></ul><ul><li>Assessments </li></ul><ul><li>Educational Speakers </li></ul><ul><li>Safe Routes to School team in 6 pilot school-communities </li></ul><ul><li>Teams will create plans to promote walking and biking to school in their community. </li></ul>
    6. 10. -- About Us – Data & Assessments
    7. 12. Mark Fenton 2 day Visit to NE Iowa October 2009 “ Changing the fabric of our communities for the next generation”
    8. 15. Safe Routes to School Pilots <ul><li>www. iowafoodandfitness .org/site/ srts .html </li></ul><ul><li>Expectations for a SRTS pilot school: </li></ul><ul><li>Form a school/community SRTS Team </li></ul><ul><li>Attend the SRTS Regional Workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Review SRTS Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Participate in monthly FFI County Planning Team meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Create a plan to promote safe ways for children to walk and or bike to and from their school </li></ul><ul><li>Collect data Spring and Fall (# of children walking /biking to school) </li></ul><ul><li>Submit mini-grant reports by September 1, 2010. </li></ul>
    9. 17. SRTS Pilot work so far… <ul><li>Workshops </li></ul><ul><li>SRTS Coordinator </li></ul><ul><li>School Readiness and Capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Community Champions – City council, local enforcement, etc. </li></ul>
    10. 18. Investing in the future of Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard & Winneshiek Counties