Largest Urban Natural Area in Texas Gets Natural Playscape and Discovery Trail



Texas State Parks are opening new natural play areas for children and people with disabilities to play and connect with nature. Latino kids in Texas (39.1% Latino), and across the country, lack safe outdoor places to play and be active, which is known as a nature deficit disorder. Families struggle to find green space that is both fun and appropriate for all age ranges. Particularly Latino families, which are often multigenerational. Childhood development leaders, architects, educators and urban planners worked together to design plans for natural playscapes in various outdoor spaces, like state parks, local parks, zoos, and botanical gardens to better engage kids and families with nature. Natural playscapes are designed to be built using natural materials and include boulders, ...

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Outdoor Recreation is Essential to the American Economy


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Americans spend more on bicycling gear and trips ($81 billion) than they do on airplane tickets and fees ($51 billion), and nearly as much on snow sports ($53 billion) as on internet access ($54 billion), according to a 2012 report by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). OIA predicts that Americans spend $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation, which supports 6.1 million direct jobs and $80 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue. Outdoor recreation includes gear, such as apparel, footwear, tents, and bikes; vehicles, such as boats, RVs, and motorcycles; and trips and travel. In many communities, it's outdoor recreation that provides steady employment. "Advancements in technical apparel, footwear and equipment are driving innovation and entrepreneurism, while ...

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Three Amazing Ways to Save the Summer for Kids!


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Summertime means fun time for kids. Well...it's supposed to. For Latino kids, it can also lessen already minimal opportunities to get healthy food or access safe places to play, according to Salud America! research. That's why we are spotlighting three heroes who are saving summer for Latino families! Melissa & Mary Rescuing Fruit for San Antonio Families Many families in San Antonio (63% Latino) live in food deserts. Ironically, there are lots of fruit trees in people's yards—but fruit often falls and rots. UTSA grad students Melissa Federspill and Mary Minor saw this waste. They wanted to harvest fruit trees to share with families. So they mapped local fruit trees online. They met with neighbors. They recruited volunteers to pick trees. And they contacted ...

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NRPA/Disney Play Spaces Grant Application


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Thanks to a grant from Disney, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is expanding the Meet Me at the Park program and providing additional communities with increased access to play spaces in local parks.  Meet Me at the Park brings the magic of parks and recreation to children and families across the United States. Applicants must: Be a local or state government park and recreation agency, (e.g., municipal park and recreation department, tribal recreation department, park district, etc.) Provide opportunities for community engagement and volunteerism in association with the project. Promote the project locally through its own communication channels and on social media. Administer surveys and collect data from at least 25 people at the project site once ...

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Community Heroes Create Bigger, Better Ways for Families to Play


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Kids need places to play to be healthy. Physical activity is proven to help control weight, reduce risk of disease, strengthen muscles, and improve mental health. But Latino families are more likely than white families to live in neighborhoods with no recreational facilities, or unsafe ones. This is according to recent research cited by Salud America!, a national Latino childhood obesity prevention network at UT Health San Antonio and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That’s why we at SaludToday are spotlighting heroes who are creating play opportunities for Latino families! Irma Rivera: First Park in the 92701 Irma Rivera saw a child nearly hit by a car while playing in an empty parking lot in park-poor Santa Ana, Calif (78% Latino). She vowed to do fix ...

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NY Governor Pledges $1.4 Billion to “Fight Poor Health & Poverty”



On Thursday, March 9, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to address “persistent problems of poverty, violence, and poor health” in the borough of Brooklyn (28.92% Latino population). The eight-pronged plan hopes to incorporate holistic approaches to address these concerning issues. The initiative, entitled Vital Brooklyn, looked to poor resources several economically struggling neighborhoods in Brooklyn. While much of Brooklyn has prospered in recent years, crime and unemployment are still rampant in certain areas. “For too long investment in underserved communities has lacked the strategy necessary to end systemic social and economic disparity,” Cuomo said in an interview with The New York Times. “But in Central Brooklyn those failed approaches stop today. We ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 3/7: How to Get Diverse Partners to Buy into Physical Activity


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What does "active living" really mean? It means infusing physical activity into your daily life. We shouldn't have to depart from our normal routines to get the mental and physical benefits of moving more and sitting less, which are proven to improve your health and reduce your disease risk. But not all neighborhoods have safe sidewalks or parks, and not all schools and employers provide time or space to be active. This causes certain disparities in adverse health outcomes for certain populations. Let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, to tweet on how diverse partners can unite to make daily physical activity a reality where Latinos and all people live, learn, work, and play: WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “How to get Diverse Partners to Buy Into Physical ...

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Experimental Lab Leads to Underground Park in Abandoned Trolley Terminal


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An underground lab experiment in New York City (28.6% Latino) just successfully tested if solar panel skylights could sustain plant life to determine if an underground park could thrive. This lab experiment is the result of five years of discussions about transforming the Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, which stopped servicing passengers in 1948, into an underground park with a cultural center and area for concerts. The terminal has been out of operation longer that it was in operation. In 2011, two urbanist entrepreneurs proposed the idea for the Delancy Underground, which is now known as the Lowline. Reclaiming public space is at the heart of growing healthy communities and economics around the world, particularly when space has gone unused for decades. The ...

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Connecticut Transforms Former Mall into a Green Space



Malls are often partially blamed for the decay of walkable downtowns and linked with greater vehicle dependence, thus depriving cities of sustainable economic growth and safe places for kids and families to walk. A failed mall in Meriden, Connecticut (28.7% Latino) was transformed into the type of public space that boosts mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as the economy. A mall was built in a small town between Hartford and New Haven in 1970. Due to inadequate flood control-underground pipes blocked three brooks-during construction of the mall, flooding was an issue. In 1992 and 1996, flooding caused $26 million in damages to the downtown area. The City began the Harbor Brook Flood Control project which continues today. The vacancy rate of retailers the mall ...

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Parks Workers Create ‘Health’ Scavenger Hunt in San Antonio



City parks worker Michael Baldwin saw rampant physical inactivity and disease in San Antonio, Texas (68% Latino). To help, he wanted to attract people to existing health programs and services in city parks. Baldwin and his team, through local collaborations, developed Fit Pass, a city-wide scavenger hunt for wellness and physical activities. People can download a phone app or a bilingual Fit Pass passport that can be stamped for attending some of 2,300 activities across San Antonio parks, incentivizing Latino families to get physically active and play in parks. Physical Inactivity in San Antonio Michael Baldwin, special projects manager with the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department (Parks Department) in San Antonio, Texas, has helped develop and implement ...

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