Monday, August 31, 2009

Biketown - Win a Free Bike!


BikeTown 2009
It's true. Bikes can change lives . . .and communities and families, too. Don't miss your chance to be a part of Bicycling's BikeTown USA 2009 presented by MetLife. This year, hundreds of people will experience the life-changing gift of a bike.
Submit and essay and tell us how a new bike will change your world:
Your bike is going to be good to you so learn these basic maintenance how-tos and return the favor. Riding your bike to work gives you a sound mind, sound body, saves the environment and impresses the heck out of your co-workers. Learn the basics here to get you started. So you’ve gotten comfortable on your bike? Improve your bike handling abilities with these basic skills Learn gear lingo, gear must-haves and find reviews for the gear you didn’t even know you wanted. Getting out there can be the hardest part. Here are some tips, tricks and personal stories to help keep you pedaling. Choosing a bike is never easy. Road, mountain, hybrid—which one's for you? Learn the answer in our guide to bike buying. Chat, encourage and find support in our forum.

Griffin Park/Rev. Roy Moss Sr. Garden - THANK YOU Agnes Scott Students!

Griffin Park/Rev. Roy Moss Sr. Garden is a city park located on South McDonough St. between Garland Ave. and Griffin Circle. It is across the street from the College Heights Early Childhood Leaning Center. On Saturday, August 29th, between 25-30 Agnes Scott students volunteered for a clean-up day at the park. They worked very hard in humid weather to clear out ivy, privet and brush. The front section of the park looks much better! Thanks so much to these hard working students for their effort!!!








Friday, August 28, 2009

Decatur Hosts GDOT's 1st Ever SRTS National Training Course



Decatur Emergency Management Director Tony Parker
Biking is big at Glennwood Academy!
City Commissioner Fred Boykin
City Commissioner Fred Boykin
Workshop Participants, including David Crites of the Georgia SRTS Network in the baseball cap
Decatur SRTS Parent Volunteer Beth Thompson
Glennwood Academy Principal Dr. Gloria Lee and GDOT SRTS Resource Center's Sarah Knight
Asst. City Manager Lyn Menne

This past Tuesday, the City of Decatur hosted the first ever Georgia Department of Transportation-sponsored Safe Routes to School National Training Course. The training took place at city hall and Glennwood Academy. Twenty three individuals attended the course and various backgrounds were represented including community leaders, health professionals, engineers, bike advocates and Decatur Active Living staff. City Commissioner Fred Boykin shared how the program was first implemented and now currently administrated by Active Living staff.

The course provided participants with the knowledge and skills to develop sound SRTS programs based on community needs and conditions, best practices, and responsible resources.


Dr. Gloria Lee, principal at Glennwood Academy, shared with the group the success and impact of SRTS at Glennwood. Bikes cover the rail at Glennwood Academy every day. The group walked from city hall to Glennwood to observe dismissal from school and offered a number of suggestions. Decatur's SRTS was recognized for its vision and commitment to enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors.


Special thanks to Sarah Knight of the GDOT SRTS Resource Center, Elaine Armster and Byron Rushing of GDOT (Byron's a Decatur resident!), and city staff Tony Parker, Catherine Lee and Bertha Hunt for assisting with logistics. Tony Parker, the city’s Director of Public Safety, had the opportunity to discuss how traffic enforcement impacts SRTS with the group and also answered questions. SRTS matters in Decatur!


- Greg White

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NEW - Lacrosse Programs this Fall!


Decatur Active Living will be offering NEW Lacrosse Programs this Fall!

Registration is going on now, Don't miss out!

Li'l Lax

4-6 yrs * Registration #232071-03 and 04
This four-week introductory course is designed to develop basic lacrosse skills for future lacrosse players ages 4-6. Players learn basic skills such as scooping, cradling and passing and gain an understanding of the game. No equipment is required. Lacrosse sticks are provided and players may keep them upon completing the clinic. Class sessions are Mon/Wed or Tues/Thurs. Fees are $50 for Decatur residents and $65 for non-residents. Classes will be held on Ebster Field.

Lacrosse Clinic

7-10 yrs * Registration #232071-02
Keep your lacrosse skills on point with our Lacrosse Clinic for boys. The clinic introduces first-year league lacrosse players to the game and improves the skills of those who've played before. Instructors are Decatur Active Living lacrosse coaches, Decatur High School Varsity players and Georgia High School lacrosse officials. The four-week clinic will be held on Sundays, beginning Sept. 27, and will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 25, with a one day Jamboree against other lacrosse programs. Fees are $100 for Decatur residents and $130 for non-residents. Clinic will be held at the Jones Boys and Girls Club.

Lacrosse Stick Workshop - String 'Em Up

Are the strings on your lacrosse head coming apart? Are they worn out? Does your lacrosse head look a mess? Then you don't want to miss our workshop on how to restring lacrosse heads, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2 p.m., at Decatur Rec. Registration will include a stringing kit. The fee for the workshop is $30.

Pre-registration for Girls' Lacrosse is Nov. 7th-28th. There will be a uniform fitting on Thursday, Dec. 10th, 5:30 p.m., at the Decatur Recreation Center, 231 Sycamore St.

For more information, please contact Stacy Green, 678-553-6549, or Lindsey Struck, 678-553-6550.

Woodlands Garden - Learn how to volunteer at Woodlands


Woodlands Garden was awarded a grant to plant a new shade garden from the Georgia Master Gardener Association, Inc. (GMGA). The new plantings are in the area surrounding the well installed at Woodlands last year. Quill Duncan and Gail Douglas, Woodlands volunteers and Master Gardeners, applied for the grant.

GMGA, a statewide organization of Master Gardeners, has the stated mission - to stimulate the interest in and increase the knowledge of gardening, and to share this knowledge with others voluntarily, enthusiastically and responsibly.

Woodlands Midweek Gardeners, who volunteer year-round, will provide ongoing maintenance. To learn how to volunteer at Woodlands, email Ruby Bock, manager of Woodlands Garden. Midweek gardeners meet every other Wednesday, 8 - 11 a.m. (summers) and 9 - 11 a.m. (other seasons). You do not have to be a Master Gardener to participate.

Woodlands Garden is a project of the Decatur Preservation Alliance. For more information, contact Susan Cobleigh, DPA Executive Director at 404-371-4444 or susan@decaturpreservationalliance.org.

Save the Date!

Walter Reeves returns to Woodlands Garden Sunday, September 20 - 5 to 8 p.m. (rain or shine.) Tickets $45 per person ($30 is tax-deductible and benefits Woodlands)

Decatur Preservation Alliance
P.O. Box 1764
Decatur, GA 30031
www.decaturpreservationalliance.org

Decatur Library to Offer Free Seminars on Green Remodeling


Decatur Library to Offer Free Seminars on Green Remodeling

This fall, the Decatur Library will host a free seminar series focused on green remodeling. Topics discussed will be: The Homeowner's Guide to Green Remodeling, Show Me the Money: Why Green makes Sense for Your Wallet, and Creating a Healthy Home.

The library is even featuring local green experts as speakers. Peter Michelson, CEO of Decatur's Renewal Design-Build, and Joe Thomas, certified Home Performance Consultant for Renewal System Solutions.

The date and description of each seminar are as follows:

Tuesday, September 8, 7:00PM: The Homeowner's Guide to Green Remodeling

Saturday, October 17, 10:00AM: Show Me the Money: Why Green Makes Sense for Your Wallet

Saturday, November 14, 10:00AM: Creating a Healthy Home

Renewal Design-Build, 124 S. Columbia Dr. in Decatur, an EarthCraft Renovator of the Year, provides complete solutions for renovations, additions, kitchens, baths, porches, decks, small projects and repairs.

For more information, call 404-378-6962 or visit the Decatur Library's
website.

City Pools - Only 2 Weekends Left!



Only two more weekends left for this pool season at the three city pools:

McKoy Pool
10 am to 6 pm
Friday, Aug. 28th
Saturday, Aug. 29th
Sunday, Aug. 30th

Friday, Sept. 4th
Saturday, Sept. 5th
Sunday, Sept. 6th
Monday, Sept. 7th

Ebster Pool
10 am to 6 pm
Saturday, Aug. 29th
Sunday, Aug. 30th

Saturday, Sept. 5th
Sunday, Sept. 6th
Monday, Sept. 7th
Glenlake Pool
10 am to 6 pm
Saturday, Aug. 29th
Sunday, Aug. 30th

Saturday, Sept. 5th
Sunday, Sept. 6th
Monday, Sept. 7th
For information on Decatur city pools, please call the Glenlake Tennis Center at 404-377-7231 or e-mail Peggy Brodsky at Peggy.Brodsky@decaturga.com.

Interesting - America's Oldest Parks

http://www.tpl.org/content_documents/citypark_facts/ccpe_oldest_parks_2009.pdf

The Oldest City Parks

These are the 80 oldest U.S. city parks ranked chronologically. In the case of parks which were enlarged later, the date refers to the year of initial creation or acquisition. In the case of parks whose names have changed, the modern name is given. Of course, before the European invasion, there were hundreds of even older plazas, sports fields, ceremonial grounds and food preparation commons in such Native American communities as Cahokia, Cheektowaga, Tathlapotle and Taos Pueblo, but the pre-historical record does not yield dates of their establishment.

Year Established

1 Plaza de la ConstituciĆ³n St. Augustine, Fla. 1573

2 Boston Common Boston, Mass. 1634

3 New Haven Green New Haven, Conn. 1641

4 Washington/Marion Squares Charleston, S.C. 1680

5 Rittenhouse/Washington/Logan/Franklin Squares Philadelphia, Pa. 1682

6 Salem Common Salem, Mass. 1685

7 Battery Park New York, N.Y. 1686

8 Military/Washington Parks Newark, N.J. 1697

9 Jackson Square New Orleans, La. 1718

10 San Pedro Springs Park San Antonio, Tex. 1729

11 Bowling Green New York, N.Y. 1733

11 Johnson Square Savannah, Ga. 1733

13 Old Town Plaza Albuquerque, N.M. 1760

14 El Pueblo Los Angeles, Calif. 1781

15 National Mall Washington, D.C. 1790

16 Settlers Landing Cleveland, Ohio 1796

17 Duane Street Park New York, N.Y. 1797

18 Village Green Park Worthington, Ohio 1803

19 Lafayette Square Washington, D.C. 1804

20 Gravois/Laclede/Mt. Pleasant Parks St. Louis, Mo. 1812

21 Jackson Place Park St. Louis, Mo. 1816

22 Auction Park Memphis, Tenn. 1819

23 Santa Fe Plaza Santa Fe, N.M. 1821

24 Washington Square New York, N.Y. 1823

25 Patterson Park Baltimore, Md. 1827

26 Union Square New York, N.Y. 1832

27 Tompkins Square Park New York, N.Y. 1833

28 Cathedral Square Park Milwaukee, Wis. 1835

28 Van Vorst Park Jersey City, N.J. 1835

30 Port Richmond Park Staten Island, N.Y. 1836

31 Grant Park Chicago, Ill. 1837

32 Lafayette Park St. Louis, Mo. 1838

33 Daniel Carter Beard Memorial Square Queens, N.Y. 1841

34 Chapman Park Portland, Ore. 1843

35 Wyanda Park Queens, N.Y. 1844

36 Thomas Square Honolulu, Hawaii 1845

37 Madison Square Park/Reservoir Square (Bryant Park) New York, N.Y. 1847

37 Portsmouth Square San Francisco, Calif. 1847

37 Washington Park (Fort Greene Park) Brooklyn, N.Y. 1847

40 Rice Park St. Paul, Minn. 1849

40 Sutter Land Grants Park Sacramento, Calif. 1849

42 Grand Circus Park Detroit, Mich. 1850

42 Oakland Cemetery Atlanta, Ga. 1850

42 Pantoja Park San Diego, Calif. 1850

42 Union/Washington Squares San Francisco, Calif. 1850

46 Goodale Park Columbus, Ohio 1851

46 Monroe Park Richmond, Va. 1851

48 Union Park Chicago, Ill. 1853

49 Artesian Park Corpus Christi, Tex. 1854

49 Bushnell Park Hartford, Conn. 1854

49 City Park New Orleans, La. 1854

49 Elm Park Worcester, Mass. 1854

53 East Fairmount Park Philadelphia, Pa. 1855

53 Esther Short Park Vancouver, Wash. 1855

53 Washington Park Cincinnati, Ohio 1855

56 Hemming Plaza Jacksonville, Fla. 1857

56 Murphy Square Minneapolis, Minn. 1857

58 Central Park New York, N.Y. 1858

58 San Jacinto Plaza El Paso, Tex. 1858

60 Druid Hill Park Baltimore, Md. 1860

61 Miller Park Lynchburg, Va. 1862

62 Old Fort Park Fort Wayne, Ind. 1863

63 Pershing Square Los Angeles, Calif. 1866

64 Allegheny Commons Pittsburgh, Pa. 1867

64 Buena Vista Park San Francisco, Calif. 1867

64 Cooper Park Lincoln, Neb. 1867

64 The Ellipse Washington, D.C. 1867

68 Balboa Park San Diego, Calif. 1868

68 DeFremery Park Oakland, Calif. 1868

68 Farragut/Franklin Squares Washington, D.C. 1868

68 Prospect Park Brooklyn, N.Y. 1868

72 Golden Gate Park San Francisco, Calif. 1870

73 Acadia Park Colorado Springs, Colo. 1871

74 Alum Rock San Jose, Calif. 1872

74 Belle Isle Detroit, Mich. 1872

74 Emancipation Park Houston, Tex. 1872

74 Hancom Park Omaha, Neb. 1872

74 Riverside Park New York, N.Y. 1872

79 Garfield Park Indianapolis, Ind. 1873

79 Hyde Park Fort Worth, Tex. 1873

Parks and Playground Use Up in Down Economy

From The Trust for Public Land:
http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=23098&folder_id=3208

A recent study suggest the economic downturn has spurred a sharp increase in public park and playground use among families with kids, especially those with children younger than 6 years old. Here are the results of a poll conducted on behalf of TPL by Harris Interactive from July 28-30, 2009. The sample included 2,095 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older.

The poll asked this question: During this period of economic difficulty, have you and your family changed how much you make use of public parks and playgrounds?

Those who responded fell into one of four groups and were given a choice of three responses: I/We: make greater use of public parks and playground; use public parks and playgrounds the same amount; or make less use of public parks and playgrounds.

All groups showed increased use, but two groups in particular showed a sharp increase.

Park users with children in the household:
greater use 30%
same use 60%
less use 10%

Park users with children under age 6 years in the household:
greater use 38%
same use 51%
less use 10%

You can view the complete results and methodology of this poll/study by downloading this pdf.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walk or Bike Down the Square Wednesdays and Saturdays for FREE Concerts!

You know the best part of the Concerts on the Square? They are so easy to walk and bike to!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Friday - Decatur Bulldog Boosters Annual SpiritFest


http://www.dhs.cityschoolsofdecatur.com/boosters.shtml

Annual SpiritFest

Friday, 28 August, is varsity football's regular season home opener vs. local rival Druid Hills. Before the game, the DBB will again host our annual SpiritFest, an old-fashioned, crowd-pleasing pep rally. The band will play, the drill team will dance, and the cheerleaders will cheer. So come on out and be part of SpiritFest 2009 and then watch our Bulldog football team play their first regular season home game.

This year's celebration will be especially meaningful to the Decatur Community as we will remember Barbara Nettles by presenting a short tribute and observing a moment of silence at the beginning of the rally. Barbara was the originator and primary organizer behind the SpiritFest in the past and the Decatur Bulldog Boosters would like to dedicate this year's rally to her memory.

Remember: SpiritFest starts at 6:00 p.m.; Kick-off is 7:30 p.m.

Free Parking at the Courthouse Deck at Trinity & Commerce

For more information on SpiritFest 2009, e-mail Leah Vaughan, leahvaughan@sycamoreconsulting.com or call her at 404-377-7578.

Georgia’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan


Click HERE to see the Stae of Georgia’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan. More info. is also available at http://www.livehealthygeorgia.org/.

Sept. 13 - Celebrate National Grandparents Day at a Georgia State Park



Little ones who are lovingly spoiled by their grandparents can return the favor on National Grandparents Day, September 13. Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites offers plenty of memory-making ideas sure to entertain 5-year-olds and 50-year-olds alike.

Fire up the grill, pack up the fishing poles and spend the day enjoying each other’s company. All of Georgia’s state parks offer spectacular scenery, and most have easy nature trails, mini-golf, boating, animal exhibits and more. The paved trail at Panola Mountain State Park is perfect for strollers and bikes, while the lake at General Coffee State Park is a favorite spot for watching for wildlife. Large families can turn National Grandparents Day into a big celebration by renting covered picnic shelters or enclosed group shelters.

Remember the gooey fun of making s’mores? Plan a family camping trip where grandparents can tell stories around the campfire. No tent? No problem. Many outfitters and dealerships rent camping gear or RVs, while Red Top Mountain and High Falls state parks offer yurts. If sleeping under the stars isn’t for your grandparents, most state parks also offer cottages or hotel-style lodge rooms. Recently, the five state park lodges introduced lower “lodge-ical” weekday rates starting at $69 and $79 per night. Leave the kitchen chores behind because free breakfast is included in lodge stays at Amicalola Falls, George T. Bagby, Little Ocmulgee, Red Top Mountain and Unicoi state parks.

For many families, Georgia’s historic sites are a creative way for children to learn about their heritage. Families with a Native American history can tour New Echota Cherokee Capitol and Chief Vann House historic sites in northwest Georgia. Are your ancestors from “across the pond”? Pretty Fort King George Historic Site on the coast tells the story of a British outpost during the 1720s. Does Grandpa have Appalachian roots? Dahlonega Gold Museum in the north Georgia mountains has a new film with images from the 1830s gold rush.

For help in planning a Grandparents Day celebration for your family, visit www.GeorgiaStateParks.org or to make reservations call 1-800-864-PARK (7275).

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Grass Stain Guru blog

Here's a blog encouraging kids and grown ups to get outside and be active!


Childhood was meant to be messy
Bethe Almeras, The Grass Stain Guru, is an award-winning author, web producer, and eLearning designer. Co-founder of the National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour, she has been writing on the subject of connecting children with nature since 2006. A gifted speaker and trainer, Bethe also specializes in inclusive education and accessibility issues for individuals with disabilities.

Sept. 12 - Captain Healthy and Safety Dog Puppet Show

Thanks for the tip from the Next Stop...Decatur blog:


Captain Healthy and Safety Dog Puppet Show

DeKalb County Public Library and the Center for
Puppetry Arts, in conjunction with the DeKalb County Board of Health, are teaming up on a project aimed at teaching children about a very important topic—health and safety. This fall, the organizations are presenting a special free puppet show, called “Captain Healthy and Safety Dog,” that will entertain school-aged children while telling them about things they can do to live a safe and healthy life.

Read the
full press release including the schedule for upcoming shows.

Saturday. Sept. 12, 2009
First Show 10:30 AM
Second Show 1:00 PM
Location: Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore Street Decatur, Georgia 30030

NOTE: Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis

The Sport of the Arts - Decatur Winterguard!

Check out Decatur Winterguard!

Winterguard is know as the "Sport of the Arts":
http://wgi.org/about/whatiswgi.php. It's a great activity for high school and middle school students, male and female.

Click HERE for photo's.

Please e-mail
decaturwinterguard@gmail.com or Clayton.duggan@gmail.com for information.

Practices are held Sundays at the Ebster Rec. Center, 404 West Trinity.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Walkability Shown to Improve Home Values



Walkability Shown to Improve Home Values


A new study shows that walkable neighborhoods with nearby amenities, from retail to parks, have higher home values. The study (pdf) was conducted by CEOs for Cities and reports that:

After controlling for all of these other factors that are known to influence housing value, our study showed a positive correlation between walkability and housing prices in 13 of the 15 housing markets we studied. In the typical market, an additional one point increase in Walk Score was associated with between a $500 and $3,000 increase in home values.

These results show that consumers and housing markets attach a positive value to living within easy walking distance of shopping, services, schools and parks. The property value premium for walkability seems to be higher in more populous urban areas and those with extensive transit, suggesting that the value gains associated with walkability are greatest when people have real alternatives to living without an automobile.

The study looked at data for more than 90,000 recent home sales in 15 different markets around the nation. The statistical approach controlled for key characteristics of individual housing units (their size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age and other factors), as well as for the neighborhoods in which they were located (including the neighborhood’s income level, proximity to the urban center and relative accessibility to employment opportunities).

Joe Cortright, author of the study, provides some common sense implications for cities:

Neighborhood walkability is the product of both public and private decisions. The public sector dictates the land use framework, regulating the location and composition of commercial land uses and the types and density of housing units. The public sector is also responsible for streets and sidewalks and choosing the number, size and location of important destinations (i.e., schools and parks). If we’re looking to shore up value in local housing markets, it appears that promoting more walkable neighborhoods is one way to do so.

Research has also shown that buyers are willing to pay a premium on properties within short distance of parks, independent of other factors. We featured one tool cities can use to determine where to locate walkable parks.

One notable area of concentration: cities looking to create certain walkable districts within their cities, be it around new transit stations or redeveloped commercial corridors can consider the proximity of parks to those concentrated areas of development and walkability. It can be one more factor in making the efforts successful. One shining example – Portland’s Jamison Square (seen below), a boon to the city’s recently developed Pearl District.

Atlanta Bicycle Coalition - Share the Road Challenge

http://www.atlantabike.org/SharetheRoadChallenge2009

If you've been considering a way to spend Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7) without going out of town or spending a ton of money, come support our mission to make Atlanta a safer place to bike.


Our annual fundraising ride is right around the corner and early registration ends on Aug. 31.

In addition to a discounted rate, pre-registered participants are guaranteed a pair of custom CoolMax socks sporting our new logo and designed especially for this ride.

This year's ride is fully supported and offers rest stops along the multi-mileage option routes.

Please
sign-up today! We'll see you on the road.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Decatur High Softball - Big Tournament Weekend at Oakhurst Park

Decatur Bulldog Booster Club
http://dhs.cityschoolsofdecatur.com/boosters.shtml


Lady Bulldogs Softball Hosts Lady Bulldog Bash This Weekend at Oakhurst Park

The varsity Lady Bulldogs softball team plays host this Friday and Saturday to the Lady Bulldog Bash, the very first softball tournament played in our wonderful new softball sports complex at Oakhurst Park. Come on out Friday night or all day Saturday to watch nine teams from metro Atlanta, including Lovett, Cedar Grove, Dunwoody, among others, play some rousing softball.

We'll have plenty of shade for you as well as delicious snacks, hamburgers/hot dogs, and icy cold drinks from the concessions stand. So take a break from your weekend chores, take the kids and the dog for a walk and come see some softball.

For more info., visit: http://www.dhs.cityschoolsofdecatur.com/athletics/sport26.shtml.

Why walk or bike to school?

Why walk or bike to school?

http://www.walktoschool-usa.org/

To enhance the health of kids

http://www.walktoschool-usa.org/why/physical-activity.cfm
Increased physical activity can combat a host of health problems facing kids today.

Physical Activity

Free, convenient, enjoyable and does not require special equipment or training: Walking is a great way for adults and kids to be active. Lack of physical activity is a major cause of chronic illness and death for our country’s adults. Being overweight can cause health problems like diabetes during childhood and research shows that physically inactive kids are more likely to grow up to be physically inactive adults – and are therefore at high risk for obesity and related illnesses.

There are plenty of great reasons to walk to school – less traffic, safer streets, cleaner air – but one of the best is that children and parents will be healthier. With obesity rates skyrocketing and only one-quarter of American's able to get the Surgeon General's recommended daily dose of exercise (just 30 minutes), it's an ideal time to encourage people to walk to school for their own health and well-being.

Kids need to move

Obesity rates among children have more than doubled in the past twenty years, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Youth. Even worse, rates of obesity are much higher among minority children than among white youth, suggesting a grave social inequity in the availability of safe, healthy recreational opportunities.

Add walking to the mix. Physical activity recommendations for children suggest that they need a variety of activities each day-some intense, some less-so, some informal, some structured. Walking or cycling to and from school is an ideal way to get some of that activity at no extra cost to the child or family.

Walking to school is a missed opportunity. Roughly 10% of children nationwide walk to school regularly. Even among those kids living within a mile of their school, only 25% are regular walkers.

Parents who walk or bike to school with their kids get to be sociable. Nearly nine out ten parents who walk their children to school see it as an ideal way to meet new people, according to a survey in the UK. Many said that the school gate was a better place to meet new people than pubs, clubs, evening classes or the supermarket.

To improve air quality and the environment

http://www.walktoschool-usa.org/why/environment.cfm
Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can help reduce air pollution.

Air Quality and the Environment

Walking or biking to school protects the environment and your health. When children decide to lace-up their sneakers to walk, or strap on their bike helmets to pedal to school instead of riding in a car, they reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles.

These air pollutants can be especially harmful to children. Children have respiratory systems that are not fully developed, they spend more time at higher activity levels, which can cause them to breath more deeply and take in more air pollution. They are also more likely to have asthma or other acute respiratory problems that can be aggravated by air pollution than other age groups. By walking or riding a bike to school, children lower the amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which helps reduce toxic air pollutants.

Vehicles emit a variety of air pollutants. For example, ground level ozone is created by a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compound gases in the presence of heat and sunlight.

Visit www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/ozone/what.html to find more about ozone and www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/nox/hlth.html to learn about nitrogen oxides.

Particulate matter are particles of dust, soot, smoke, dirt, and liquid droplets that are also released into the air by cars, trucks and other vehicles. Go to www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/pm/index.html to learn more about particulate matter.

To create safer routes for walking and bicycling

http://www.walktoschool-usa.org/why/safety.cfm
Sidewalks, education programs and traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve conditions.

Safety

The promotion of bicycling and walking to school provides an opportunity to address safety. Every year, about 25,000 child pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles. Reducing the risk of injury includes teaching children pedestrian and bicycle skills. It also means reminding drivers to watch for others using the road. Hazardous conditions along routes to school need to be identified and fixed.

Some of the best ways to increase the safety of a child's walk or bike to school are to:

provide safe, well-maintained walkways separate from vehicles;

teach children to cross streets at marked crossings, and provide ample, well-designed, accessible, and when necessary monitored crosswalks;

slow traffic in neighborhoods and near schools.

The "Four E's"

Consider the range of tools available to address safety.

Education.

Programs used to teach children safe walking behaviors, such as proper crossing at crosswalks, and adults safe driving behaviors.

Encouragement.

Any efforts to encourage safe, healthy, regular walking, such as special events, announcements, public relations, and incentive programs.

Enforcement.

Efforts by law enforcement to aggressively enforce posted speeds and traffic laws to create safer driving habits; often used in neighborhoods and near schools.

Engineering.

The design and building of facilities – roadways, sidewalks, lighting, signs – to enhance the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Includes, for example, traffic calming methods.

Parents and other adults worry about children encountering bullies or strangers on the way to school. There may be a fear of kidnapping or assault. While the actual occurrences are extremely rare, consideration should be taken to address parent fears and create a plan to reduce risk. Parent accompaniment of children on the walk to school is one way to solve this concern. Some communities use walking school buses as a way to have an adult presence on the street.

The promotion of safe walking and biking to school addresses the risks described here. When there are more adults and children walking and biking on the road, the community becomes accustomed to their presence.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans At-A-Glance


The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans At-A-Glance

http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/default.aspx

These Guidelines are needed because of the importance of physical activity to the health of Americans, whose current inactivity puts them at unnecessary risk. The latest information shows that inactivity among American children, adolescents, and adults remains relatively high, and little progress has been made in increasing levels of physical activity among Americans.

Key Guidelines

Substantial health benefits are gained by doing physical activity according to the Guidelines presented below for different groups.

Children and Adolescents (aged 6–17)

Children and adolescents should do 1 hour (60 minutes) or more of physical activity every day.

Most of the 1 hour or more a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.

As part of their daily physical activity, children and adolescents should do vigorous-intensity activity on at least 3 days per week. They also should do muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activity on at least 3 days per week.

Adults (aged 18–64)

Adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week.

Additional health benefits are provided by increasing to 5 hours (300 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both.

Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week.

Older Adults (aged 65 and older)

Older adults should follow the adult guidelines. If this is not possible due to limiting chronic conditions, older adults should be as physically active as their abilities allow. They should avoid inactivity. Older adults should do exercises that maintain or improve balance if they are at risk of falling.

For all individuals, some activity is better than none. Physical activity is safe for almost everyone, and the health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks. People without diagnosed chronic conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, or osteoarthritis) and who do not have symptoms (e.g., chest pain or pressure, dizziness, or joint pain) do not need to consult with a health care provider about physical activity.

Adults With Disabilities

Follow the adult guidelines. If this is not possible, these persons should be as physically active as their abilities allow. They should avoid inactivity.

Children and Adolescents With Disabilities

Work with the child's health care provider to identify the types and amounts of physical activity appropriate for them. When possible, these children should meet the guidelines for children and adolescents—or as much activity as their condition allows. Children and adolescents should avoid being inactive.

Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Healthy women who are not already doing vigorous-intensity physical activity should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. Preferably, this activity should be spread throughout the week. Women who regularly engage in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or high amounts of activity can continue their activity provided that their condition remains unchanged and they talk to their health care provider about their activity level throughout their pregnancy.

Health Benefits of Physical Activity—A Review of the Strength of the Scientific Evidence

Adults and Older Adults

Strong Evidence:

Lower risk of:

Early death

Heart disease

Stroke

Type 2 diabetes

High blood pressure

Adverse blood lipid profile

Metabolic syndrome

Colon and breast cancers

Prevention of weight gain

Weight loss when combined with diet

Improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness

Prevention of falls

Reduced depression

Better cognitive function (older adults)

Moderate to Strong Evidence:

Better functional health (older adults)

Reduced abdominal obesity

Moderate Evidence:

Weight maintenance after weight loss

Lower risk of hip fracture

Increased bone density

Improved sleep quality

Lower risk of lung and endometrial cancers

Children and Adolescents

Strong Evidence:

Improved cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular fitness

Favorable body composition

Improved bone health

Improved cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers

Moderate Evidence:

Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression