Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jan 30 - DeKalb County Community Gardening Workshop

DeKalb County Community Gardening Workshop

Hosted by DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and Commissioner Kathie Gannon.

Please join us for the 2nd in a series of workshops on creating a sustainable DeKalb.

Interested in starting a garden in your community? Looking for access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables? Join us to find out more about the new Community Gardens initiative in DeKalb County. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to talk to representatives from local farms and gardens, and sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and DeKalb County Community Gardens.

Saturday, January 30, 2010 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public Location: GA Perimeter College, Decatur Campus

Workshop Presenters and Exhibitors * Oakhurst Gardens * Atlanta Community Food Bank *Georgia Organics * Harvest Gardens * * Healthy Belvedere * Farmer D * Gaia Gardens * Southeastern Horticultural Society * Decatur and East Lake Farmers Markets * Wonderland Garden * Captain Planet Foundation * * Keep DeKalb Beautiful * Scott Fertilizer * DeKalb County Parks and Recreation

Register to win door prizes and much, much more!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Register for the March 21st ING Marathon

Register HERE for the ING Marathon before the Jan. 1st price increase.

Healthy Decatur: A Holistic Approach to Sustainability

ICMA is the professional and educational organization for chief appointed managers, administrators, and assistants in cities, towns, counties, and regional entities throughout the world. The ICMA has just published a case study on the City of Decatur, "Healthy Decatur: A Holistic Approach to Sustainability". Please click HERE to read the report.

Healthy Decatur: A Holistic Approach to Sustainability
Decatur, Georgia, has long focused on building a community that supports active living. The city has developed a Community Transportation Plan that focuses on making active modes of transportation an easy choice, created an Active Living Division to oversee programs, and worked to promote mixed-use development has had a number of benefits for the community.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hoop It Up

Find some time to get some exercise in over the holidays. The rec. center will be open for basketball, table tennis, etc. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 4:30 to 8:30 pm. The gym will be reserved from 7 to 9 pm on Tuesday specifically for table tennis. C'mon and shoot the rock and burn some calories over the holiday break!

New Safe Routes Report

New report from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership:

Safe Routes to School

Putting Traffic Safety First

How Safe Routes to School Initiatives Protect Children Walking and Bicycling

“Many of these safety improvements are made at relatively low costs to communities and schools, yet have profound effects on keeping children safe while also improving physical

health and the environment.”

New new feature at McKoy Park

A big "Thank You" to Lloyd Wingard, a Dectaur High student, who for an Eagle Scout project, built a covered bench by the new garden at McKoy Park adjacent to the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center. A big thank you also to his parents, Vickie and Pete Wingard, and Decatur Public Works' Gerry Knotts, for without his construction knowledge, the project would have not come to fruition. Stop by McKoy Park and have a seat on the new bench and enjoy the garden!

Lloyd and Decatur Public Works' Gerry Knotts

Pete and Lloyd Wingard

Decatur Active Living's Kyle Morton

Fellow Scouts assisting with the project

A team effort with some Dad's giving a hand!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Table Tennis over the Holidays

Stop by the Decatur Rec. Center for Table Tennis this Tuesday, Dec. 22, and next Tuesday, Dec. 29th, from 7 to 9 pm. We are closed the next two Sundays, Dec. 27th and Jan. 3rd, so there is no table tennis on those days. On Tuesday, Jan. 5th, Table Tennis starts at 8 pm on Tuesdays through the beginning of March.

Friday, December 18, 2009

8th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project

Decatur's eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project will take place on January 16, 17, and 18, 2010. The project is sponsored by the Decatur Preservation Alliance (DPA) in partnership with the City of Decatur. In 2003, the DPA Board identified a need to alleviate the economic pressures on the community's elderly and thereby enable at-risk seniors to remain in their homes safely and comfortably, improving their quality of life. To achieve these goals, the MLK Jr. Service Project was started to provide house maintenance and repair, free of charge, to Decatur senior citizen homeowners during the MLK Jr. holiday weekend. This January, volunteers will make repairs on twelve senior citizens' homes in Decatur and do yard work on many others. You are invited to volunteer! Shifts are Saturday, January 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, January 17, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday, January 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Monday evening, at the project's end, there is a dinner event at the Solarium for all participants and seniors to celebrate the project's completion.

Jobs are available at every skill level. Skilled trades people, especially roofers, plumbers, electricians and carpenters, are essential to helping these Decatur seniors live safely, comfortably, and affordably in their homes. Gardeners can lead simple gardening projects. Other volunteers can assist the logistics team with transporting tools and materials. The food committee is soliciting donations of sandwiches and homemade desserts to feed the hungry volunteers. Monetary donations are also always appreciated. Volunteers must be a minimum of 12-years-old, unless they are volunteering through a supervised organization, such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Please check first before signing up. Anyone under 18-years-old must have their parent or guardian sign the waiver form and bring it with them to the project.

If you are signing up a group (adult or youth group), please provide the name of your group and who will be participating. If you are volunteering as a family and bringing your children, please advise how many children you will bring and their ages. If you have a youth group, please be certain to have their parent/guardian complete the waiver and release form. Youth groups should provide an age range of the youth and the number of youth and adults who will be attending. We would appreciate large groups (adult or youth) splitting up into smaller groups of 15-20 volunteers. We are also requesting that you designate a team leader for each of these smaller groups and that you provide us with the team leader's contact information. Project information and the waiver and release form are available at

For more information, or to make a donation, contact Susan Cobleigh, 404-371-4444, or To volunteer, contact Lee Ann Harvey, 678-553-6548, Lee Ann Harvey Volunteer! Decatur A Season of Giving/Christmas Decatur P.O. Box 220 Decatur, GA 30031 Phone: (678) 553-6548 Fax: (404) 371-1593 Email: Website:

Oakhurst Neighborhood Association



The Importance of Play!

From Alliance for Childhood:

The Loss of Children’s Play: A Public Health Issue

Children’s health—today and in the future—is a critical public health challenge. Physicians tell us that today’s children will live shorter lives than their parents, while economists predict that the long-term costs of childhood obesity will be catastrophic.

Reversing the decline in children’s health requires a multi-pronged approach. Diet and exercise are already getting increased attention. Another vital but overlooked factor is the loss of free play, especially active outdoor play, initiated and directed by children themselves.

Children used to play for hours each day, burning calories and keeping fit and healthy. At the same time, play helped them socialize with others, develop mental acuity, and reduce stress. With the decline of play, all areas of child development have suffered, but the impact on health and obesity is most alarming.

The decline in children’s play is well documented. Compared to the 1970s, children now spend 50% less time in unstructured outdoor activities. Children ages 10 to 16 now spend, on average, only 12.6 minutes per day in vigorous physical activity. Yet they spend an average of 10.4 waking hours each day relatively motionless.2 A sedentary lifestyle often goes hand in hand with obesity and other health problems. Obesity cannot be overcome simply by exhorting children to eat a healthier diet and exercise more. A successful anti-obesity effort must involve more active play, which has rich benefits for both physical and mental health. Luckily, children are naturally motivated to play.


What Is Needed to Restore Active Childhood Play?

-Time for play: All children need at least 60 minutes of free play each day, preferably outdoors. Recess must be a daily school activity, and should never be withheld as a way to punish a child.

-Places to play: Children need safe places to play within an easy walk from their homes. Ideally these should be playgrounds integrated with natural settings. Opening school playgrounds for afterschool and weekend play would increase available play space significantly. Creating safe routes to schools and parks would allow children to walk and bike more freely.

-Adult support: In many communities children need adult oversight in order to play safely. Staff and volunteers can be trained to support children’s play without directing or dominating it. They can assist during recess, as well as before and after school and on weekends and holidays. This can happen not just in schools but also in parks, zoos, museums, recreation centers, and other places where children gather for play and enjoyment.

Research findings on play and health:

•Physical activity and free play are essential to maintaining a healthy weight and supporting cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development and well-being. Play enhances self regulation, empathy, and group management skills. (Stanford School of Medicine, “Building Generation Play,” 2007; Hirsh-Pasek, et al., A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool, Oxford University Press, 2009)

•The American Academy of Pediatrics links increases in depression and anxiety to a lack of unstructured playtime. It recommends that children spend at least 60 minutes each day in open-ended play. (American Academy of Pediatrics, Ginsburg et al., “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds,” Pediatrics, January 2007)

•Time spent playing outdoors significantly reduces the severity of symptoms of children with attention disorders. (Kuo and Taylor, “A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder,” American Journal of Public Health, September 2004)

•A randomized controlled study of 129 children, ages 9 to 24 months, exhibiting stunted development found that weekly play sessions had significant long-term benefits (to age 17) for psychosocial functioning, including reduced anxiety and depression and fewer attention problems. (Susan P. Walker et al., “Effects of Psychosocial Stimulation and Dietary Supplementation in Early Childhood on Psychosocial Functioning in Late Adolescence,” British Medical Journal, July 2006)

•Opportunity for recess has declined in many schools. Yet children who have more time for recess in school are better behaved and learn more. Children with the least amount of recess were more likely to be black and from families living in poverty and with little education. (Barros, Silver, and Stein, “School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior,” Pediatrics, February 2009)

Parents are deeply concerned about the loss of play and the erosion of childhood. They are prepared to take action.

•In a survey of nearly 1,700 parents 80% agreed that children’s unstructured play is extremely or very important; only one in six said it is only somewhat or not at all important. In the same survey, less than 4% said that outdoor play was unimportant. (KaBoom!/Harris Interactive survey, 2009)

•An overwhelming majority of Americans—91%— believe that having a break with physical activity helps children stay focused and learn in the classroom. Nearly 4 of 5 parents believe children aren’t getting enough physical playtime. (Playworks and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “Assessing Recess: Growing Concern about Shrinking Play Time in Schools,” 2008)

•Ninety-five percent of mothers surveyed in the U.S. express deep concern that their children are growing up too quickly and missing out on the joys and experiential learning opportunities of free play and natural exploration. (Singer et al., “Children’s Pastimes and Play in Sixteen Nations: Is Free-Play Declining?” American Journal of Play, Winter 2008)

•Eighty-five percent of mothers said TV and computer games were the number one reason for the lack of outdoor play; 82% identified crime and safety concerns as factors that prevent their children from playing outdoors. (Clements, “An Investigation of the Status of Outdoor Play,” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2004)

•Urban parents in particular see their own lack of time to take their children to playgrounds and supervise their play as major obstacles. They identify the need for play supervision so that children can play freely. (KaBoom!/Harris Interactive survey, 2009)

More articles:

The playtime's the thing

Let the kids play!

The Serious Need for Play

More from the Alliance for Childhood: Time for Play, Every Day: It's Fun — and Fundamental

There was a time when children played from morning till night. They ran, jumped, played dress-up, and created endless stories out of their active imaginations. Now, many scarcely play this way at all. What happened?

• Over four and a half hours per day watching TV, video game, and computer screens;1

• Academic pressure and testing, beginning with three-year-olds;

• Overscheduled lives full of adult-organized activities;

• Loss of school recess and safe green space for outdoor play.

Decades of research clearly demonstrate that play—active and full of imagination—is more than just fun and games. It boosts healthy development across a broad spectrum of critical areas: intellectual, social, emotional, and physical. The benefits are so impressive that every day of childhood should be a day for play.


Child-initiated play lays a foundation for learning and academic success. Through play, children learn to interact with others, develop language skills, recognize and solve problems, and discover their human potential. In short, play helps children make sense of and find their place in the world.

• Physical development: The rough and tumble of active play facilitates children's sensorimotor development. It is a natural preventive for the current epidemic of childhood obesity. Research suggests that recess also boosts schoolchildren's academic performance.2

• Academics: There is a close link between play and healthy cognitive growth. It lays the foundation for later academic success in reading and writing. It provides hands-on experiences with real-lifematerials that help children develop abstract scientific and mathematical concepts. Play is critical for the development of imagination and creative problem-solving skills.3

• Social and emotional learning: Research suggests that social make-believe play is related to increases in cooperation, empathy, and impulse control, reduced aggression, and better overall emotional and social health.4

• Sheer joy: The evidence is clear—healthy children of all ages love to play. Experts in child development say that plenty of time for childhood play is one of the key factors leading to happiness in adulthood.5


• Reduce or eliminate screen time: Give your children a chance to flex their own imaginative muscles. They may be bored at first. Be prepared with simple playthings and suggestions for make-believe play to inspire their inner creativity.

• Curtail time spent in adult-organized activities: Children need time for self-initiated play. Overscheduled lives leave little time for play.

• Choose simple toys: A good toy is 10 percent toy and 90 percent child. The child's imagination is the engine of healthy play. Simple toys and natural materials, like wood, boxes, balls, dolls, sand, and clay invite children to create their own scenes—and then knock them down and start over.

• Encourage outdoor adventures: Reserve time every day for outdoor play where children can run, climb, find secret hiding places, and dream up dramas. Natural materials—sticks, mud, water, rocks—are the raw materials of play.

• Bring back the art of real work: Believe it or not, adult activity—cooking, raking, cleaning, washing the car—actually inspires children to play. Children like to help for short periods and then engage in their own play.


-International Association for the Child's Right to Play (Play Day kits): 914-323-5327;

-Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (Annual Toy Guide): 617-879-2167;

-TV Turnoff Network (Take Action page for limiting TV time): 202-333- 9220;

-Playing for Keeps (Play ideas and resources for parents and educators): 877-755-5347;

-All Work and No Play: How Educational Reforms are Harming Our Preschoolers, Sharna Olfman, Ph.D., ed.

-Children at Play: Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Child Development by Heidi Britz-Crecelius

-Earthways: Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children by Carol Petrash

-Reclaiming Childhood: Letting Children Be Children in Our Achievement- Oriented Society by William Crain, Ph.D.

-The House of Make Believe by Dorothy G. Singer, Ph.D. and Jerome L. Singer, Ph.D.

-Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood, by Susan Linn

-Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv

Drive Safe and Be Aware!

Reminder: Please have your headlights on while driving in the rain, as per Georgia state law. Please be aware of pedestrians, runners, etc. while driving in the rain.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More 2nd Annual Park Renewal Day pic's

More photo's from November's 2nd Annual Park Renewal Day HERE.

DeKalb County COO Keith Barker, Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd and DeKalb Greenspace Office's Dave Butler

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ring in the New year with

Ring In the New Year and Unwind this Winter
Without Breaking the Bank in Georgia’s Outdoors

Bringing in the New Year at Georgia State Parks & Lodges is a peaceful alternative for those of you seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of holiday traffic and crowds. With diverse recreation opportunities and comfy hotel-style lodge rooms and restaurants, families can enjoy a secluded escape to the outdoors and maybe even start a new holiday tradition.

From New Year’s Eve celebration packages and holiday buffets, to nightly winter “lodge-ical” rates starting at just $59 through February 28, 2010, Georgia’s State Park Lodges offer a cozy and wallet-friendly vacation getaway in the great outdoors. For reservations contact or call 1-800-864-PARK (7275):

Even after the holiday cheer is long gone, those looking for a quiet escape can warm up with great rates and take advantage of smaller crowds at Georgia State Parks & Lodges all winter long.

Below is a sampling of the events planned in January 2010.


New Years Day Mountain Top Hike
Friday, January 1, 2 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Start the new year at the peak seeing Panola Mountain up close, as a ranger explains why the mountain is protected and what we can do to preserve granite outcrops. Bring sturdy shoes, water, bug spray and your camera. Rain or shine. Register in advance $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Mountain Top Owl Prowl
Saturday, January 2, 6 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Listen to whippoorwills and owls as the sun slowly sets and the moon begins to rise. Panola Mountain is one of the best places to see the wildlife of the night and offers one of the best perches for viewing Atlanta's skyline. Bring flashlights and comfortable clothing. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Introduction to Wildlife Painting
Saturday, January 2, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs
This classroom program will give participants a chance to render paintings of stuffed animals and birds. This is a hands-on workshop, and will give participants the chance to paint from a real 3-D form, with real feathers, fur, and correct proportions needed for accurate wildlife painting. Acrylic paint, paper, and brushes will be supplied. Register in advance. $10 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

New Manchester History Hike
Saturdays, January 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs
This mile-long hike (easy to moderate) will lead us to the five story ruins of the Civil War-era New Manchester textile mill and focus on the history of the Sweetwater Creek Valley. This Historian or Ranger-led hike will include going inside the impressive mill ruins and seeing the lovely whitewater rapids (both providing great photo opportunities). $1-$2 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Lost Person Prevention
Saturday, January 9, 10 a.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Learn simple techniques for not getting lost and keeping track of your family when venturing into the great outdoors of Georgia. Search and Rescue Dog Team will be joining the class. Register in advance. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Basic Fly Fishing Clinic
Saturday, January 9, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
The two-hour clinic covers equipment, knot tying, casting, safety issues and other tricks of the trade. If time permits participants may stay to catch the “Fish of Fish.” Instructors C. H. Brown and Michael Reilley suggest wearing long pants/shorts and hiking shoes, and bringing snacks, water and sun lotion. Georgia fishing license required. Register in advance. $15 or $12 with own gear. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Mountain Top Adventure Hike
Saturday, January 10, 2 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
These guided hikes depart from Panola's nature center and are for people in good physical condition. This hike allows visitors to see Panola Mountain up close, as a ranger explains why the mountain is protected and what we can do to preserve granite outcrops. Bring sturdy shoes, water, bug spray and your camera. Rain or shine. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Saturday Mountain Hike
Saturday, January 16, 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
These guided hikes depart from Panola's nature center and are for people in good physical condition. This hike allows park visitors to see Panola Mountain up close, as the Ranger explains the reasons Panola Mountain is protected, and what we can all do to preserve the natural beauty of granite outcrops. Bring sturdy shoes, water, bug spray, and your camera! The Panola Mountain hike starts at 10am and generally lasts 3-4 hours. Rain or shine. Call to register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Tree Top Excursions: Introduction Climb
Saturday, January 16, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Join us "on rope" for an adventure exploring the canopy above. This is an introductory climb to Canopy-Adventure-Research-Educational Technical Tree Climbing (CARE TTC). Participants will use rope and harness for this moderately strenuous activity. Register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.


Beginning Bee Keeping
Saturday, January 16, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Smithgall Woods Conservation Area and Lodge – Helen
Learn about basic bee keeping and how to start a hive. Berry Wright has been a professional honey producer for 45 years. Berry will discuss assembling equipment and installation of bees. A trip to the apiary will be included, weather permitting. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 878-3087.

Dulcimer-Making Workshop
Saturday, January 23, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Smithgall Woods Conservation Area and Lodge – Helen
Assemble, sand and finish an all-wood Appalachian dulcimer with dulcimer maker and musician Bob Thomason. All tools and supplies are provided. No woodworking experience is required. Bob Thomason has been making and playing fine Appalachian dulcimers since 1981. Register by January 8. $85 plus $5 parking. (706) 878-3087.

Native American Flute-Making Workshop
Saturday, January 30, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Smithgall Woods Conservation Area and Lodge – Helen
Make a traditional southeastern style Native American flute with award winning Cherokee artist and musician, Danny Bigay. Danny's flutes and art are displayed in museums throughout the country including the Eiteljorg and Five Civilized Tribes Museums. $150 plus $5 parking. (706) 878-3087.


Dulcimer Jam
Saturday, January 16, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday, January 17, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Monday, January 18, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Mistletoe State Park – Appling
This beautiful folk instrument is one of the easiest to play. Join in hands-on demonstrations and you will soon be sounding like a pro! If you already have a dulcimer, bring it along for tuning and playing tips. $5 parking. (706) 541-0321.

# # #
More information on your state parks and historic sites, including accommodations like cottages, hotel-style lodges, campsites and yurts, can be found at or 1-800-864-PARK (7275).

Monday, December 14, 2009

DeKalb County Extension Service; Gardening Series 2010 – Gardening for Food, Fitness & Fun

DeKalb County Extension Service

Gardening Series 2010 – Gardening for Food, Fitness & Fun

Starts on Thursday,January 28th, 2010 with "Building Better Soils & Composting",

7 to 9 pm, 4380 Memorial Dr., Decatur, GA 30032.

First two speakers:

Walter Reeves – WSB radio, speaker and writer will tell you about – SOILS

Dr. Jim Spotts – well known agronomist, master gardener and King of Compost – Will share his famous COMPOSTING SECRETS

Please call for brochure of all 7 classes and be sure to register early!

Cost - $10 per class if you pay at door or get all 7 for $50 if you pay in advance through the mail.

First 50 registered are guaranteed a seat.

For more information or to request a brochure, please call 404-298-4080.

Our website also has the whole brochure for all 7 excellent classes (4 of which are targeted to Vegetable gardeners):

Class #2 – February 2 (Tuesday), from 7 to 8:30 PM

"Basic Vegetable Gardening" – how to start and what to grow. Speaker: Bob Westerfield, University of Georgia Home Gardening Specialist.

Class #3 – February 16 (Tuesday), from 7 to 8:30 PM

"Growing Specialty Vegetables" - emphasizing crops that are popular in other parts of the world but that will grow well in Georgia.

Class #4 – February 23 (Tuesday), from 7 to 8:30 PM

"Identifying and Limiting Common Pests & Diseases of Vegetables" Speaker: Gary Peiffer, DeKalb Extension Agent and Horticulture Manager

Class #5 – March 18 (Thursday), from 7 to 8:30 PM

"Roses and Their Care" Speaker: Stan Leacock, a well known local rosarian who cares for roses every day in his business and at his home.

Class #6 – April 20 (Tuesday), from 7 to 8:30 PM

"Using Color in the Landscape and Color Trends 2010" Speaker: Tara Dillard, local, well known speaker, designer and garden writer. Tara knows plants and design and she presents her subjects with great wit and enthusiasm.

Class #7 – May 18 (Tuesday), from 7 to 8:30 PM

"Tropical Plants to Know and Grow" - There are many wonderful tropical plants that will do well in the Atlanta area with the right conditions and the right kind of care. Speaker: Dr. Bodie Pennisi, University of Georgia, Horticulture Specialist in Griffin, GA. Dr. Pennisi is an expert in her field and she works closely with our Georgia commercial plant producers.

Report - "Making the Link from Transportation to Physical Activity and Obesity"

Active Transportation: Making the Link from Transportation to Physical Activity and Obesity

Walking or biking to school can help kids be more active overall

-Most studies of children and adolescents indicate that walking or bicycling to school is related to higher overall physical activity. However, the percentage of school-age children nationwide who commute to school by walking or bicycling decreased by 68 percent from 1969 to 2001.

-Parents’ perceptions of the transportation route between home and school were among the key factors determining whether children walk or bike to school.35, 36 Perceived safety from traffic and crime have been associated with higher rates of children walking and bicycling to school.

-A survey in Melbourne, Australia, found that children ages 5 to 6 and ages 10 to 12 whose parents believed they had to cross several roads to get to play areas were between 40 percent and 60 percent less likely than other children to walk or bicycle to school or parks at least three times per week.

-Promotional and educational programs helped increase rates of biking and walking to school.

-Parental safety concerns about traffic tend to be a common obstacle to biking and walking to school,43–45 but addressing safety behaviors and concerns through educational programs appears to be a promising strategy. For example, US Walk to School programs have been associated with higher walking rates.46 Additionally, the WalkSafe program, an educational injury-prevention program in Miami-Dade County, Fla., has led to children who are more likely to engage in safe pedestrian behaviors (e.g., stopping and looking when crossing the street) or avoid unsafe behaviors (e.g., mid-street crossing and darting out) than were those who did not participate, a change which was sustained over time.

-Efforts promoted by programs such as Safe Routes to School, including building sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic-control devices around schools, have been linked to both increases in the percentage of students who walked to school and reductions in the percentage of students being driven to school. Up to 39 percent of the land in large U.S. urban areas is within one-half mile of a public school, so physical improvements in neighborhoods surrounding schools provide safer walking environments not just to students, but also to residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Other Conclusions:

-A substantial body of research shows that certain aspects of the transportation infrastructure—public transit, greenways and trails, sidewalks and safe street crossings near schools, bicycle paths, traffic–calming devices, and sidewalks that connect schools and homes to destinations—are associated with more walking and bicycling, greater physical activity and lower obesity rates.

-Beyond improving local travel options, transportation infrastructure investments that support physical activity can result in increased recreational opportunities, improvements to individuals’ health and decreased health care costs.

-In combination with infrastructure investments, programs that raise awareness and complement pedestrian and bicycle facilities are promising options for supporting physical activity. Specifically, Safe Routes to School programs and the management of traffic in local neighborhoods and around schools have been shown to affect physical activity among children, adolescents and adults.

-Fast vehicle traffic is a significant barrier and danger to bicyclists and pedestrians. Measures to slow down traffic and to help pedestrians negotiate busy streets can be effective in increasing physical activity and improving safety.

-Addressing the decades–long decline in walking and bicycling for transportation requires changing the physical characteristics of our communities. Federal, state and local policies and funding that support the type of infrastructure investments and programs identified in this brief can help slow and perhaps even reverse this decline.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Safe Routes Thanks!

Thank you to all of the students, parents, school staff, and volunteers who helped with the Decatur Safe Routes to School Program in 2009! A special thanks to the great principals at Glennwood Academy, and Clairemont, Oakhurst and Winnona Park elementary schools. For more info. on the program, please contact Greg White, 678-553-6543.

Jan 9 - Run with The Dogs 5K

Fifth Annual "Run With The Dogs"

The Decatur Bulldog Boosters are proud to announce to the Decatur dog-loving and running communities, the 5th Annual Decatur Bulldog Boosters 5K "Run with the Dogs" on Saturday, January 9th at 9:00 a.m. The race will feature a single 5K race where runners and dog-owners can run with (or without) their dogs. T-shirts, awards, and treats will be available to race participants as well as a sporty "race"-kerchief for canine participants. Post-race contests for canine participants will also be available!

Sponsorship opportunities are available for a limited time. If interested in sponsoring the race, please contact Bill Ainslie ( or 404-373-2366). All proceeds go to funding the uniform, equipment, and awards for our student-athletes at the middle and high schools. So come on out and run off a few of those Holiday calories with Decatur and it's Dogs!

Registration forms can be found on, and at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bridge - Join us at the Rec!

Bridge, also known as "contract bridge", is a card game of skills and smarts. And it's a fun social activity. Join us at the Decatur Rec. Center at 10 am on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month for bridge. Please contact Lee Williams, 678-553-6551, for more information.

More info. online at:

For youth:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Decatur Youth Lacrosse Update

Decatur Active Living is currently accepting Pre-Registration for Girls Lacrosse ages 9-14 yrs. This season the girls will be sporting NEW lacrosse uniforms. In an effort to be sure that we have the correct sizes and the uniforms in time for the season we will be accepting registration until Saturday, January 16, 2010. The fee for Lacrosse this season will be $120 for Decatur Residents and $135 for non-residents.

There will be a uniform fittings January 18-21 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Decatur Rec.

Season practices will be held at local schools and fields, beginning the week of Feb. 1, 2010. Games will begin March 6. The age control date for lacrosse is January 1, 2010.

Boys lacrosse registration will begin Saturday, January 2, 2010.

To get new players exposed to the game we will hold FREE Sunday afternoon clinics on Jan. 17, 24 and Jan. 31 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. at Decatur High School. No skills or equipment required. Please come - these clinics are used to teach the basics to new players.

If you have any questions please contact Stacy Green at 678-553-6549.

Holiday Lights Bicycle Tour

Hello Friends!

If you are available for two-wheeled fun and Christmas Lights - please join us tomorrow night for our "Holiday Lights Bicycle Tour" test ride before the tours go on sale next week! We are gathering at the Georgian Terrace at 7:30 and departing at 8:00.

Please see our website for the "flavor" of the event!

Please let me know if you plan to attend and if you need to use one of our bikes or if you will be bringing you own.



Robyn Elliott
Bicycle Tours of Atlanta



Aikido teaches how to defend yourself by harmonizing with your attacker’s movement, taking control of their center, and either throwing them or pinning them to the ground, all while protecting them from harm. It is both a practical self defense system as well as training in how to handle pressure more effectively in all walks of life.

— Joel Riggs, 2nd dan, Chief Instructor


• Learn self-control

• Develop self-confidence

• Defend against multiple attackers


• Increase personal power

• Stay calm under pressure

• Build relationships

Children 5–8 - Tue/Fri 3:30 pm

Children 9–13 - Tue/Fri 4:25 pm

Teens 14+ and Adults - Sun 6:30 pm/Mon 8:00 pm

Beginner’s Special includes FREE uniform in the Decatur Healing Arts studio

109-A New St.

Decatur, GA 30030

Three blocks east of Agnes Scott campus down College Avenue, behind FIGO Pasta

(678) 662-9237

Thursday - DeKalb County Greenspace Forum


W. Burrell Ellis, Jr.

Chief Executive Officer



Shelia Edwards

Chief Communications Officer
Phone: 404-371-6305
Cell: 404-964-0155

Angela Walton

Communications Manager
Phone: 404-371-3688
Cell: 404-964-0357



DECATUR DeKalb County will hold a public forum on Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. to update the community on the county’s Greenspace program. Since 2001, DeKalb has acquired more than 3,000 acres in additional parkland and greenspace. Anyone interested in learning more about the county’s Greenspace program is invited to attend. For additional information, please contact Mamie Ellis at 404-371-2082.

WHO: DeKalb County Greenspace Office

WHAT: Update on County’s Greenspace Program

WHEN: December 10, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Maloof Auditorium

1300 Commerce Drive

Decatur, GA 30030