The East Bay Regional Park District and program partners were recognized at the annual California Parks & Recreation Society conference, held in Long Beach, California, March 8 – 11, 2016.
The Park District’s Teen Eco Action program received an award for Youth Development in the category, “Creating Community.” The Teen Eco Action program was created in 2007 to engage underserved youth in healthy, active outdoor activities and community service. Each year the program serves youth ages 13 – 17 from Richmond, Bay Point and Oakland, providing outdoor recreation experiences, teaching youth to use transportation to get outdoors, and creating awareness of careers in the outdoors. Skill-building activities, service learning, and career talks are woven throughout the week, which also includes environmental education and recreation. Throughout the program, the Park District works in partnership with community-based organizations. Teen Eco Action is supported by a grant from the Regional Parks Foundation.
“Reaching young people and getting them involved in the outdoors is critical, not just for their sake, but for ours, as they will be the future stewards of our parks and open spaces. We are honored to receive this award, and thank the Regional Parks Foundation for their program support over the years. ” said EBRPD Board President Doug Siden.
Dr. Nooshin Razani from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and Dr. Curtis Chan from San Francisco Department of Public Health were recognized as Champions of the Community for their work creating a Park Prescription (Park Rx) program in the Bay Area. The doctors were nominated by the Park District for their commitment to integrating nature into the health care system. Drs. Razani and Chan were involved in the creation of the Healthy Parks Healthy People Bay Area coalition, and created the Parks Rx program for health providers. The East Bay Regional Park District has partnered with UCSF Benioff Oakland and the Regional Parks Foundation to provide a Park Rx program serving over 500 patients to date. Participants in the program, known as SHINE (Stay Healthy in Nature Every Day), are provided with free transportation to a Regional Park, including a healthful lunch and outdoor activities. Dr. Razani’s team is now conducting a study to evaluate the health benefits of these outings.
“Drs. Razani and Chan are leading the charge to connect health and the outdoors in our region. We are proud to be their partners in the ground-breaking SHINE program in the Regional Parks,” said EBRPD Community Relations Manager Mona Koh.
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 120,000 acres in 65 parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.
Teen Eco Action participants.
Dr. Razani and SHINE participants at Crab Cove in Alameda.