Expanding its health-oriented partnerships with other public service organizations, the East Bay Regional Park District has applied for a Community Transformation Grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Grant money would be used to establish the "Get Outdoors! (GO!) Network for Kids Health," a multiagency collaboration led by the park district. Partners in the network would be the Oakland and West Contra Costa unified school districts, the Alameda County Office of Education, EcoVillage (a project of Earth Island Institute), Children's Hospital & Research Center of Oakland and UC Berkeley's Atkins Center for Weight and Health.
The district already partners with the Kaiser Permanente HMO in its "Healthy Parks-Healthy People" program. So the GO! Network would link three sectors to work together for better public health -- the health care system, school system and a public park agency. The impetus for the proposal is data showing that a large percentage of fifth and seventh graders in the Oakland and Richmond schools are at high risk in terms of obesity.
The agencies would team up to increase awareness of the health benefits of outdoor recreation, reduce barriers to park access, encourage healthy lifestyles and generally get the kids outdoors in the parks.
The group is seeking a grant of $2.6 million and hopes to hear the result by the end of September.
A draft master plan has been prepared in consultation with a variety of interested organizations and individuals. Input from the general public will be sought in a series of six meetings at locations throughout the two-county district.
The first meeting is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Trudeau Training Center, 11500 Skyline Blvd. in Oakland. The second is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle.
More information on the master plan and the schedule of subsequent meetings can be obtained at the park district website, www.ebparks.org.
COASTAL CLEANUP: Shoreline parks, lakes and creeks of the East Bay Regional Park District will get their share of attention during the 28th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 15. Volunteers collect literally tons of trash, debris and shoreline flotsam that presents dangers to wildlife.
Volunteers ages 6 and older are welcome at cleanup sites throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. They will be briefed at each site about how to deal with debris that appears to be from the Japanese tsunami.
Parking and entrance fees are waived that day, but registration is required in order to volunteer. For information or registration, visit the park district website at www.ebparks.org or call 888-327-2757 and select option 2.
ALAMEDA WALK: Alameda's colorful history will be recounted during a bayside stroll from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Crab Cove Visitor Center, 1252 McKay Ave. in Alameda, led by Victoria Baird.
If you come, you're welcome to bring your own photos, memorabilia or personal stories of life in the town. The program is free. For information, call 510-544-3187.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.