Guest post by Mo Fair, Deputy Director of Community Engagement at Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership
Participants in the DCWH program had a chance to paint a mural
A CALC Micro-Grantee this past year, Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership was able to use CALC funding to start the Dynamic Communities Walking for Health program (DCWH). The intent of this program is to collect data about the physical and emotional benefits of walking in nature. Thanks to CALC funding, we were able to purchase smart watches to track the physical activity of participants while they walked the Greenway. Participants also filled out a pre and post surveys to better understand what type of relief the walking program offered them.
In total we had 13 participants ranging in age from 15 to 60 - all residents of the City and County of Denver. Out of the 13 participants, 4 of them completed all 14 miles of the Sand Creek Regional Greenway trail. Between all 13 participants, the fitness trackers logged a total of 400,068 steps and 84 miles on the Greenway. Out of the 13 participants, 8 have previously been on the Greenway and 5 experienced the Greenway for the first time thanks to DCWH.
All participants filled out the pre and post survey. Most participants said they walk for enjoyment, health, and family time. One participant said they walk as their main mode of transportation and another said they walk for work. Participants said their time on the Greenway brought them joy, happiness, and relaxation. Many participants noted the mural on the Greenway and another mentioned her favorite moment on the Greenway was seeing a herd of deer so close.
One participant mentioned feeling a bit nervous when walking by herself and another noticed the lack of signage to help guide their walk. All participants said DCWH helped them walk more than before and that they hoped to keep walking.
This grant opportunity allowed us the chance to interact with returning and new Sand Creek Trail users. We learned the mural and wildlife are a big attraction for Sand Creek Regional Greenway Trail users and that wayfinding is necessary to help new trail users feel comfortable on the trail. We also learned many communities enjoy walking as a less expensive exercise alternative and that being able to walk with their family increases the likeliness of walking.
SCRGP will continue this program and continue to gather more data. By engaging more community members, we will be able to educate them about a natural resource close to their homes, better understand what individuals need to feel safe when exploring nature and the Sand Creek Greenway, and in the future, create opportunities and programs that meet the needs of the community and encourage them to get outside and stay active!