Hundreds of thousands of children nationwide, including in Chattanooga, will take part in a grassroots movement to discover America’s parks through play on Saturday, to commemorate National Park Trust’s (NPT) third annual National Kids to Parks Day.
At a time when obesity epidemic touches nearly one in three children who are either overweight or obese, communities are witnessing sky-rocketing rates of high blood pressure, type two diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels in children. Like Chattanooga other cities across the nation are committing to a simple motto: “active kids are healthy kids” and encouraging their residents to use National Kids to Parks Day as the first of many days spent outdoors, at local parks and recreation sites, to develop more active, healthy lifestyles.
The City of Chattanooga encourages locals to participate by exploring Coolidge Park or Greenway Farm for one of the City’s scheduled events - or create one's own event at one of the city’s numerous local parks.
“Our city is home to outstanding parks, like Greenway Farm and Coolidge Park, that provide excellent spaces for experiencing the outdoors,” said Mayor Andy Berke. “I invite all Chattanooga residents to head outdoors on May 18 and enjoy National Kids to Parks Day.”
A special commemorative National Kids to Parks Day is being planned for 1 p.m. at Coolidge Park (at the flag pole) and all are invited to start their day of play with Park Officials for a brief celebration to celebrate the meaning of National Kids to Parks Day.
Shortly after the presentation at Coolidge Park, at 1 p.m., Park Ranger Brenda Bronner will lead the group on a short walk around Coolidge Park and Renaissance Park. Sites included will be various art pieces showcased in the park. Learn the purposes of the ponds the various odd landscape features including the 'mound'. Finish the walk with a view of the Delta Queen and a ride on the historic carousel-free to public. Route is accessible and all concrete. This route is rated for beginners and approximately .5 mile.
The public is also encourage to join Park Ranger Lance McCrory at Greenway Farm, 5051 Gann Store Road, parking at the dog park location, at 3 p.m. Ranger McCory will lead an environmental hike around the park. Showcasing some of the park attributes and enjoyment of a beautiful view if middle valley and signal mountain. The route is rated intermediate with partially paved routes and approximately two miles round trip. Refreshments of water and snack will be provided at halfway point.
NPT is working with numerous cities and towns included those affiliated with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Cities and Towns program, which is designed to encourage mayors and elected officials to adopt policies and programs that create systemic changes, reducing childhood obesity. Mayor Andy Berke joins mayors across the country, from Le Paso, to Santa Fe, to Reading and to Orlando, Fla., who have signed official proclamations declaring May 18th National Kids to Parks Day in their city or town.
National Kids to Parks Day has been endorsed by Department of Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors, America’s State Parks, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, Children’s National Medical Center, Boy Scouts of America, US Army Corps of Engineers, Children & Nature Network, National Environmental Education Foundation and officially in support of the First Lady’s Let Move Outside! initiative to get more youth and families to be active and live healthier.