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March 20, 2019

Todd Elsworth, Recreation Northwest

Recreation Northwest Launches Public Health Campaign in Bellingham on Whatcom Parkscriptions Day, April 28

Recreation Northwest has launched a new and innovative Parkscriptions Public Health Campaign in Bellingham, Whatcom County, WA. The campaign kicks off on the new, annual Whatcom Parkscriptions Day, on Sunday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with more than 15 concurrent free, all-ages, educational events in more than 11 City of Bellingham, Whatcom County and WA State Parks. The Parkscriptions campaign partners with doctors and other health care providers to prescribe time outdoors, connecting patients with positive outdoor experiences in our public parks for healthier lifestyles and improved mental and physical health. “As a nonprofit organization, offering the public free events meets our mission of bringing people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play,” iterates Todd Elsworth, Executive Director of Recreation Northwest. “Working with our community partners, we are able to provide this as a free experience for the greater community. Whatcom Parkscriptions Day marks the launch of the public health campaign with a full day of fun and great people to connect with at multiple locations throughout the county. Everybody will leave with exercise, education, insight, new motivation and a greater appreciation of our area parks.” The program has received generous support of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, the Trust provides grants to nonprofit organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. These grants seek to strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. “We are honored to receive the support of the M.J. Murdock Trust Grant,” iterates Todd Elsworth, Executive Director of Recreation Northwest. “Their support means that we can reach out to more health care providers and educate our community year-round to encourage outdoor recreation as an important part of healthier lifestyles and improved mental and physical health.” Whatcom Parkscriptions Day, April 28 Recreation Northwest will kick off the Parkscriptions Public Health Campaign with the first annual Whatcom Parkscriptions Day on Sunday, April 28. It is an opportunity for the people of the Whatcom County community to connect with positive outdoor experiences and reap the many proven health benefits of time spent in nature. “Recreation Northwest also partners with other Park Rx “Prescriptions” programs across the country at ParkRx.org,” adds Elsworth. “Our Whatcom Parkscriptions Day is celebrated with our partners, nationally celebrating National Park Rx days around the country.” A number of free hosted events are planned throughout the day at multiple locations offering a variety of experiences – all highlighting popular public parks in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Events will be held at Zuanich Point Park headquarters from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bellingham Senior Activity Center, and at each of these City, County and State Parks:

  • Fairhaven Park (a park stewarded by Recreation Northwest)
  • Stimpson Family Nature Preserve
  • Hovander Park
  • Lake Padden Park
  • Whatcom Falls Park
  • Cordata Park
  • Maritime Heritage Park
  • Peace Arch State Park
  • Larrabee State Park
  • Lincoln Park in Blaine
Activities at each park vary, offering inclusive variety to the public so that everyone—no matter their fitness level, experience or skill—can participate in at least one of the more than 21 Whatcom County events. Some events will include:
  • Walk with a Doc– local providers that use this program in their practice,
  • A Walk in the Park/Trail Walk– learn about future plans, history, flora and fauna, topography of the park and amenities
  • Bus Ride and Walk—all the beauty of a walk in the park plus a carefree ride on public transit
  • Park Ranger Walk– a Nature walk led by the resident Park Ranger
  • Forest Bathing– Learn about the healing Japanese practice of simply being in the forest with a focus on breathing
  • Disc Golf—explore the Lincoln Park course with Whatcom Disc Golf Club
  • Bocce Ball—Bellingham Senior Activity Center members will lead games on two courts at their facility lawn
  • Nutrition Therapy with Diabetes educator, Jennifer Berdinka of Peace Health
  • Sunset Tide Pool Walk with a Larrabee State Park Ranger
  • Community Family Picnic
  • Womxn’s Mountain Bike Ride led by Shifting Gears
In addition to the City of Bellingham, Unity Care NW, Whatcom County Public Health Department and Silver Sneakers, Community Partners include:
  • PediCab with Whatcom YMCA– a free pedicab service for people with low mobility
  • Fit School – Carol Frazey works together to help reach a new level of fitness
  • Vamos Outdoor Project provides access to environmental education and outdoor leadership experiences to Latinx and ELL (English Language Learner) youth
  • Whatcom Smart Trips is a partnership to promote transportation by walking, bicycling, sharing rides, and riding the bus. The group will bus to and from Stimpson on public transit
  • Bellingham Senior Activity Center offers programs that enrich the lives of seniors in Bellingham and promote healthy aging
  • Whatcom Disc Golf Club is dedicated to expansion of the sport in our area
  • Shifting Gears is a non-profit creating welcoming recreation experiences that encourage confidence, wellness, growth and joy via inclusive cycling and hiking programs.
Sponsors include Family Care Network, Peace Health, Mt. Baker Care Center, Bellingham Advanced Medical Imaging, Adventures NW Magazine, Humana, Tivity Health, VibrantUSA and KAFE/Cascade Radio Group. Check the website, the Facebook event and follow @Parkscriptions on Instagram for the updated list of events and details offered throughout the day. Everyone is welcome to come out, get your dose of nature and play in local parks for free at one or more of these events on Sunday, April 28. Ask your doctor what park is right for you. After all, there’s no such thing as a park potato. More About Recreation Northwest Recreation Northwest is a Bellingham, Washington–based nonprofit organization dedicated to promote outdoor recreation and bring people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. To accomplish this mission, Recreation Northwest focuses its efforts in three areas:
  • Parkscriptions--Partnering with doctors and other health care providers to prescribe time outdoors, Parkscriptions connects patients with positive outdoor experiences for healthier lifestyles and improved mental and physical health.
  • Recreation Economy--Bringing the outdoor recreation community together to learn from each other, raise the profile of this key sector of our economy and advocate for the value of outdoor recreation and our public lands at the state and local level.
  • Recreation Economy Study
  • Outdoor Recreation Summit
  • Recreation Northwest EXPO
  • Basecamp social networking events
  • Fairhaven Park Stewardship--Recreation Northwest helps maintain the trail system by removing invasive species, rerouting trails to improve access and restoring wetland habitat through native plantings.
For more information, visit RecreationNorthwest.org.

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