Get Healthier Outdoors Symposium
Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Lynn Scarlett spoke to the Get Healthier Outdoors Symposium on December 4, 2007, in Folsom. The symposium was organized by the California Roundtable on Recreation, Parks and Tourism, which coordinates and promotes public and private efforts to provide quality, sustainable outdoor recreation in California. The three-day event was designed to bring recreation and health professionals together to discuss successful programs for promoting and building healthier lifestyles by connecting Californians to the outdoors. Ms Scarlett's remarks concerned the need for physical activity and how the Interior lands provide people with a variety of opportunities for getting fit. She related an example about her daughter (as a teacher in Oakland) who encouraged urban children to overcome their fears of the outdoors by introducing them gradually to an appreciation of public lands through a "dusting of nature." Many of the students, who grew up in Oakland, had never seen the Golden Gate Bridge or walked on any surface other than concrete and asphalt. By first going to Crissy Field on San Francisco Bay and participating in the joys of outside discovery, the students gained self confidence and a desire to move on to nature hikes in Muir Wood and other outside pursuits. Through a "dusting of nature", they began to learn about the outside world and to develop physical fitness habits that will accompany them throughout their lives.
Lynn Scarlett's remarks were well received by the symposium participants -- who were able to discuss their needs, take away ideas and tools, and learn how to leverage their programs through partners and funding sources. Approximately 100 people attended the event, including policy and decision-makers, city, county, state and federal recreation and health managers, academics from a variety of disciplines, business and industry, graduate students, and consultants. Networking across geographic boundaries and across professions to promote healthier lifestyles was certainly an outcome of the 2007 Symposium.