SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist receives national award from America Walks

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS, S.D. – America Walks, a national advocacy organization that promotes walking and walkable communities, announced today that Ann Schwader, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist, has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship.

The Fellowship will enable Schwader and 24 other advocates from around the country to participate in a four-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable. “We are delighted to welcome Ann Schwader as a member of our 2016 Walking College class,” said Ian Thomas, State and Local Program Director with America Walks, “This program was developed in response to our findings that access to technical assistance and a national peer network are among the most pressing needs for advocates working at the local level.”

Schwader will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer and participate in the international Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in September. “The positive news is that there is a movement happening that is creating healthier, more connected communities across the United States, including South Dakota. Communities are striving to develop and sustain environments that support healthy lifestyles for their residents,” said Schwader.

Schwader collaborates with agencies and stakeholders across the state to coordinate resources and advance initiatives for improving long-term nutrition and physical activity outcomes. “Walking is free, increases access to destinations and is good for your health,” Schwader said.

The Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents. Topics include the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with stakeholders and decision makers. At the conclusion of the Walking College, Fellows will develop a task-oriented Strategic Plan for improving walkability in their communities.

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