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Applications invited for Minnesota GreenCorps Host Sites for 2010-2011 Program Year!

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is now accepting applications for organizations interested in participating as a host site in the 2010-2011 year of the Minnesota GreenCorps program.

Minnesota GreenCorps is an AmeriCorps program, coordinated by the MPCA, that places AmeriCorps members with organizations around the state to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills.

Applications from eligible organizations interested in hosting Minnesota GreenCorps members are due by July 8, 2010. Statewide Health Improvement Program grantees who have selected the Active Communities or Schools interventions may be interested in the "Energy Conservation and Air Quality" project area. This area addresses assessing and planning for improvements in the built environment to promote biking and walking.

Local government and non-profit organizations statewide may apply to host Minnesota GreenCorps members who will serve on projects in the areas of:
  • Energy Conservation and Air Quality
  • Waste Prevention and Recycling
  • Living Green Outreach (including local foods)
  • Green Infrastructure (including forestry and stormwater assistance)
Minnesota GreenCorps members serve full time (approximately 40 hours a week) for 11 months beginning in mid to late September 2010 through August 2011. Members will be placed either in teams of two  or individually at selected host sites.

Host site application packets are only available by emailing mngreencorps.pca@state.mn.us. Please direct all questions to this email. | More Information on GreenCorps

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Getting Students Active through Safe Routes to School: Policies and Action Steps for Education Policymakers and Professionals

Education policymakers and professionals are critical partners for Safe Routes to School. But, they can sometimes be reluctant to get involved in Safe Routes to School due to pressures on budgets and staff, plus a desire to remain focused on student academic achievement.

The guide provides a detailed examination of the most up-to-date and relevant research linking physical activity and academic achievement, and presents Safe Routes to School as a means of increasing students' physical activity levels.

It also includes policies and action steps that can be implemented at the state, school district and individual school level in several key areas specific to the education sector. Stories from states and communities across the nation provide real-life examples of how Safe Routes to School programs and policies can be adopted and implemented. Key topic areas include:

  • Building effective partnerships
  • Addressing traffic safety through infrastructure and enforcement
  • Incorporating Safe Routes to School into school wellness policies
  • Ensuring school transportation policies are inclusive of walking and bicycling
  • Creating neighborhood schools and joint use policies

Given the guide's specific focus on issues of concern and relevance to the education sector, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership hopes that it helps equip more education policymakers and professionals-at state, school district and individual school levels-with the knowledge and tools necessary to implement and sustain successful Safe Routes to School programs and supportive policies. The guide can also be a good tool for SRTS volunteers and professionals looking for ways to engage their local school leaders. | Policies and Action Steps for Education Policymakers and Professionals

Volunteer Walk Leader Manual 

This manual was developed by Jean Butel in partnership with Linda Pekuri and the Sumter Active Lifestyles Coalition. It was used in conjunction with an in-person training session for community volunteers interested in starting a walking group. The manual provides relevant and useful information to assist walk leaders and enhance the walk leader experience. It contains the information and tools needed to be a successful volunteer walk leader. When using these materials, please use the following citation: Volunteer Walk Leader Manual. Sumter County Active Lifestyles, 2008. |  Sumter County Active Lifestyles Leader Manual | Active Lifestyles Sample Forms

Study Shows Major Changes Needed to Support Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Elementary Schools

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Bridging the Gap program finds elementary schools commonly offer their students junk food and soda, serve meals high in fat, and provide little time for physical education or recess. Findings are based on surveys of school administrators during the 2006–07 and 2007–08 school years.

The report, School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity: National Elementary School Survey Results, also indicates many schools have not implemented wellness policy provisions required by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. That legislation called for school districts participating in federal child nutrition programs to adopt and implement a wellness policy by the beginning of the 2006–07 school year.

The report highlights key findings and describes policy opportunities of particular relevance given the congressional debate on the reauthorization of child nutrition programs. A companion brief summarizes the latest findings on the availability of competitive foods and beverages in elementary schools. A full monograph will be released by late summer 2010.

Read the report and a brief View video Q & A with the study author | Read the press release

National Park Service - Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA)

The National Park Service (NPS) plays an active role in creating healthier communities. Through our Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA), NPS offers staff assistance to communities in helping them to build trails, save unspoiled landscapes and parks, and protect local rivers. NPS staff plays important roles in connecting partners, assessing ideas and options, creating workable strategies, finding funding, and building healthier communities for the future.

Applications for the next cycle of support are due by August 1. |Explanation of assistance offered, how to apply, and description of current projects | Information about the projects

Giving Health a Place at the Table - Two Year's of Progress on Minnesota's Obesity Plan

Minnesota’s rising number of obese and overweight residents prompted the Minnesota Department of Health in 2008 to create a plan to reduce obesity and its associated health consequences. The plan attacks the problem from both an individual and a public health perspective. This article, Minnesota Medicine, describes Minnesota’s obesity plan and reports on progress that has been made to date. | Giving Health a Place at the Table

CATCH Resources for Schools and Preschools

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), evidence based has been shown to promote healthy behaviors, increased physical activity levels, improved nutrition knowledge and healthier eating behaviors and CATCH actually helped reduced rise in obesity levels in the El Paso – CATCH study.

CATCH is designed as an elementary school and after school program and now includes components for preschool physical activity and nutrition learning also. CATCH includes nutrition and tobacco education and uniquely designed all inclusive non-elimination physical activities. CATCH builds an alliance between school staff, community stakeholders, parents and administrators and places the “value of health” to an equal status as of promoting academic excellence.

CATCH program today is built upon the foundation of that original intervention program. The research proves it...CATCH increases physical activity levels, and is the only school intervention proven to affect student BMI. CATCH is being used around the country in more than 8000 locations. www.catchinfo.org FlagHouse, the NJ based CATCH publisher, in partnership with nationally known physical education and health educators (many of whom are original members of the CATCH research team) continues to develop the CATCH materials and supporting products.

CATCH – In Schools | CATCH Community/After School | CATCH Early Childhood

Know Someone who has Improved the Safety of Biking and Walking in your Community? Nominate them for the 2010 Star Award

The Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program is seeking nominations for its 2010 Star Awards and the Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award.

The TZD Star Awards are given to recognize excellence in the categories of:
  • enforcement
  • emergency medical and trauma services
  • education
  • engineering
  • child passenger safety
  • judicial/court system
Award recipients will have demonstrated exceptional creativity, leadership, and organization skills and the ability to successfully motivate and collaborate with others in efforts to move toward zero deaths on Minnestoa's roads.

The Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional leadership in improving traffic safety in Minnesota, building partnerships, and mentoring others in the field. The individual will also have demonstrated a long-term passion, dedication, and commitment to reducing the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes on Minnesota roads.

Nomination is open to any individual who meets the criteria; affiliation with a Minnesota TZD program initiative or activity is not required. The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. CST on July 2, 2010.

To nominate an individual, download and submit the nomination form (available as a PDF document), or fill out the online form, on the TZD Web site. If using the downloaded form, please e-mail, fax, or mail it to Stephanie Malinoff, Center for Transportation Studies, 511 Washington Ave. S.E. #200, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, 612-625-6381(fax), malinoff@umn.edu.

This year's winners will be recognized at the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) conference awards ceremony on October 26, 2010, in St. Paul, Minnesota. | TZD Web site

Bikes Belong Offers Funding for Bicycle Advocacy and Facilities Programs

Deadlines for Applications:  August 24, 2009; and November 23, 2009 (reviews apps quarterly)

Bikes Belong, a national coalition of bicycle suppliers and retailers, provides grants to organizations and agencies within the United States that are committed to "putting more people on bicycles more often." Fundable projects include paved bike paths and rail-trails as well as mountain bike trails, bike parks, BMX facilities, and large-scale bicycle advocacy initiatives.  The Bikes Belong Grants Program funds projects in the categories of facilities and advocacy. For the facilities category, Bikes Belong will accept applications from nonprofit organizations whose missions are bicycle and/or trail specific. Bikes Belong will also accept applications from public agencies and departments at the national, state, regional, and local levels; however, these municipalities are encouraged to partner with a local bicycle advocacy group that will help develop and advance the project or program. For the advocacy category, Bikes Belong will only fund organizations whose primary mission is bicycle advocacy.  New organizations that are not yet legally nonprofit organizations may submit an application with the assistance of another nonprofit that has agreed to serve as fiscal agent. Bikes Belong will not fund individuals.  Applicants can request up to $10,000 each. | Grant Information

Ruddie Memorial Youth Foundation Youth Program Evaluation Grants

Deadline for Applications: July 28, 2010

The Ruddie Memorial Youth Foundation has announced the availability of evaluation grants for innovative youth programs (birth to 25 years of age) to fund studies that document successful programs.  Grants are designed to fund the evaluation of innovative youth programs or services with the purpose of identifying which programs and services are most effective. The foundation seeks to support programs that are innovative and have a potentially replicable service concept; are offered by small or medium nonprofit organizations (operating budget of less than $5 million); promote (among others) athletic excellence in youth; and provide youth with new opportunities for health, personal growth, and success in the greater metropolitan areas of Baltimore, Boston, Madison, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 each. | Grant Information

Calendar of Events

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MN PA e-news is a free statewide information network open to individuals and organizations interested in physical activity. Minnesota Physical Activity e-news (MN PA e-news) are distributed to all those interested in promoting physical activity, and includes physical activity information on grants, resources, programs, conferences and more. To subscribe: email health.activeliving@state.mn.us or visit www.health.state.mn.us/physicalactivity,

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