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Health and Wellness Initiative Launched in National Park

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Date: November 17, 2011
Contact: Mary Pat Doorley, CVNP, 440-546-5995
Contact: Scott Rainone, ABIA, 330-572-7581

Modern Day Mather Hike
©Cynthia Capers

Brecksville, Ohio - On September 15 and 16, 2011 about 20 health and wellness professionals from the Akron area spent the day and overnight in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) to begin discussions on "Healthy Parks Healthy People US."

National Park Service (NPS) Director Jon Jarvis established this NPS health promotion initiative to rejuvenate and raise awareness for the role of public lands in improving the health of our nation. National parks are model settings to promote physical activity, healthy eating, and mental health, while also demonstrating how human health is interdependent on the health of all species and our environment.

CVNP received NPS funding for a micro-grant to host a Modern-Day Mather Hike, named after Stephen Mather, the first director of the NPS and an advocate for the preservation and conservation of America's national parks. Starting in 1915, Mather hosted numerous backcountry trips in current-day national parks for influential leaders and congressmen in order to generate support and funding for the park service.

Co-sponsored by NPS, the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA), the event began in the afternoon in the Virginia Kendall unit, considered one of the most scenic trail systems in CVNP. Superintendent Stan Austin and Park Ranger Brady Bourquin led the hike on the Ritchie Ledges and then facilitated discussions were held at Stanford House where most of the participants were staying overnight.

"We are very pleased to begin dialogue with health and community leaders in Akron and we are grateful to ABIAfor being the connector to the different service providers working directly with the audiences we would like to reach," stated Superintendent Austin.

"It was a great opportunity for us to initiate the conversation about leading healthier lifestyles," said Dr. Janine E. Janosky, Vice President of ABIA's Center for Clinical and Community Health Improvement (CCCHI). "This project connects ABIA and its founding members with the City of Akron, Summit County and other community health providers to collaborate in the promotion and provision of wellness and improved health."

CVNP looks forward to continuing partnerships with health and wellness professionals to help create changes in park signage, publications, and how we market our programs to the public.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Managed by the National Park Service, CVNP combines cultural, historical, recreational, and natural activities in one setting. For more information visit www.nps.gov/cuva or www.dayinthevalley.com or call 330-657-2752 or 800-257-9477.

The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a nonprofit organization created to engage public support for the park and provide services to enhance public use and enjoyment of the park. For more information about the Conservancy and its membership program, visit www.conservancyforcvnp.org or call 330-657-2909.

The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) - an exceptional collaboration of Akron Children's Hospital, Akron General Health System, Northeast Ohio Medical University (formerly Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy), Summa Health System, The University of Akron and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation - is focused on patient-centered innovation and commercialization at the intersection of biomaterials and medicine. The strategic alignment of public and private support, accompanied with Akron's rich legacy in materials science, is working to pioneer the next generation of life-enhancing and life-saving innovation that will transform Akron into a model for biomedical discovery and enterprise and move the region toward a secure economic future by accelerating the creation of over 2,000 jobs during the next decade. For more information about ABIA, please visit www.abiakron.org.

-NPS-

Download a pdf of this news release.

Did You Know?

Water lilies in beaver marsh area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photo by NPS volunteer John Catalano.

Beaver in Cuyahoga Valley National Park impounded water to create a rich, diverse wetland in an area that was once an automobile junk yard? The area is now home to herons, turtles, amphibians, beavers, muskrats, otters, and many aquatic plants.