It is with mixed emotions we announce the departure of long-time Coalition Coordinator Emily Dieringer. She has accepted a position with Beaver Dam Community Hospital as a Community Health Policy Advocate working with the Blue Zones Project in Dodge County. As a Winnebago County Health Department employee she has served as Coalition Coordinator on and off since 2008. She led the state-wide smoke-free air law efforts within the County in 2008-2010, coordinated the expansion of the coalition’s work to include healthy eating, active living, and mental health initiatives identified by the Community Health Improvement Plan, and worked diligently to make it safer and easier for residents to walk and bike. She was also the coalition’s “resident graphic designer,” ensuring the structure model of the coalition was fitting for the partners and their work.
Emily represented Winnebago County and re:TH!NK in numerous regional and statewide groups and initiatives include the Fox Cities/Oshkosh Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Weight of the Fox Valley’s Active Communities Action Team, and healthTIDE’s Active Communities Team. She was a founding member and helped create the Wisconsin Active Communities Alliance and worked with a team from across the state to develop Wisconsin Active Together.
Thank you Emily for your 11 years of working with partners and residents to improve the health of Winnebago County!
Shout out to long-time coalition member Sarah Wright! She is the Program Manager for Weight of the Fox Valley (WOTFV) and has been an advocate for healthy eating and improved food systems in Winnebago County since joining re:TH!NK as a resident in 2011. Her passion for community health led the Winnebago County Health Department to hire Sarah on as staff in 2012 to lead re:TH!NK’s Farm 2 School efforts. She’s also had a leading role in healthy kids meals, Farm 2 Early Care and Education, and overcoming barriers to expanding local food markets. She has represented re:TH!NK and Winnebago County on numerous regional and statewide groups and committees including WI Farm 2 School Leadership Team, WI Healthy Food Systems Alliance, WI Local Food Network, and healthTIDE’s Healthy Food Retail Team. Sarah has been with WOTFV since 2017 and remains an active member of re:TH!NK’s Healthy Food & Beverages and Active Communities teams. Thank you Sarah for your dedication and passion!
Safe Routes to Parks (SRTP) is a campaign to implement environmental, policy, and program strategies that create safe and equitable access to parks for all people. Walking or bicycling to a community park provides double the opportunity for physical activity – on the way to the park and within it! One way residents can help their community work towards achieving safer routes to parks is by conducting a walk audit.
In a walk audit, community members go for a walk (or bike ride) together, noting what makes their streets feel safe and comfortable for walking and biking and what needs improvement. Audits can be informal and casual, or can include city council members, traffic engineers, and detailed forms. More on SRTP Walk Audits from Safe Route Partnership.
re:TH!NK’s Active Communities team tested and adapted several SRTP audit tools to create one that is easy to use and takes into local context. Click the link below to start working on your own walk audit that will help you improve safe access to parks for people walking and biking.
Master SRTP Audit Tool- FINAL
Safe Routes to Parks (SRTP) is the National Recreation and Parks Association’s campaign to implement environmental, policy, and program strategies that create safe and equitable access to parks for all people. These strategies align with the goals of the 10-Minute Walk campaign and are great tools and resources to increase access and safe walking connections to parks. re:TH!NK’s Active Communities team adopted the SRTP framework as a way to increase the number of Winnebago County residents using active transportation (biking/walking/public transit) to access low/ no cost local recreational facilities.
After the team surveyed residents to determine which parks were of high priority to access by walking and bicycling, the team began testing out SRTP audit tools. For the past two years, SRTP pilot audits have been conducted to determine what audit tool components will best suit the needs of Winnebago County residents. The team wanted to find a tool that would be the easiest for interested residents to use while still would capture important data needed to compile recommendations that would be shared with municipal staff and elected officials.
Team members enlisted the help of UW Oshkosh student and residents of the Stevens Park Neighborhood Association to test different SRTP audit tools and six SRTP audits have been conducted through June 2019. The audits look at park access, i.e. the biking and walking built infrastructure of the areas surrounding parks, not necessarily at the park amenities themselves.
The team compiled SRTP summary reports for each neighborhood around prioritized parks. The two audits conducted in summer 2019 were compiled by Area Health Education Center intern and Oshkosh resident Kiley Klauer as part of her internship with the Winnebago County Health Department. (Thank you Kiley!)
These pilot audits helped the team create a customized SRTP audit tool that can be used by resident groups and stakeholders.
Click the links below to review recommendations for improved active transportation access to parks in Winnebago County:
Thank you to East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC) for being a long-term and loyal partner of re:TH!NK. ECWRPC has done a lot of work with re:THINK’s Active Communities and Social Connectedness teams, especially in our latest project. ECWRPC staff Tyler DeBruin and Ashley Tracy from the Safe Routes to School program helped tremendously to make the pop-up crosswalk happen on 5th Avenue and Knapp Street in the Sacred Heard Neighborhood of Oshkosh. Tyler also co-presented at the 2019 Wisconsin Public Health Association conference about re:TH!NK’s whole experience with the pop-up crosswalk project. His technical expertise was a tremendous asset and contributed to the success of the project.
A temporary crosswalk has “popped up” at the corner of 5th Avenue and Knapp Street in Oshkosh. A pop-up is a resident-led approach to neighborhood building using short-term, low-cost and scale-able interventions to catalyze long-term change. Residents of Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association have identified this intersection as sometimes difficult and unsafe to cross. This intersection is close to Franklin Elementary School, Stoegbauer Park and St. Jude Catholic Church, places where children and families frequently go.
The goals of this temporary demonstration project are:
- Hear from residents about the real-world use of streets and public spaces
- Engage community members in activities that impact issues they’ve identified
- Test aspects of a project before making large financial investments
- Encourage people to work together in new ways, strengthening relationships between residents, non-profits, local businesses, and government agencies
Did you experience the pop-up crosswalk? Share your thoughts about it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/popupcrosswalk
The pop-up crosswalk will only be up through May 8, 2019 so make sure to check it out next time you’re out and about. Search #reTHINKcrosswalks on Facebook for additional project info!
This project could not have happened with out so many community partners combined efforts. Thank you to Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association, St. Jude the Apostle, East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Safe Routes to School program, Art City Wraps, Uptown, Oshkosh Storm Companies, Growing Oshkosh, UW Oshkosh Sociology and Geography Departments, and the City of Oshkosh.