PowerUp, State Parks partnership is honored with innovation award
The PowerUp in the Parks Rx program was recognized at the State Government Innovation Awards at the Minnesota History Center on Aug. 9.
The program is a partnership between the Minnesota and Wisconsin state parks and the HealthPartners PowerUp program in the St. Croix Valley and western Wisconsin.
Through the program, launched last fall, HealthPartners pediatricians at Stillwater Medical Group, HealthPartners Clinic — White Bear Lake, Westfields Hospital & Clinic and Amery Hospital & Clinic talked with families at well-child visits about the importance of outdoor recreation. Children ages 2-13 were given a Parks Passport, packed with fun activity suggestions, a guide to local and state parks in the region and a prescription for one hour or more of physical activity each day.
"We are thrilled that PowerUp in the Parks Rx is being recognized by the State Government Innovation Awards," said Erika Rivers, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Director. "Building awareness about the public health benefits of time outside and outdoor recreation is really gaining momentum nationally and we're excited to be working with HealthPartners at the forefront."
The State Government Innovation Award honored the Minnesota DNR Parks and Trails Division and HealthPartners for "cutting through red tape to provide opportunities and incentives for families to be physically active and enjoy the outdoors."
"Being active or playing — especially outside — is great for kids' physical and mental well-being," said Marna Canterbury, Director of Community Health for HealthPartners in the St. Croix Valley and western Wisconsin. "We were delighted that the state parks wanted to partner with us for this program and this award reinforces the message that it's important for families to get outside and get active."
Children were encouraged to attend two special PowerUp events for families, hosted by William O'Brien State Park and Willow River State Park. Bus transportation from HealthPartners clinic locations was provided for people to access the events without a park fee, thanks to a grant from the St. Croix Valley Foundation. Children and families were able to learn kayaking, fishing, camping skills, geocaching and more at William O'Brien State Park in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. Three weeks later, Willow River State Park in Hudson, Wisconsin, hosted a Halloween Adventure, offering night nature hikes, veggie walk, carnival games, stories and crafts.
"By writing these prescriptions as part of the PowerUp in the Parks Rx program, it sends a powerful message to families about the importance of getting outside and moving more," said Brian Cress, MD, a pediatrician at Stillwater Medical Group and the PowerUp medical advisor.
Download a copy of the PowerUp Parks Passport at powerup4kids.org/parks. Watch a video about the PowerUp in the Parks Rx program at youtu.be/giGkRFvkU90.