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America Walks Launches New Walking College Webinar Series

America Walks’ third webinar series of 2015 is presented in conjunction with the Walking College.

In early May, America Walks awarded 25 Walking College Fellowships to local advocates for walking and walkable communities. These Fellows, who hail from 22 different states plus the island-nation of Palau, will participate in a five-month peer-mentoring program designed to expand their capacity as change agents in their home communities. The “Walking College Webinar Series” is a component of the program that is open to Fellows and non-Fellows alike.

Part 1 of the “Walking College Webinar Series” will be broadcast in June and July. These three webinars will cover the “why” and “how” of walkability, and will include nationally-renowned speakers, Dan Burden and Mark Fenton.

Thurs., June 18th (10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern): “Why Walking?”

Why do we care about walking, and why do we put so much effort into campaigning for walkable communities? In our first Walking College Webinar, we take an introspective look at the walking movement with the help of two of its most accomplished practitioners. Jonathon Stalls, Founder and Lead Itinerant with Walk2Connect, will discuss the human, psychosocial practice of walking and give examples from the increasing popular vogue of walking groups, clubs, and programs. Then, Jim Stone, Executive Director of Circulate San Diego will present “The Ecology of Walking” – an exploration of the interrelationships between walking, health, the environment, and the economy; and a chronology of the fall and rise of walking as transportation over the last 100 years.

Tues., June 23rd (11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern): “Designing Places for People”

After delving into the foundations of the walking movement, the Walking College Webinar Series gets into the nuts and bolts of walkable communities with the acknowledged expert in this area. Dan Burden, Director of Innovation and Inspiration with Blue Zones, has worked in 3,500 communities to transform streets and public spaces into livable, walkable communities that support healthy, affordable lifestyles. Along with Samantha Thomas, Blue Zones’ Built Environment Manager, Dan will teach us all to see through his eyes, as he surveys a desolate and abandoned downtown district, and visualizes its transformation into a modern, vibrant marketplace of human interaction – welcoming people of all ages, incomes, ethnicities, and religions.

Weds., July 15th (11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern): “Institutionalizing the Change”

With an understanding of the physical components of a walkable community, the next step is to redesign and rebuild our streets and public places – and that means engaging in the public policy process and working with the business establishment. No-one knows more about “changing the system” than celebrated speaker and walkability expert Mark Fenton, who recently authored a Practice Guide for the Every Body Walk! Collaborative titled, Making Walking Routine: Building Walkability Through Policies and Market Forces. Join Mark as he describes the most effective and achievable strategies for modifying both public- and private-sector procedures so they lead inevitably to walkable communities.

We are grateful to the Centers for Disease Control, American Public Health Association, New Jersey Department of Health, and Every Body Walk! Collaborative for sponsoring this program.