Promoting America Walks

Meet Kathy Sykes!

1. What’s your day job and how do you think your professional experience fits in with the mission of America Walks?

Since I retired last year, I’ve been volunteering and taking on new roles with a number of my professional organizations that address both public health and aging. I’m also a member of a local Main Street organization in my neighborhood. All of these organizations promote health and well-being. And, of course, walking plays  an important role in the health and well-being of people and communities.

2. In a sentence or less, describe why walking matters to you.

For me, walking is my way of staying fit and engaged in my neighborhood and community.

3. Name one thing anyone can do to make their community more walkable.

Walking is a local matter, it’s critical to the local community.  I would encourage people to get involved with organizations that conduct walking audits – that could mean getting involved with America Walks, or, in Washington D.C., with our Age-Friendly Task Force. Walking audits are a tool that helps one focus on ways to improve the built environment. By participating in a walking audit and providing the results to local elected officials, one can make their community more walkable, sustainable and safe.

4. What’s your favorite place to walk?

By far, my favorite place to walk is my local neighborhood in the nearby Rock Creek Park, especially on Sundays. On Sundays, the park closes many of its roads to traffic, allowing people of all ages and abilities to come out and stroll, jog, bike, or roller skate in this safe and beautiful setting. The park has a great canopy cover, with historic trees that provide a quiet and gorgeous place to walk. DC’s noisy streets seem miles away in this calm and inviting special place and one can escape, lose track of time and enjoy nature and walk for miles and miles.

5. If you could go for a walk with any living person, who would it be?

My brother, Sven. Since we were kids, we’ve always taken walks together in green spaces in Madison, Wisconsin, where we grew up. We often went on walks with our mother, Marguerite, who introduced us to the importance of walking and exploring nature. She would teach us the names of native flowers, trees, and butterflies, as well as recognize bird calls. She was responsible for instilling in us the joy of walking.