Parks & Recreation Team up with Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt and Melanoma Foundation to Strike out Skin Cancer at South Florida Fair

IMG_1031On Saturday, January 16, Baseball Hall of Fame member Mike Schmidt and the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, in partnership with the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, unveiled Palm Beach County’s first BrightGuard™ Sunscreen Dispenser at the South Florida Fair and encouraged fairgoers to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Schmidt, a Palm Beach County resident who played 18 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995, made a special appearance at Palm Beach County’s exhibit. The 12-time All-Star and three-time National League MVP shared his story about surviving stage 3 melanoma.

“I spent my life in the sun without protection. I am currently a melanoma survivor because I see my dermatologist regularly,” said Schmidt. “I have partnered with the Richard David Kann Foundation whose mission is to increase the awareness and importance of sun safety. This mission, to educate our young and old alike, is a perfect fit for me.”

A baseball theme was prevalent among Palm Beach County Fair exhibits in anticipation of the new spring training stadium in West Palm Beach and tied in to this year’s South Florida Fair theme: Discover The Palm Beaches.

“We think it is vitally important for people of all ages to use our parks and stay active, but also be sun safe,” said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Call.

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Fairgoers who visited Parks and Recreation’s exhibit at the Fair learned about the many services provided by the department, but also received SunSmart™ prevention and detection brochures and free sunscreen from the BrightGuard™ Sunscreen Dispenser, courtesy of Katzen Eye Care & Laser Center, before heading out to the midway.

“Parks and Recreation provides safe outdoor sports facilities and opportunities for youth enrichment,” said Lisa Richman, executive director at the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, “and for 20 years the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation has been empowering families to make the necessary sun safe choices for healthy lives while enjoying our beautiful outdoor venues.”

For more information about the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, contact Lisa Richman at (561) 655-9655 or visit http://www.melanomafoundation.com.

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department operates more than 80 regional, district, community, beach, and neighborhood parks, spanning several thousand acres. Visit www.pbcparks.com to learn about opportunities for healthy, happy living.

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Tips on coexisting with our parks’ animals

Hundreds of animal species call our parks “home.” From wild birds to tortoises and bobcats to alligators, every animal plays an important role in each ecosystem found throughout Palm Beach County’s park system.

Watch this video to find out how you can safely enjoy our parks while helping to ensure our wild inhabitants enjoy their home.

Accomplish your New Year’s resolutions with #pbcParks!

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It’s time to start making lists filled with the goals we want to accomplish in 2016. Some popular aspirations include traveling or reading more often, spending more time with family and friends, or learning new hobbies. But of course, the most popular New Year’s resolutions are health-related.

According to Nielsen, the top two New Year’s resolutions in 2015 were to “stay fit and healthy” and “lose weight.” If the cost of a gym membership is keeping you at a standstill, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department has good news for you – you can accomplish these goals without a gym membership! The key to living a healthier lifestyle in 2016 can be found in a park near your home or job.

The most recent statistics from 2007 by the Florida Department of Health suggest that about 68% of Palm Beach County residents are inactive at work, and only about 36% of residents meet moderate physical activity recommendations.

It’s a core service of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department to facilitate health and wellness opportunities to help our park patrons achieve their health and fitness goals in the coming year!

Walking, running & jogging

If you’re just starting your physical fitness journey, consider talking with your health care provider first and begin by adding walking to your daily routine. Various health organizations indicate there are countless 80380240benefits of walking. Doctors with Mayo Clinic, a medical non-profit and worldwide leader in medical care, research and education, indicate that combined with fewer caloric intake, 30 minutes of brisk walking every day can burn about 150 calories daily. Adding to that, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) reports that walking as little as 30 minutes a day can have more than just physical benefits – including reduced risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and osteoporosis, reduced risk for depression and other mental illnesses, as well as contributing to a reduction in air pollution.

view from towerTake advantage of the many walking paths and nature trails throughout Palm Beach County’s park system. The multiuse paths may be used for walking, jogging, running, skating or bicycling. Or, take it easy with a walk on any of our five nature trails, like the one at Daggerwing Nature Center, you may come across animals like ospreys, butterflies or wood storks. In addition to the physical benefits that come with exercising outdoors, various organizations like the University of Washington report that “green spaces” like these help control mental fatigue, stress and a variety of other mental issues.

Tip: A healthy brain is key to accomplishing all of the other goals on that New Year’s resolutions list!

Have a bike you’d like to pull out in 2016? We provide bicycle paths and off-road bicycle trails, as well as bicycle rentals, at some of our park locations.

Strength training & stretching

Staff at the Mayo Clinic report that strength training can help reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently – a proven method for losing weight, looking and feeling better!

It’s never too late to start strength training! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the benefits of strength training in elderly individuals, reporting the reduction of signs and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, obesity and others chronic diseases in those who strength-train regularly.00043.MTS.Still001

If you’re looking to add strength training to your exercise plan in 2016, take advantage of the recently-installed Fitness Zone® at John Prince Park. It contains 17 pieces of resistance exercise equipment under the shade – and it’s free to use every day, sunrise-sunset. At other parks, like Loxahatchee Groves and Burt Aaronson South County Regional, you can go through exercise courses and stations to stretch, balance, kick, jump and more. To learn more about the health benefits of stretching from the Mayo Clinic, click here.

Water activities

Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University offers a helpful guide to the benefits of water exercise, like swimming. Among the many benefits of exercising in the water are increased muscular flexibility, circulation and an improvement to the physique.

78032109The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers six aquatic centers where visitors can workout in the water for a low cost. Kids and adults can enjoy water aerobics, lap swimming, water walking and other water-related exercises.

South Florida’s weather is perfect for water activities! In 2016, make it part of your plan to discover Palm Beach County’s beautiful water bodies. Thousands of park-goers already take advantage of boating, canoeing and kayaking opportunities at inland county parks like Riverbend and Okeeheelee, as well as access to the Intracoastal Waterway and ocean from saltwater boat ramps located in parks like Phil Foster and Bert Winters. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available at select locations.

Tip: Canoeing and kayaking allows you to have a relaxing day out, as well as improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility.

Kids’ fitness

Adults aren’t the only ones who may want to improve their physical health in the coming year. Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation offers multiple options to get kids up and moving – including playgrounds, recreation centers and splashparks.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today! Visit www.pbcparks.com and find a county park near you.

How Parks and Recreation helps prevent chronic diseases

Millions of residents and visitors use Palm Beach County’s parks each year to play sports like basketball and baseball, walk their dog, relax on the beach, or have a picnic. Aside from the social importance of these types of activities, visiting the park can have measurable health benefits. Multiple health organizations – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health – have linked physical activity in a park setting to a lower risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, arthritis and others.

Watch this short video to learn more about how you can help lower your risk for chronic diseases by visiting a park near you.

Annual Migration Celebration attracts 1100 to free lectures, activities, animals and more

Adults, kids and bird lovers alike packed Green Cay Nature Center on Saturday, November 14 to learn about migratory birds returning to the wetlands, along with reptiles and the Seminole Wars. Kids took part in various animal-related activities like an interactive puppet show and arts and crafts geared toward education and conservation. Bird lovers of all ages spent the day watching for dozens of different birds at the nature center – and at the end of the day, two peregrine falcons were released by the South Florida Wildlife Center.

Green Cay Nature Center is Palm Beach County’s newest nature center that overlooks 100 acres of constructed wetland and provides educational opportunities about this unique habitat. The wetland features 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk featuring interpretive signs about the habitat. The nature center includes a lecture hall, gift shop and live animals in an extensive exhibit room that highlights wetland attributes.

Green Cay Nature Center is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located at 12800 Hagen Ranch Road, west of Boynton Beach. Promoting stewardship of natural, archaeological and cultural sites is one of the core services of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.

Westgate residents enjoy free fun, win Thanksgiving turkeys at Annual Turkey Shoot

On November 12, families took to Westgate Park and Recreation Center to enjoy a night of free games, activities, and a chance to win Thanksgiving turkeys at the 12th Annual Westgate Turkey Shoot. Kids and adults participated in games for all ages – the turkey hunt, turkey pop, turkey sack race, basketball free throw shooting contest, three-point shooting contest and family shooting contest.

Turkeys were given to the first place winner of each age category – male and female. Twelve turkeys were awarded to participants, on behalf of the Westgate CRA and Rodriguez Charities.

“It brings the community together, they get a chance to see each other, normally they don’t see each other on a regular basis – and some of them win a free turkey for Thanksgiving,” said Lee Powell, Westgate’s Facility Manager.

Westgate Park and Recreation Center is located at 3691 Oswego Avenue in West Palm Beach and is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Amenities include two lighted basketball courts, a lighted multipurpose field, a playground, a soccer field, splashpark, game room, gymnasium and more. Staff at the facility regularly provide for youth enrichment, sports, and athletic programming for the Westgate Community by offering events like the Turkey Shoot, as well as after-school activities and sports leagues on a regular basis. To view the facility’s gym schedule and to find out what free events are happening at Westgate Park and Recreation Center, click here.

One of the core services of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is to provide for youth enrichment and sports/athletic programming and facilities. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.

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Living History Day attracts almost 1,000 to “Old Florida”

DSC_0073Guests took an unusual step back in time on Saturday, November 14 during Living History Day,  a combination of two events typically held on separate days: The Fall Muster at Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park, focused on battlefield education, and the Pioneer Family Farmstead at Riverbend Park, focused on pioneers and homesteaders education. Both events were free to the public.

The Fall Muster transported participants back to 1838, while the Pioneer Family Farmstead event recreated a typical day on the farmstead during the late 1800s to 1920s. Combining both events into one larger event provided an ideal opportunity for visitors to fully experience “Old Florida” through education about battles that took place at the parks, as well as how the settlers used the land after those battles.

When guests stepped foot on the period farmstead in Riverbend Park, they were welcomed to live folk music, a sugar cane press, sawmill demonstrations and gained an appreciation  and understanding of how pioneers spent their time on the land.  Afterward, they boarded shuttles and were taken to adjacent Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park where they experienced period army and Seminole camps, re-enactors, guest speakers, historical preservationists, weapon demonstrations, battlefield tours and gained and understanding and appreciation of how the militia and Seminoles lived and learned about the wars between them.

“The point behind the event and the parks is for people to come and have a feel of the history and experience how Old Florida use to be,” said John Welch, Riverbend Park naturalist.IMG_0898

Since acquiring the land, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department’s goal has been to preserve the natural, archaeological, and cultural significance of these properties and to provide access and education to the public. The Loxahatchee River, the first nationally designated wild and scenic river in Florida, passes through both parks, contributing to the environmental importance. The parks are also officially recognized as sites of two Second Seminole War Battles, and were home to pioneers and farmsteaders after those battles.

Riverbend Park and Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park are owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and are located at 9060 Indiantown Road in Jupiter, Florida. One of the core services of the Parks and Recreation Department is to promote stewardship of natural, archaeological and cultural sites. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.

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