Big dreams can come true! Inspired by the neighborhood children, Aldo Leopold Park is reimagined and we’re celebrating! Healthy Kids Collaborative, a program of UW Health, partnered with kids in the Aldo Leopold Park neighborhood to reimagine the places where they lived, went to school and played. Healthy Kids joined with partners at Leopold Elementary School to create the Youth Empowerment Program. Envisioned as a way to empower students to be advocates and leaders in their school and community, Healthy Kids equipped 3rd, 4th and 5th graders with cameras to capture the world through their eyes. Healthy Kids posed the question, “What makes it easy or hard to be active in your neighborhood?” From this, students reminded us that it is much more fun to bike if you have somewhere fun to go. “Like a dirt bicycle track,” someone suggested. This group presented their findings to adults – City planners, elected officials and, ultimately, the staff at Madison Parks.
It was then Madison Parks’ turn to reimagine; to look at a map and see a pump track that would bring vitality to a park – with kids gathering and playing throughout the day. They listened to the students, their youngest residents, and considered other fun bike amenities – a single-track mountain biking path and the soon-to-be-finished Shred To School course – that could transform Aldo Leopold Park into a center for bike fun.
This project collaboration was made possible, in part, with the consultation of the International Mountain Bike Association, with funding provided by the Dane County PARC and Ride grant and the generous donation of the Saris Foundation, through the Madison Parks Foundation. The Saris Foundation believes every child deserves a fun, safe, and energizing place to ride bikes. Their mission is to invest in bike park projects in underserved communities worldwide. “We are thrilled to support this project through a public private partnership. I’m grateful for all the partners that made this possible and excited for this bike park to inspire and motivate our youth, and greatly enhance our community,” said Chris Fortune, Saris Foundation Founder.
The community is invited to the Aldo Leopold Park Reimagined Celebration on Tuesday, August 2 as we dedicate the Saris Foundation Bike Park at Aldo Leopold Park and celebrate 10 years of the Healthy Kids Collaborative. The afternoon will have free activities, giveaways and fun for all ages concluding with a movie. We encourage event guests to walk or ride their bike to the event, as street parking is limited. “We are thrilled to celebrate this fun addition to Aldo Leopold Park and the youth voice that helped make it a reality. Healthy Kids is always excited to put Ideas Into Action for children’s health and wellbeing in Dane County,” said Julia Stanley, Program Manager for Healthy Kids.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: Tuesday, August 2, 2022
1:00-4:00pm MSCR ART CART
3:30-7:30pm Madison Public Library & Bubbler Artist
3:45 pm Short Presentation & Ribbon Cutting
3:45 – 5pm Dream Bus
4:30 & 5:30pm Beginner pump track clinics by Safe Routes to Schools
4:30-7pm Practice your skills mountain bike skills led by Capital Off-Road Pathfinders
4:30-7:30pm MSCR FIT2GO
4:30-7:30pm Madison Reading Project
5-7pm MSCR Girls Inc.
6pm Neighborhood bike ride led by Bike Fitchburg
7:00pm Movie: Luca (2021)
No bike? No helmet? No problem! Bikes and helmets will be available for community members to use during the event thanks to Bikequity and other partners.
The Healthy Kids Collaborative was established in 2011 with a diverse group of Dane County partners who banded together to work on a high-level, policy-change to combat the childhood obesity epidemic. From this core group of 10 leading organizations, Healthy Kids Collaborative has grown into a coalition of health champions – over 500 strong, working to ensure that every child, from every neighborhood, has the opportunity to be healthy. Recognizing that a child’s health and wellness are integrally tied to place – to where they live, where they go to school, and where they play.