fond du lac
Why they stand out
Over the past several years, Fond du Lac has created a wonderful resource to promote physical activity in its 15-mile FdL Loop Trail. The trail connects between downtown and several neighborhoods, as well as more wooded and rural areas in the community. Colorful signage encourages use and helps people reach destinations more easily. The FdL Loop expansion is still underway, thanks to support from local leaders in the city’s capital improvement plans. Future plans include a vision to connect the trail to new ‘food forests,’ with fruit trees and other edible perennials and plants.
A robust collaboration among local health systems, city/county government, schools, civic groups and non profit organizations, and residents advocates has allowed much progress on this important local asset in Fond du Lac to flourish.
Additionally, many organizations within Fond du Lac’s coalition have taken steps to make health and physical activity part of the community’s culture. Several local physicians, for example, host regular ‘Walk with a Doc’ activities at the local shopping mall. The Farmers Market is held in a walkable downtown location and often provides a venue for bike and pedestrian safety demonstrations. Fond du Lac schools have also led the way, with Safe Routes to School initiatives and efforts to integrate walking and biking skills and safety into their curriculum. Middle school teachers took a leadership role in curriculum development, traveling to Omro, WI to meet one of the teachers that was instrumental in establishing that district’s successful bike-related curriculum. In Fond du Lac, the shared commitment to health continues to spark change across the entire community!
Approach to Equity
Living Well FDL and other community groups are working to form residential partnerships with communities experiencing the most barriers in accessing physical activity, focusing on relationships with people and groups in historically disinvested communities.
One example centers on the development of new food forests. One new food forest will be situated within a low-income community, and the coalition is working with groups that have existing ties and relationships in the community, such as the YMCA and a local church. In addition, the Fond du Lac school district has an equity coach that meets regularly with staff to collaborate on ways to partner with and reach marginalized populations.
Finally, the city also works closely with the recreation department to ensure that all children have opportunities to participate in free and low cost programs that support physical activity.