Park Walks programme

Heart Foundation Walking Park Walks
Published: 10 April 2015
Last edited: 24 February 2022
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Summary

Heart Foundation Walking (HFW) is Australia’s largest network of free community based walking groups with over 20,000 active participants and 1300 walking groups nationally. HFW aims to make regular physical activity enjoyable and easy, especially for people not used to being active. Many of the walks are organized in protected areas through the “Park Walks” program. HFW supports volunteer Walk Organizers and lists all Park Walk events nationally on its website.

Classifications

Region
Oceania
Scale of implementation
National
Ecosystem
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Theme
Health and human wellbeing
Challenges
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss

Location

Australia

Impacts

HFW-Park Walks is a collaboration between the Heart Foundation and State-based Parks organisations in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. It aims to encourage HFW participants and the general public to visit green spaces by joining free walks in national, recreation parks and botanic gardens. Walks are led by HFW Organisers, Rangers or volunteers. Since its inception in 2006, 3165 people participated in 136 Park Walks, with an average of 24 people each walk. Evaluation showed 83% of participants rated the walk as very enjoyable. Primary benefits were learning about flora and fauna, socialising and trying new walks. The majority (60%) of participants intended to re-visit. The majority of Rangers (90%) reported high value in hosting a Park Walk to broaden profile and attract more walkers to parks. Online promotion and word of mouth have been the most successful methods of advertising. HFW-Park Walks demonstrates a successful model for collaboration between volunteers, non-government and government agencies to increase opportunities for physical activity while exploring new natural environments.

Contributed by

Kyle.Schofield@heartfoundation.org.au's picture

Kyle Schofield