Healthy Kids Initiative Involving UNCW Makes Walking an Exercise in Exploration

Friday, June 03, 2016

A children’s health initiative that involves UNCW will celebrate the grand opening of two Kids In Parks TRACK trails at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 4. The trails, at Elizabeth Brinkley Park in Lake Waccamaw and Town Creek Park in Brunswick County, are designed to encourage physical activity by adding a bit of adventure to an ordinary outdoor hike.

Kiosks placed along the park trails include brochures that encourage children to explore as they exercise by identifying animals and plants they see or participating in scavenger hunts and other activities.

“Our hope with this regional Kids in Parks TRACK trail program is to connect kids and their families with fun outdoor activities that promote physical activity and foster meaningful connection to nature,” said Katelyn Matney, coordinator of the Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) in UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services.

The regional initiative includes the Southeastern North Carolina Regional Health Collaborative (SENCRHC) at UNCW, the Brunswick County Parks and Recreation Department, Columbus County Parks and Recreation Department, the town of Lake Waccamaw, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Brunswick County Health Services and the Columbus County Health Department.

SENCRHC is a regional health partnership based in the CHC at UNCW. Its purpose is to improve individual and community health in southeastern North Carolina through targeted programs and activities.

TRACK trails are part of a network of more than 100 self-guided adventure trails in seven states and Washington, D.C. A TRACK trail was dedicated last year at Smith Creek Park in New Hanover County, and similar trails are in the works at Millers Pond in Pender County and Onslow Pines in Onslow County. Kids can register their participation and earn prizes by going to

The public is welcome to attend Saturday’s ceremonies. For more information about the grand opening events, please email

-- Tricia Vance