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Billings Selected to Participate in Iowa Walking College

Post Date:05/02/2019 12:26 PM

Kesha BillingsTen fellows have been accepted to join the 2019 Iowa Walking College, a program facilitated by the Healthiest State Initiative and the Iowa Department of Public Health, including Kesha Billings, associate planner and trails coordinator for the City of Marion. 

The Iowa Walking College is a six-month program where fellows will explore ways to improve walkability in their communities. 

Iowa Walking College fellows will learn how to evaluate built environments, conduct walk audits and secure funding for walkability projects. They’ll also learn how to act as community change agents and build relationships with diverse stakeholders.

“We are excited to continue expanding our network of local walkability advocates,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative. “The Class of 2019 is a diverse group, representing a variety of previous walkability and professional experiences. The fellows will have a lot to learn from one another.” 

The 2019 Iowa Walking College fellows are: 
• Abigail Chihak, Dallas County Health Department
• Amber Farnan, Glenwood City Clerk
• Beth Olsen, Director of Cass County Public Health
• Chris Burch, Des Moines Marathon Race Director
• Jessica Bruns, business professional in Glidden
• Julie Winter, community planner in Marshalltown 
• Kesha Billings, trails coordinator in Marion
• Rebeckah Allgood, community advocate in Wilton
• Shannon Zoffka, Tama County Public Health
• Claire Shefchik, Tama County Public Health

The 2019 Iowa Walking College will convene for the first time on May 15 in Ames where they will participate in a walk audit and begin action planning for their own community. The coursework will continue through the summer and fall with additional in-person meetings and online assignments. 

The Iowa Walking College was launched in 2016 as a pilot before welcoming 15 fellows in 2017 and 12 in 2018. The six-module curriculum is modeled on the America Walks National Walking College and includes in-person meetings as well as online coursework. 

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