How I ended up on a street corner with my camera slung over one shoulder, a messenger bag full of extra forms (weighing about 20 pounds) flung over the other, two clip boards; one with an AARP sticker and a measuring tape (also AARP logoed) is a really long story. It started in 2010 at TEDx Lansing. One of the guest speakers from the event was Rory Neuner. Rory was the state network manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The title of her TED talk was Creating a Livable Lansing. As someone who was putting together a project to walk all the city streets of Lansing, I thought she would be someone I might like to network with. The opportunity came a few months later. After introductions she informed me of a group that was also planning to walk all the streets in Lansing with the intent to collect data on the sidewalk’s walk-ability. They were looking for volunteers and asked if she could pass my information to them. I didn’t hear from anyone but I did learn about a volunteer meeting with Mid-MEAC and AARP who were coordinating this walkability audit and I went to that. At the meeting I ambitiously signed up for three sections. A month later I received my Walkability Study Volunteer Package. Since then I have been working that section into my City Saunters. Walking and promoting Lansing; making it safer and a place people want to come to is also the goals of many non-profits around this area. I have had the great fortune of connecting with quite a few of these groups. One of these connections has been with Mid-MEAC: Mid Michigan Environmental Action Council. This group was founded in 1993 to focus on environmental issues in the Mid Michigan area. They clean the rivers, promote green transportation and sustainable land use. They recently were awarded a $3 million Sustainable Community Regional Planning grant from HUD. This group also promotes and assists with one of Lansing’s newest and greatest summer events; the Capital City Dragon Boat Racing. All proceed from this fantastic event benefit Mid-MEAC and their efforts to improve the downtown river front area.
If you are ever interested in volunteering click here! It was through my photographic coverage of this event that I met the director of Mid-MEAC, Julie Powers. I have never been hugged by someone I hadn’t met like I was hugged by her! There’s a lot of love in Lansing if you take time to walk to it.
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