Guardians of Conservation and Zumba Fitness 
The Green Ambassadors Health Initiative 

Brief: Green Ambassadors of the Woodsy Owl Conservation Corps are piloting a health initiative under the project titled, “Guardians of Conservation.” The team composes of federal symbols and partners such as U.S. Forest Service Woodsy Owl, Frankee Bee and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Puddles the Blue Goose. Combined messages of conservation, wildlife and pollinator efforts have been interpreted through a unique method of delivery through theater, arts and dance that support a robust health and fitness initiative.  


The pilot is inspired by Green Ambassadors with key focuses to promote and engage audiences with the following: 1) fostering meaningful relationships by engaging people with federal symbols and messages of conservation, wildlife and pollinator efforts, 2) health and wellness through recreation and physical activity on public lands and within urban natural spaces 3) healthy eating initiatives through the foods and fruits of the Houston Greenbelt.

 

Justification: Green Ambassadors advocate the health initiative due to a plague affecting personal family members such as grandparents, parents and siblings. The local community is at high risk of developing food and environmentally related cancers and illnesses. Many have experienced losses, struggle and impacts of personal health and lifestyle. Personal reflection of environment, surroundings and lifestyle contributed to development of the pilot’s unique merger of arts, theatre and physical activity. Successful outreach has been implemented throughout the 2015-2016 school year through outlets such as school and community events. Green Ambassadors have been able to integrate art, dance and movement, with a cultural twist that excites people of all ages and inspires participation and action.  Zumba Fitness, a fitness program that is based upon Latin music and rhythms, and that maintains a consistent reach to diverse audiences,  has been used by Green Ambassadors as a successful pathway to reach a community members and youth with the spirit of dance and the holistic connection with nature.