Wildlfowers on the bayou

When District J Houston Council Member Edward Pollard informed his constituents that Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital was willing to be a partner in community wellness and nature programs, Sharon Young, charter member of Friends of Keegans Bayou, jumped at the opportunity to engage.

Young contacted Memorial Hermann and now they will host an event together. Birds, Blooms, and Bikes will take place April 13 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. starting at 9022 Willow Meadow Drive.

The hospital’s participation is part of its effort to bring exercise programs into communities.

“Memorial Hermann is proud to support and participate in Exercise is Medicine®, a global health initiative founded in 2007 by the American College of Sports Medicine (with the American Medical Association,” said Gillian Alexander, RN, vice president and chief nursing officer of Memorial Herman Southwest and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land hospitals. “The vision of the initiative is to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care and increase access to evidence-based physical activity resources for people of all abilities everywhere.”

“We want to improve health and well-being for individuals of all ages, cultures, and ethnicities,” Alexander added.

The hospital is offering the tools to improve the health and well-being of communities by incorporating exercise into healthcare and encouraging the use of parks and outdoor activities.

‘’We know that exercise is a crucial contributor to physical and mental well-being,” Alexander said.”Research has shown that exercise can be as effective as prescription medication in the management of several chronic diseases.”

This initiative matched well with the goal of the Friends of Keegans Bayou to get more people to use the Keegans Bayou Trail and Park.

In addition to underwriting a portion of Birds, Blooms and Bikes,  Memorial Hermann Southwest looks forward to engaging with the community through a StepHEALTHY Zumba class led by Memorial Hermann’s Exercise is Medicine team — and by sharing educational materials, resources and giveaways at events.

The April 13 event includes bird-sighting walks starting at 8:30 a.m. on Kegans Bayou Trail with a Bird Guide from the Audubon Society, Mary Ann Beauchemin. It will include information on the types of birds that make the bayou their habitat.

From 9:30 to 10 a.m., expert botanist Joe Liggio, a volunteer with Native Plants of Texas, will educate about the various wildflowers growing on the Bayou, planted by the Harris County Flood District. At 10 a.m., Memorial Hermann Step Healthy program Zumba dancers will lead an exercise program on the trail.

The culminating event is a bike ride led by members of a biking group as part of Neighbors to Trails. It’s a westward, 2.2 mile ride from the Bridge to Roark Road and back, all with no street intersections to navigate.

Neighborhoods to Trails, Southwest, has a complete guide to Keegans Bayou Trail and lots of information about at https://neighborhoodstotrails.org/friends-of-keegans-bayou-trail-and-park-manual/ . Information on the event is also posted there.

Young, a resident of District J, spoke of the value of neighbors meeting neighbors along the trail.

“The more our neighbors get out on the trail, and get to meet and know each other, make for a safer neighborhood,” Young said. “With quality greenspace available close to home, then people become more active. That is what we want to see.”

— By Arlene Nisson Lassin