The Unplug Transformation Kit

Unplug Illinois! Today, Illinois Residents face these issues:

Engaged Communities
  • Residents of African-American neighborhoods or neighborhoods with a high percentage of residents under the poverty level were significantly less likely to have parks and green spaces in their communities (Powell & Slater, 2004).
  • Nearly one-third of high school students play video games for 3 or more hours per day (CDC).
  • Nearly half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, making it difficult for many to access nature-based experiences (Miller, 2005). By 2050 this number is expected to grow to 66%.
  • Illinois is ranked 48thout of the 50 states in the amount of publicly accessible open space per capita.

Park and recreation agencies in Illinois provides unlimited outlets that lead to an Engaged Communities:

We provide the glue that holds our community together.

  • The University of Illinois Landscape and Human Health Laboratory recently found that inner-city residents that lived closer to green spaces enjoyed more social activities, had more visitors, know more of their neighbors, and possessed a stronger sense of belonging.
  • A scientific study of multiple recreation/community centers found that member’s main benefits included a place to play, meditate, rest, or gather.
  • Crimes by and against children dropped after a Bakersfield school district began an after-school program for over 1,300 students. Lewd acts against children dropped by 46% within the district boundaries, compared to a drop of only 8% in the rest of the city.

Of the children in beyond school programs, 67% receive free or reduced lunch. Park and recreation agencies provide nearly 560,000,000 healthy meals to children through beyond-school and day camp programs every year.

Healthy Communities

Inactivity

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recently found that children spend more than 7 hours per day in front of a screen (TV, computer, videogames, etc.).
  • Nearly 40% of Americans do not engage in any leisure-time physical activity (U.S. National Institute of Health).

Obesity

  • Nearly one-third of Americans are clinically obese and this number has nearly doubled since 1980 (U.S. Center for Disease Control).
  • Obese employees lost 184 days of work per 100 staff compared to 14 days per 100 staff for people with normal Body Mass Index.

Chronic Disease

  • U.S. Center for Disease Control data indicates Americans spend nearly 90% of their health care dollars on treating chronic diseases.
  • The total costs of heart disease and stroke in 2010 were estimated to be $315.4 billion.
  • The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion.

Increasing Health Care Costs

  • Productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. Employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually.
  • Park and Recreation Agencies in Illinois provide your opportunity to get active, connect with nature and lower your health care costs.
  • Young adults are two or three times more physically active when parks or recreation facilities are accessible compared with young adults that do not have the same opportunity (letsmove.gov). In children with attention disorders and in teens with behavioral disorders, contact with nature has resulted in significant improvement (University of Illinois Landscape & Human Health Lab).

Visit our many options to exercise and recreate:

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that individuals who recreate and/or exercise to maintain a healthy weight save over $1,500 in health care costs per year.
  • The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that recreation and access to nature have positive effects on PTSD, diabetes, heart disease, ADHD and depression.
Sustainable Environments

Unplug Illinois! Today, Illinois Residents face these issues:

Air Pollution

  • Chicago ranks in the top 25 worst cities for short term air pollution events.
  • Illinois is in the top 10 for asthma prevalence and emergency room visits for children. Childhood asthma has doubled in the U.S. in the last 20 years.
  • Prenatal exposure to higher levels of air pollution has been linked to ADHD.

Urbanization & Tree Cover Loss

  • Only 20% of American households have a park or recreation facility within ½ mile from their house.
  • The U.S. has lost 3 million hectares of tree cover since 1990 (Earth Policy Institute). The world has lost 135 million hectares.
  • Chicago’s tree cover amounts to 11% of its total area. The national average for cities is 27% and the recommended amount is 40% (Watt & Gunther, 2010).

Loss of Diversity & Invasive Species

  • In 1867, approximately 21 million acres of Illinois was covered in prairie. Today, only 6,000 acres remain.
  • It is estimated that 90% of all living things in the Illinois River are Asian Carp.

Park and Recreation Agencies in Illinois transforms your community through unlimited park and recreation outlets that lead to sustainable environments:

  • Community park and recreation agencies in Illinois protect nearly 25,000 acres of natural areas and manage nearly 3,000 miles of trails.
  • Illinois has 1.5 million acres of public land available for outdoor recreation. Of those lands, 15% are managed by county forest preserve and conservation districts and 10% are managed by community park and recreation agencies.
  • Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.
    • The evaporation from a single large tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room-size air conditioners operating 24-hours per day.
    • Trees save U.S. communities $400 billion dollars in storm water retention.
    • Approximately 84% of Illinoisans believed that more wildlife habitats should be protected and restored.
Thriving Economies

Public parks and recreation is the generator of thriving economies:

  • Public parks and recreation are a $3 billion dollar industry in Illinois alone. In the U.S., outdoor recreation accounted for $646 billion dollars of user spending (gear, equipment, travel-related expenses) per year.
  • Nearly 63,000 people are employed by Illinois public park and recreation agencies.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of jobs in parks and recreation to increase by 22% over the next decade.
  • Trees save US Communities $400 billion in storm water retention.
  • On average, a community garden receives a $500 return on investment per plot (National Gardening Association, 2009).
  • Operationally, Illinois public park and recreation agencies spend over 1/3 of a billion dollars per year with local businesses, contractors, and suppliers.
  • Illinois regional trail data indicates trail users spend $30.40 per visit.
  • Day camp programs are a $15 billion dollar industry in the U.S.

Public parks and recreation is the generator of thriving economies:

  • Public parks and recreation are a $3 billion dollar industry in Illinois alone. In the U.S., outdoor recreation accounted for $646 billion dollars of user spending (gear, equipment, travel-related expenses) per year.
  • Nearly 63,000 people are employed by Illinois public park and recreation agencies.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of jobs in parks and recreation to increase by 22% over the next decade.
  • Trees save US Communities $400 billion in storm water retention.
  • On average, a community garden receives a $500 return on investment per plot (National Gardening Association, 2009).
  • Operationally, Illinois public park and recreation agencies spend over 1/3 of a billion dollars per year with local businesses, contractors, and suppliers.
  • Illinois regional trail data indicates trail users spend $30.40 per visit.
  • Day camp programs are a $15 billion dollar industry in the U.S.