With support from both the Degenstein Foundation of Sunbury and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds of Williamsport, this summer a team of Bucknell students and faculty have partnered with The Improved Milton Experience (T.I.M.E.) to revive and expand a fitness program that links wellness and history.
The Milton Historic Downtown Walking Tour, created in 2005, aimed to promote fitness and health, historic preservation, and education and, in its original form, featured 16 stops at over 60 photo and literature kiosks that explained the history of Milton. Now, with the help of mobile technology, this walking tour has become a pilot project for a new interactive smartphone app that delivers relevant, historical information at the stops on the path and tracks steps taken
Bucknell students, Chase Kravetz and Austin O’Neill along with their mentors, Stu Thompson (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Katie Faull (Comparative Humanities) have been working on creating virtual walking paths in the Susquehanna Valley that can be followed with the student-created “Ready, Set, Fit” app that leverages local history, culture, and botany to incentivize people to get out into the community and exercise. Their project has taken them to partner with local community organizations that already have downtown walking tours which can be brought into the digital age. Helping the Bucknell team is Jesse Newcomer, a Bloomsburg University graduate student and native of Milton, who is interning this summer with George Venios, Director of T.I.M.E. and Vanessa Venios, Events Coordinator of T.I.M.E. to update the Milton in Motion program.
Both the Bucknell app and the Milton in Motion program have their roots in collaborations with local health providers. In the face of the opioid epidemic plaguing our area, Geisinger physicians are interested in being able to prescribe exercise to patients instead of painkillers. The Ready Set Fit app is designed with exactly this purpose in mind. Similarly, the Milton in Motion program was designed a decade ago in collaboration with Evangelical Hospital in Lewisburg, to encourage Milton residents to get out and walk around the historic downtown and accumulate both miles and points that could be redeemed for prizes.
The new partnership with the Bucknell developed app will allow both the Milton Historic Walking Tour and the Milton State Park to become the sites of exercise and learning. In conjunction with Friends of the Milton State Park and the Pennsylvania DCNR’s program “Think Outside” the next path to be developed for the app will be a tour of the Milton State Park that highlights the cultural and natural history of the island, at the same time as tracking the user’s fitness data. Future new paths of The Milton Historic Downtown Walking Tour will include natural and arts elements as well.
This fall, the new digital “Milton in Motion” program will be launched and piloted by T.I.M.E.’s Teen Leaders who will be using the app and providing feedback to the Bucknell team, demonstrating the central role of the area’s young people in revitalizing its past and future.
In attendance at the event on Monday July 17th at 3:00pm at the Milton State Park:
- Paul Yost, President of the Friends of the Milton State Park
- John Clifford, Park Manager, Milton State Park DCNR
- John Meckley, Chairman-Elect Board of Directors, Evangelical Hospital, Lewisburg
- Katie Faull, Professor of German and Humanities, Bucknell University
- Stu Thompson, Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bucknell University
- Chris Martine, Burpee Professor of Botany, Bucknell University
- George Venios, Executive Director, T.I.M.E.
- Vanessa Venios, Events Coordinator, T.I.M.E.
- Chase Kravetz, Summer Intern, RSF project, Bucknell University
- Jesse Newcomer, Summer Intern, T.I.M.E.