If you build it, they will come

The expansion of the walking path at the Salem County Recreation Park is complete! The expanded path is a half of mile long and ADA complaint. It loops around softball and soccer fields along a wooded tree line. Walkers have been out in full force enjoying the expanded walking path.

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The installation of two exercise stations, a bike rack, and marker signs are expected to be installed in the beginning of October. Improvements to the parks such as benches, shrubs, trees, and a fence are in the future plans for this park. Position of equipment

Improving our parks will provide physical activity opportunities and can help people of all ages lead a more active lifestyle. According to the countyhealthrankings.org, in Salem County only 82 percent of the population has adequate access to exercise opportunities.  The NJ state average is 96 percent and the US top performers are at 92 percent. Investing in our parks and open space is an investment in our community.

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In 2015, Salem County overall health ranking improved #18 out of 21 NJ counties.  A small improvement from the 2014  ranking of #19. We will take it! Thank you Shaping NJ and the other organizations that invest in improving the health of Salem County.

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The Salem County Health Department is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles.

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Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

Salem County hosted its annual fair August 4-7. Our true county fair draws thousands of visitors over a four-day run. The Salem County fair is unique, its an agricultural fair with activities for everyone – pig scramble, dog show, skillet throwing contest, tractor pulls, horse show, 4H displays, best of show for fruits, veggies, and livestock. The fair is a showcase of what of our county is!

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With the large number of visitors to the fair, we decided to target the crowd with a healthy lifestyle display. Our fair booth hosted free blood pressure screenings, apples, oranges, jump ropes, healthy cookbooks and educational information. The biggest hit of our booth was the “Eat This, Exercise That” and “Rethink Your Drink” displays.

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The “Eat This, Exercise That” display showed how in the past 20 years our portion sizes have grown and how much exercise it would take to burn off the calories. The kids were surprised that to burn off that chocolate chip cookie, they would have to wash a car for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The “Rethink Your Drink” display showed the sugar content of popular drinks.

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Free Apples and Oranges!

To reinforce the “Rethink your Drink” display, we had a sugar guessing game. Everyone was invited to guess how many teaspoons of sugar was in their drink.  The bags of sugar were a great hands on aid for the kids and parents to get a real visual of what they are drinking! Everyone was surprised by the amounts of sugar and walked away rethinking their drinks.

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Sierra Mist 29 grams of sugar = 7 teaspoons of sugar Brisk Ice Tea 20 grams of sugar = 5 teaspoons of sugar

The fair was a success!

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If you want to read more about our unique county fair, follow the link: http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2015/08/5_reasons_the_salem_county_fair_remains_such_a_pop.html

Taking a moment to thank our partners!

Our path is under construction pictures will be coming soon.

It is a good time to take a moment to thank our Walk N Talk group and other partners. The Walk N Talk program has grown into a close network of friendships for the participants. Most of the group are senior citizens many living on their own and very eager to participate in social events.

The Walk N Talk group walks rain or shine. ppp

When the weather gets cold, we move indoors to the Health Department’s conference room. We walk in place with the guidance of Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home DVD.

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WALK WALK WALK

 

Our number one walker Howard Foxwell. He is a retired mailman. 36 years of mail service. That's a lot of miles!

Our number one walker Howard Foxwell. He is a retired mailman. 36 years of mail service. That’s a lot of miles!

 

Worlds Greatest Grandpa marching in place.

Worlds Greatest Grandpa marching in place.

Last year, we ran a pilot program with the Salem County Office of Aging to provide free lunches to our walking participants. The lunches were paid for by a grant to prevent nutritional deprivation in the elderly. To receive the free lunch participants must be a Salem County resident, over the age of 60, and fill out a small form.

The girls enjoying lunch!

The girls enjoying lunch!

 

Last lunch of 2014.

Last lunch of 2014.

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The pilot lunch program was a success and the lunches are back! The walking group is very happy. Thank you Office of Aging for taking care of our group of special people.  Thank you to the Walk N Talk group for your dedication to the program!July 2015 Walk Schedule

Victoria from the Salem County Office of Aging handing out lunches to our participants.

Victoria from the Salem County Office of Aging handing out lunches to our participants.

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Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. ~Henry Ford

No plan B or C needed. No crushed stone.  No alternate layout. The walking path can proceed forward as planned.  The report from our partners in the Engineers Department showed that the planned expansion of the walking path is not in wetlands.  Thank you Salem County Engineers Department for the excellent news!

On Monday June 8th,  Mary Blithe Health Educator/Public Health Nurse and community partner Steven Schalick Supervisor of Salem County Public Works had a meeting at the Salem County Recreation Park to discuss the expansion of the path. We walked the path, discussed the timeline, and took a selfie.

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Selfie with Mary Blithe Health Educator/Public Health Nurse and community partner Steven Schalick Supervisor of Salem County Public Works

During our meeting, Facilities Management employees were doing a clean up at the park and securing the trash receptacles to the fence. The park is hosting a lot of softball and soccer games this time of year. Construction of the path will begin July 1st. The exercise equipment and bike rack will be installed when received from the vendor.

Steven Schalick Supervisor of Salem County Public Works

Steven Schalick Supervisor of Salem County Public Works

It’s great to see the plans are moving forward. The anticipation from the community is building. The Move Yourself! Salem County walking club is ready to use the expanded path.Since, the beginning of the year we have had over a dozen walks on the existing path.  A new partnership with Gretchen Kilgore, Exercise Physiologist at Fox Rehabilitation, in the Memorial Hospital of Salem County provides the walking group with warm up and cool down exercises at our walks. We can’t wait to incorporate the exercise equipment into the routine.

June 2015 Walk Schedule

Move Yourself! Salem County Walk N Talk Flyer

“Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from flying”

Our projected expansion of the walking path has been stalled by wetlands. Salem County features more than 34,000 acres of meadow and marshland including tidal and freshwater wetlands. The question of wetlands was raised from the “wet” condition  of the surveyed areas of the proposed walking path.  We are currently working with the engineers of the Salem County to have a official inspection of the land. We may need to apply for special permit to build on the protected area.  Unfortunately, the special permit process is slow and we may need to rework the plan.

The planned walking path is along the tree line of the park. It’s very scenic and beautiful.  The ideal location to walk and take in nature. According to the wetland map the wetlands begin in the tree line the tree line and the regulations require a 50 foot buffer zone. A visit to the park is planned for next week to scout out an alternative location to lay the walking path. Ideas for the  layout of the path are looping around the softball fields and soccer fields.

Our partners have been great with helping the Salem County Health Department with these challenges. We are proceeding forward with the expansion plans despite the wetland issues. Construction  of the path is planned to begin in June while the weather is still ideal to lay the asphalt. The bike racks and exercise equipment are expected to be delivered in July.

Positive press announcing our grant award.

Positive press announcing our grant award.