Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Body Walk in Harrison County, Saucier, West Wortham Elementary January 31, 2011

January 18th and 19th, Body Walk traveled to south Mississippi, all the way down to Saucier. Saucier is about 15 minutes north of Gulfport. Sheran Watkins, the Interim County Director and 4-H, booked Body Walk for her county.

Body Walk is all about the volunteers. Volunteers set up, take down, and work inside the exhibit. Over the years, many different groups have volunteered from teachers to college students, from entire football teams to firefighters. In Saucier, the volunteers were employees of two local Walgreens and members of the PTSA, parent, teacher, student association. They were GREAT volunteers. The entire set up AND a brief tour of the complete exhibit took 1 hr and 10 min.

Putting together the head frame.

Putting on the outside fabric.

Sassy Miller, the president of the PTSA helped organize the volunteers. She did a great job making sure there was water and snacks for everyone the day of the program, as well as working hard the entire time from when BW arrived, to when it left. Another important volunteer was Debbie Vaudiver, school nurse. She made sure all the classes came on time so that there were no gaps in the schedule.

We saw over 400 K-3rd grade. After they completed the tour, the entire 3rd grade took a quiz to see what they had learned about being healthy. They learned quite a bit.

The excellent volunteers

The children started the tour in the brain station. There they learned to wear a helmet and that a good breakfast prepares them for the day. Eating the right food fuels their brain so they can think clearly and make healthy choices all day long.

From there, they went to the mouth, the stomach, the small intestine and then the heart.

Everyone needs a healthy heart.

In this room, they learned how greasy fattening foods can lead to clogged arteries. Clogs make your heart work harder than it should. The smart thing to do is get plenty of exercise and to eat foods that help their body, not clog it up with junk.

Smoking is bad, it leads to lung disease and black lungs.

From the heart, they entered the lung station. This room is always a hit with kids because they see up close and personal what a healthy pink lung looks like and what a diseased black lung looks like. They also breath through a straw with their nose pinched shut to simulate emphysema. This exercise reinforces the message that healthy lungs are important and they should always make choices to keep their lungs healthy.

Germs get everywhere. Wash your hands!

The last station is the skin station. Skin is the biggest organ of the body. It regulates body temperature and is the first line of defense to keep harmful germs out of the body. Here they learned how easily germs spread, why they should cover sneezes and why they should wash their hands. They also learned how important it is to protect their skin from the sun, and not just in the summer time.

After they finished the tour, each child received a Body Walk activity book.

Next up, Carroll county.


Body Walk Desoto County, Hernando January 14, 2011

The snow cannot stop Body Walk from bringing the message of good health and good nutrition. (It might slow it down.) Body Walk had a whirlwind two days in Desoto. We set up at Oak Grove Central Elementary school in Hernando. Set up was at 7:30 am, and lemme tell you, it was COLD. Luckily, there was plenty of help on hand ready to go. High school honors students, teachers, and parent volunteers went right to work getting the truck unloaded so we could get in the warm gym.

The set up was great. Everyone listened and worked well together. By 8:36, we had the entire exhibit set up and ready to go. Those of you who have helped set up Body Walk before know what an accomplishment this is. For everyone else, set up on average takes two hours. We got it put together so fast, the honor students had time to take a short break before they settled into their rooms and took up their job as station presenters.


Body Walk volunteers

The amazing set up crew/station presenters.

Joy Anderson, County Director for Desoto county booked Body Walk for her county. She is great to work with, she’s always very organized and this trip was no exception. This trip was particularly challenging because we were supposed to set up Monday and see students Monday through Thursday. Because of all the sleet and snow, schools were closed and roads were impassable. We were able to see one school and were lucky that many of the volunteers were flexible and able to come participate.


Joy was ably assisted by Jessica Lindsey, 4-H, Amy Zwersche, 4-H, and Paula Moore, Program Assistant.  In addition to the Extension Staff, Coach Christy Adams and Principal Jerry Darnell were a great help. Rounding out the volunteers were parents and other teachers who made the two days go very smoothly. One parent came to help because her son went through on Wednesday and he was so impressed, and talked about it so much, she had to come on Thursday to see what it was all about.


Body Walk station volunteers

Station volunteers/take down crew

Our special volunteer Wednesday was the Mayor of Hernando, Chip Johnson. Mayor Johnson is committed to reducing obesity in Hernando. He has led work to repair and build sidewalks, add walking trails to the city park and has been a featured speaker at the Weight of the Nation conference and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Obesity Conference. At Body Walk, he taught for a little while in the mouth station. Then he toured with one group of students so he could experience the rest of the exhibit. Body Walk is committed to helping reduce childhood obesity in Mississippi. We teach not only what healthy foods are, but also, what is a proper portion of a healthy food. We show students how much fat is in snack foods, and how much sugar is in colas. We then contrast that information with the alternatives; fruit, vegetables, and milk or water for a healthy beverage.



chip johnson, body walk, hernano mississippi

Mayor Chip Johnson

Body Walk had a great trip north. Next up, Harrison County, one of Mississippi’s gulf counties. Hopefully, a trip to the extreme southern end of the state will be as great an experience as this trip to the extreme northern end was.




Body Walk in Marion County, Columbia January 13, 2011

Body Walk started the year off with a trip to Marion county. Amanda Woods, County Director for Marion county booked Body WAlk for her county and was hands on for the all aspects of the Body Walk experience. She was ably assisted by Renee Stringer, EFNEP, and Kathy Petty, 4-H Program Assistant.

We set up in the front part of the Marion County expo center which is always a fun challenge. While the room is plenty big enough, the ceiling is a tad low. Fortunately, ceiling tiles pop up. Whew!

Members from the Junior Auxiliary, a local civic organization, and the Crown Club, the high school version of JA, were on hand to help set up. Tiffany Holmes led the effort by organizing the volunteers and the food for everyone. She made sure all the station presenters had water to drink. Talking all day is a thirsty business. They all did a great job setting up and serving as volunteers inside the exhibit. The Crown Club girls were very enthusiastic, but they had nothing on my favorite JA, Danon Vest. She has volunteered before, always for the heart station and has done a fantastic job. This year, she went all out.

Looking good and ready to teach about the heart.

She has heart pajamas, heart earrings and even Hardy Heart is impressed.

Touring the Body Walk were over 400 second graders from East Marion, West Marion, Columbia Elementary, and Columbia Academy.

If you don't brush, your mouth could look like Mr. Gross Mouth

Eat real food, not junk.

22 feet is A LOT of intestines

I choose, the PINK lung!

Strong muscles let you move, and smile

The students enjoyed learning how to be health from all our great station presenters.

Next stop, Desoto county.