Corpus Christi – The Nueces County office of the Texas A&M University Agrilife Extension Service held a kick-off event for the first Walk Across Texas on Saturday Feb 13. at West Guth Park in Corpus Christi. Walk Across Texas is a free health program being implemented by the Texas A&M University Agrilife Extension Service all across the state as a way to encourage the public to get healthy and active.

According to Lynn Mutz and Norma Davila from the Nueces County Agrilife Extension Service Office, this is the first year that the event is being done in Nueces County with the last day for registration being Sunday, Feb. 14.

The kick-off event started with a walk in the park at 9:00 A.M. It continued with several activities and information booths from different organizations, agencies, and businesses from the local area. Aside from the Agrilife Extension office, other groups presenting information included the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department, Corpus Christi Fire Department, Coastal Bend Health Education Center, the MEND Foundation, Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District, Nueces County Master Gardeners, Nueces County 4-H Youth, Coastal Synergy Associates and ZuMama Fitness.

Some of the activities that participants were able to learn about and try were tai chi, Zumba, and making a smoothie on a blender bike. There were also free health screens, gardening tips to encourage healthier eating, a trailer filled with sand and water showing the importance of protecting our natural water resources and information on the services offered by the city parks and recreation department. Local firefighters were at the park to let the public know the importance of fire safety in the home and provide information on how to attain free home safety inspections and free smoke alarms with installation.

Participants were able to register for Walk Across Texas, learn about other ways to help stay healthy, and even win health related door prizes such as exercise equipment, services from vendors, and items to help make healthier foods and beverages.

Health agents did not have a count of the number of people that took part in the kick-off event but felt the turnout was very good. There are already tentative plans to expand for next year based on the interest the public has shown this year. Other programs that will be administered by the Agrilife Extension Service include a cooking school and recruiting for the health youth ambassadorship.

Registration is open till February 14 and can be done on the Walk Across Texas website at www.walkacrosstexas.tamu.edu. For more information on this and other programs please go to the Nueces Co Agrilife Extension website at nueces.agrilife.org, or call the office Monday through Friday at (361)767-5216.