Upcoming Events

Townhall Meeting on Health Set for February

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a 5-year grant to Alabama Extension at Auburn University to increase access to healthier foods and safe, affordable places for physical activity. The project, ALProHealth, aims to support community coalitions in 13 Alabama counties with an adult obesity prevalence of greater than 40%.

Walking is a good exercise choice for some people.

The Lowndes County Extension office invites you to a Community Conversation to discuss the health and wellness of our community. The meeting will be led by the David Mathews Center for Civic Life (DMC) and will help identify and map key community assets and challenges. It also will challenge the community to identify a shared sense of direction. Following the conclusion of the Community Conversation, DMC staff will write a comprehensive report on the county’s assets, challenges, partnerships and action ideas.

This Community Conversation will take place at the Lowndes County Commission Auditorium, 205 East Tuskeena Street, Hayneville, Alabama 36040. The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. on February 13, 2019.

Fresh vegetables

After the Community Conversation, there will be an opportunity for you or a representative from your organization to become part of the ALProHealth Community Coalition. While developing an action plan and establishing roles and responsibilities, the coalition will initially meet monthly for approximately one hour. The goal of the coalition is to use findings from the Community Conversations to plan and implement opportunities to ultimately improve access to healthy food and physical activity.

ALProHealth is more than just health. It also will have an economic impact in our community. Other cities around the nation have proved healthy environments lead to economically prosperous environments. By combining revitalization efforts and community health policies, economic regeneration is occurring in small, rural towns.

Please join us for this important opportunity to make positive improvements to our community.

For more information and to register your attendance, please contact Tana Shealey at the Lowndes County Extension Office, 334.548.2315 or 334.419.5681.

What Have You Done for Your Heart Lately?

Contributed by: Helen H Jones, Human Science Extension Agent, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health

It is almost February. Where did January go and all those New Year’s resolutions? You were going to
stop smoking and start exercising and eating better, but then life happened and those resolutions
went out the door. Just remember, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” and try again. Your heart will appreciate it.  February is Heart Health Month. Here are some suggestions to improve your heart health.

Stop Smoking

No smoking! If you are a smoker – stop. Research shows that a person’s risk of heart attack greatly
increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have
more than twice the risk of heart attack than nonsmokers.

Helen Jones, a regional Extension agent in human nutrition, diet and health offers the following
tips to improve your chances of success when quitting smoking.

  • Support groups. Online support groups are available to help. Contact the American Lung Association
    for more information at http://www.lung.org/.
  • Prescribed medications. Several prescription medications are available that when used in
    combination with support groups have been effective in helping people to quit smoking.
  • Over-the-counter smoking cessation products. Research has shown that smokers who use some
    form of nicotine replacement therapy and participate in a support group double their chances of
    quitting for good.
  • Making the decision to just quit. The first move has to come from the smoker, but smokers who get support from partners and other people are more likely to successfully quit.

    three people walking in the park
    Some people enjoy walking for exercise.

If you are leading a ‘couch potato’ lifestyle – stop. Research has shown that a person’s risk of heart attack increases with a lack of physical activity. Physical activity is defined as any bodily
movement that expends more energy than is used when you are resting. Walking to your parked car far
from the door or using the stairs are physical activities. Do it more often. Walking is a pleasant
activity when done for stress relief and as part of a neighborhood group; it can be called exercise
when it is planned and done with the purpose of improving your health. Here are some ways you can
increase your physical activity level:

  • Park the car far away from the door. We all need at least 30 minutes of physical activity
    daily. Even so, that doesn’t mean we have to do all 30 minutes at once. Three 10-minute walks or
    the equivalent, add up to our daily requirement.
  •  Cut out one hour a day of television and clean out that closet you have been meaning to do. A
    bunch of fitness bursts give similar health and weight-loss benefits as one longer session.
  •  Take 15 minutes and take a walk break at work instead of a coffee break. Use a pedometer and
    keep track of how many steps you take. Studies have shown that people that wear pedometers walk
    more. The person who gets the most out of the use of a pedometer is the person who has a step goal
    (i.e. 10,000 steps per day).
  • Play outside with your children or grandchildren. Adults should be role models for active lifestyles and provide children with opportunities for increased physical activity.

Eat Healthier Foods

picture of fruits and vegetables in a bowl
Fresh fruits and vegetables add to healthy lifestyles.

If you know you should be eating healthier foods, educate yourself and make some small changes. For
example, reduce the amount of bad fat in your diet (bad fats are those that are frequently found in
dairy, meat and other animal products). A diet high in fat often leads to high LDL cholesterol. If
the body has more LDL cholesterol than it requires, the excess is deposited on the walls of
arteries as plaque. Too much plaque and the arteries become clogged — a condition known as
arteriosclerosis. When arteries in the heart become clogged, it causes a heart attack. If arteries
that lead to the brain are clogged, it can result in a stroke.

Jones offers the following small diet changes that can have a big affect on your heart health:

  • Try a fruit or vegetable you have never eaten to replace a meat-centered meal. Lots of new
    apples are on the market today or maybe get some of that red leaf lettuce you have been meaning to
  • Modify a processed food such as macaroni and cheese by adding broccoli florets to the mix. Processed food is often high in salt, sugar and fat.
  • Plant a garden for spring. Container gardening is a convenient way to grow tomatoes full of that all important lycopene.
  • Try eggs that have Omega-3 in them. Omega-3 enriched eggs are produced by altering the diet of laying hens. Hens are fed a special diet, which contains 10 to 20 percent ground flaxseed. Flaxseed is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fatty acids than other grains. As a result, the eggs produced from hens on this diet are higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

For more information on this topic, or to learn of classes offered by REA Helen Jones, please call the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.

4-H Arts and Crafts Fun at Ft. Deposit Elementary School

About 200 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade stopped by our 4-H Arts and Crafts table during a health fair at Ft. Deposit Elementary School on November 8, 2018.

While waiting to see the doctors and nurses as part of “Kid Check”, students spent time with Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Tana Shealey making colorful holiday crafts.

Shealey said, “4-H is all about learning, being creative, and having fun! We had fun making holiday wreaths, ornaments, and friendship bracelets. Every child who stopped by our table got a chance to express himself or herself artistically. They all made something to take home to inspire more creativity over the holidays.”

If you are interested in having your students or child join the 4-H fun, contact the Lowndes County Extension office at 334.548.2315  to learn more about all that 4-H has to offer!



Regional Extension Agent (REA) Sallie Lide Hooker writes a word on the board of a 5th grade class at Central Elementary.

REA  Sallie Lide Hooker teaches the  “Be SAFE” program at Central Elementary School Nov. 5, 2018.

“SAFE. What does this word mean to you?” she asked.

The students seated around her eagerly share their ideas of what SAFE means. Agent Hooker listens to each students’ idea, guiding them to the realization that they are focusing on being good listeners and allowing people to express themselves without being interrupted or judged. Then, Hooker spells out what the acronym SAFE means in relation to the “Be SAFE” program taught through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES).

“Be SAFE” means cultivating Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments. The program focuses on preventing bullying  and harassing behavior by teaching youth positive ways to manage emotions and to be understanding of other people’s feelings.

Regional Extension Agent Hooker, who teaches the program to students in Lowndes and surrounding counties, says she believes the anti bullying message resonates well with youth, “Because they are eager to learn about bullying since the majority reached are currently being bullied, or are closely associated with individuals who are being bullied.”

Agent Hooker not only hopes to help students understand what bullying means, but she also hopes that by learning about bullying, students will do better to avoid becoming bullies.

She stated,”Our goal is to teach that bullying is totally unacceptable behavior and should not be tolerated. We want youth to easily recognize bullying behavior and become an “up stander” instead of a bystander. We encourage students to let a trusted adult know about the behavior as part of “reporting”, not tattling, snitching, or squealing etc. They are also learning that reporting may save a life.

For more information about the “Be SAFE” program, and and other research based educational programs offered by the Alabama Cooperative System, please contact the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.


Color Me Healthy

Alabama Cooperative Extension System Regional Agent Christina LeVert recently visited a Lowndes County classroom and presented a piece of fruit that a few of the kindergartners had never seen – except in a can. She showed them a fresh pineapple.

“One student said the fresh pineapple reminded him of  the cartoon character Sponge Bob’s house,” LeVert laughed.

REA Christina LeVert, far right, shows students a fresh pineapple.

The demonstration was part of an educational program titled “Color Me Healthy”.  This free program is offered at no costs to schools and reflects the health and nutrition research conducted by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Most recently, LeVert taught the the course to Fort Deposit Elementary School students. Lessons are divided into six visits per class. LeVert said she enjoys working with youngsters, “They are very eager learners and willing to try new foods.”

“Color Me Healthy” focuses on teaching youth about how eating fruits and vegetables is beneficial, the importance of covers portion control, and the students learn about healthy exercise options.

LeVert hopes to inspire youth, “I want them to be adventurous and try new fruits and vegetables, and hopefully, they will eat them more often.”

To schedule a “Color Me Healthy” course for your school, or to learn more about this program, contact the Lowndes County Extension office at 334.548.2315.




Cooking Safely for Large Groups

Is Your Food Safe?

Regional Extension Agent Janice Hall walked among a packed room asking participants important questions about food safety that we often think we can answer correctly.

“How long can you safely store cooked beef in a refrigerator?” Hall asked.

All around the room, dozens of seasoned chefs and backyard-grill masters offered answers. Among them, a gentleman who said he is “in his 70’s but doesn’t look it” gave the correct answer.

This is just one example of Hall’s Socratic Method of teaching. She doesn’t just present and hope that attendees are paying attention; she walks among the   group and asks questions about how to safely prepare, store, and serve food in their kitchens, at churches and in restaurants.

Hall said,”According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 3,000 deaths are caused by food-borne illnesses (food poisoning) in the United States each year, and the majority are caused by the mishandling of food.”

As a regional Extension agent who specializes in the food quality, safety, and preparation, Hall is very passionate about making sure that food safety goes well beyond the superficial.

Hall noted CDC research which points out that, “In recent years, there have been a number of food borne illness outbreaks to occur from meals prepared at home and brought to various functions and events. Some of those outbreaks have resulted in death. Cooking for Crowds is a training design to teach consumers safe food handling skills to put into place when preparing foods”.

Today’s event was held at the Senior Center in Hayneville and attracted residents from Hayneville, Fort Deposit, and Letohatchee who cook food at home and take it to schools, churches, civic group meetings, street fairs and festivals. Agent Hall teaches classes such as these throughout the region.

For more information on this topic, or to schedule a FREE training for your group, please contact the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.



Be SAFE focuses on the education and prevention of bullying, bias, harassment and other hurtful behaviors for ages 11-14 (6th – 9th graders). It also engages youth in conversations and activities that can help them become more empathetic, self-aware, and able to manage distressing emotions.


Click here for printable information: Be SAFE Promotional Flyer 2018-19

Through this 3-5 lesson program, the overall goals of Be SAFE are to:
 Promote social and emotional learning and development
 Address and reduce bullying
 Prevent bullying behaviors by tapping the wisdom and assets of youth and adults
 Develop positive relationships with peers and adults.

If you would like more information on this program, please contact:

Sallie Hooker

Human Sciences Extension

Field Specialist, Family and Child Development

(334) 201-7636


Community Gardens in Mosses and Ft. Deposit

Residents in Ft. Deposit and Mosses are now tending a new source of fresh, healthy foods grown in their own neighborhoods. Watch this video coverage by the local CBS/ABC affiliate:Television Station Features Community Gardens in Mosses and Ft. Deposit

Recently, Urban Regional Extension Agent Roosevelt Robinson taught residents about planting and caring for a bounty of vegetables and fruit planted in raised bed gardens. Robinson also designed and helped install the raised beds in each residential area. This is a continuation of an effort started in Lowndes County about two years ago.

four young men plant raised bed garden in Mosses,Alabama
Youth plant vegetables in Mosses
Planting of community garden in Ft. Deposit









The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, in partnership with the South Central Alabama Regional Housing Authority, is working with residents in maintaining raised bed community gardens from which community members may harvest fruit and vegetables year round. The gardens are open to the residents of the Mosses Public Housing Area and Ft. Deposit Public Housing Area and are cared for at no cost to them.

Housing Manager, Joy Kelly is proud of the effort, “I think that this is great for the tenants because there is a need for them to get fresh vegetables from a close location. Usually our community members must travel at least 10 to 15 miles to buy fresh produce.”

Recently residents planted collard greens, cabbages, tomatoes, bell peppers, okra, eggplants, and cantaloupe in raised beds at both the Mosses and Ft. Deposit public housing areas.

men plant seeds in raised beds at community garden
Residents prepare raised beds for seed
Second from left, Joy Kelly, helps plant garden in Ft. Deposit
Second from left, Joy Kelly, helps plant garden in Ft. Deposit









Creating and maintaining these community gardens  is part of the ALProHealth initiative through which the Alabama Cooperative Extension System strives to engage Alabamians in long-term, healthy nutritional practices.

The goal of AlProHealth is to implement evidence or practice-based strategies in promoting healthy lifestyles in Alabama counties with adult obesity rates of greater than 40 percent (The identified  counties are: Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Chambers, Coosa, Crenshaw, Cullman, Escambia, Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Pickens, Sumter and Wilcox).

For more information about these community gardens in Mosses and Ft. Deposit, please contact the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.

Rite Bite Classes Taught at Hayneville Senior Center

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System partnered with the Hayneville Senior Center and offered free classes to residents who hoped to learn how to prepare foods that complement living with diabetes and hypertension.

Regional Extension Agent Christina Levert shares information about healthy food choices during Rite Bite program at the Hayneville Senior Center.    

Regional Extension Agent Christina Levert, whose area of study is human nutrition, diet, and health, shared some simple and economical ways to prepare healthy home cooked meals and snacks.

The hour long classes were offered in July and August.

Levert prepared health treats that participants to sampled, and she gaves participants copies of healthy recipes to try at home.

“The Right Bite Diabetes Classes show people affected by diabetes how to enjoy healthy food while controlling their diabetes. It provides excellent information that will help anyone preparing food to better control diabetes, high blood pressure or any other chronic disease. It is also great information for anyone wanting to learn more about healthier eating,” Levert said.

Levert sets the classes up in a way that makes it easy for seniors to learn and have fun. “Each class will cover a different topic. Topics include portion control, choosing fats, label reading and choosing carbohydrates,” Levert said.

For more information about the Rite Bite program and to schedule classes, please contact the Lowndes County Extension office at 334.548.2315.