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Get Up and Go
Friday June 28, 2013

A New Website and Garden Contest: Coming Soon

Red flowersGet Up & Go! has a new website, and we can’t wait to share it with you! We’ve given the website a fresh new look and made it even easier to find the information you’re looking for. Our new website will go live in mid-July. Check it out, because you won’t want to miss…

The Get Up & Garden! contest

To celebrate our new website and our new regular e-news feature Get Up & Garden! (look for it in this issue of the e-news), we’re having a contest.

We want you to tell us, in 50 words or less, how your garden keeps you healthy. Upload a photo of your garden to our new website, and site visitors will vote for their favorite garden.

The winner will receive a sign for their garden that designates it as a “Get Up & Go Garden.”

When our new website and online garden voting are ready to share, we’ll send you an email inviting you to take a look. In the meantime, pull weeds, keep watering, and get your garden ready for it’s close-up!

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The 1st Get Up & Go! Neighborhood

GUG Neighborhood Sign

Congratulations to the Signal Hill Neighborhood in Belleville for becoming St. Clair County’s first Get Up & Go! Neighborhood!

This designation is awarded to neighborhoods that deliberately set out to improve access to healthy foods and active lifestyles for residents. Longtime Signal Hill residents and Neighborhood Association members, Ed and Donna Doughterty, bought a house that was in disrepair and demolished it. They researched community gardening and recently completed 20 raised garden beds on the property.

Signal Hill School has also succeeded in getting Safe Routes to School funding to improve paths and sidewalks so more children can safely walk and bike to school. Their neighborhood now proudly displays a “Get Up & Go! Neighborhood" sign.

These are just two of many ways that a neighborhood can become a Get Up & Go! Neighborhood. 

What to do

Would your neighborhood like to be a Get Up & Go! Neighborhood? This is what you need to do:

  • Get a group of neighbors together who want to work to improve your neighborhood
  • Do the Community Healthy Living Index (CHLI) for Neighborhoods
  • Review the CHLI results

  • Work on one strategy to promote healthy eating (for example, start a community garden or organize a food-cooperative)

  • Work on one strategy to promote active living (for example, improve a local playground or start a walking club)

  • Review progress after making these improvements

To learn more, contact Jim Schneider, Director, Belleville Parks and Recreation, at

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Get Ready to Run and Ride

Biathlon LogoThe 2nd Annual Get Up & Go! Biathlon is on August 4, 2013. This event is a 5-mile run followed by a 20-mile bicycle race along the relatively flat, peaceful countryside roads of Belleville, Illinois. Get Up & Go! will also announce the winner of the first Get Up & Go! Challenge Cup after the race.

Are you up for the challenge? We hope to see you there!

Register Here

Belleville West High School
4063 Frank Scott Parkway
Belleville, IL 62223

Individuals: $35 pre-registration, $40 same day registration
Teams: $47 pre-registration, $52 same day registration

Race starts promptly at 7 am

Race proceeds go to the Get Up & Go! Healthy Community Fund, which provides small grants to groups in St. Clair County. These grants support active living and healthy eating projects in YOUR community.

Help us reach our goal of making St. Clair County the healthiest in America by 2020!

Visit the vendor booths after the race and enjoy some good food and great company!

Thanks to our 2013 Biathlon presenters – Belleville Parks and Recreation and Memorial Hospital – and sponsors (as of May 2013): Fit STL, Chiro-Med Ltd., Bike Surgeon, Vision Care Associates, Scott Credit Union, Hammer Nutrition, Belleville Running Club, ApexNetwork Physical Therapy, and Big River Race Management.

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Bookmark Contest Winners

2013 Winners of St. Clair County Clean Air & Healthy Living Bookmark ContestGet Up & Go! is proud to announce the 2013 winners of St. Clair County’s 1st Annual Clean Air & Healthy Living Bookmark Contest.

This contest is a joint initiative to draw attention to the importance of creating a healthy community for current and future generations. The theme was Clean Air & Healthy Living, illustrating ways to improve air quality and health in the county such as: biking, walking, carpooling and use of mass transit.

Over 1,300 designs were submitted by Kindergarten through Sixth 6th grade students in schools throughout St. Clair County.

Congratulations to the following students for placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their school age bracket:

1st place
Rhyleigh Wilson, 2nd grade, Mascoutah Elementary
Gini Goodrich, 3rd grade, Westhaven Elementary
Isabelle Richards, 5th grade, Scott Elementary

2nd place
Lily Peterson, 2nd grade, Mascoutah Elementary
Stella Holt, 3rd grade, Scott Elementary
Nikiya Garrison, 5th grade, Scott Elementary

3rd place
Nathan Moralde, 1st grade, Mascoutah Elementary
Jaron Knobeloch, 3rd grade, Mascoutah Elementary
Leah Bussen, 5th grade, Scott Elementary

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We Choose Health Updates

The Complete Streets and School Health and Safety project teams each hosted a workshop on June 17.

“Creating Complete Streets for St. Clair County Communities” featured practical steps in initiating policies and practices that support active living and safe travel for all citizens. Attendees learned how to build a base of support to facilitate adoption of effective Complete Streets policies.

A Coordinated Approach to School Health (CATCH) training was offered to St. Clair County schools that are starting a CATCH program next school year.

A complete report from each of these workshops will be provided in the Fall 2013 e-news.

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Get Up & Garden!

To the Garden SignBy Roger Boyd, Specialist

Hi, I’m Roger Boyd, retired SIUE Assistant Professor and Get Up and Go! specialist. I’ve recently completed my certification studies for Master Gardener and will be writing a weekly column called “Get Up and Garden” that focuses on gardening activities in St. Clair, Randolph and surrounding counties. You can find my column on the Get Up & Go! website.

I’ll provide gardening tips and suggestions that will help make gardening fun, not burdensome. I’ll also be available to answer any questions about which varieties grow best in this area, when are the best times for planting, harvesting and other gardening activities, and questions about controlling pest and weeds. Send your questions to

You can’t beat the taste of “home grown”

Although the weather the last two years has been anything but normal, anytime is a wonderful time to begin gardening. Gardening provides fresh air and exercise and a wonderful abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits that will furnish healthy eating for the entire family and will help you lower your weekly grocery bill. You’ll quickly discover that nothing from the grocery store will taste as good as your “home grown” produce. Large producers grow fruit and veggie varieties that “ship well” but don’t taste the best.

Find the best garden for you

Gardening can be as simple as a 4 foot by 8 foot section in your backyard which requires only a few inexpensive tools and can provide plenty of fresh lettuce, onions, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, fall turnips or other veggies of your choosing. A garden of this size doesn’t require a huge investment in time and can provide plenty of fresh produce using companion planting and square foot gardening techniques. There are also a number of options for window-box or flower-pot gardening if you live in an apartment or condo.

Or, you can have a garden like mine. I have 15 raised beds, asparagus and strawberry patches, peach and apple trees and 6 different varieties of berries. This is the type of garden that requires a long-term commitment in garden area, tools and energy just to get started. Work your way into a garden of this size over time.

It’s not too late!

Because the weather has been much cooler and wetter than normal, gardening this year is about 3 weeks behind our usual gardening schedule, especially for the “warm season” veggies! So select a garden patch site, grab your pen and pad to list your family’s favorite veggies, get to the nearest garden center or store in your area that carries plants and seeds, grab and your shovel, hoe and rake and let’s GET UP and GARDEN!   

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Square Foot Gardening Makes Gardening Easy

Square foot gardenBy Brenda Boudreau, Board Member

Many people find the idea of homegrown fresh fruits and vegetables very appealing, but the idea of starting their own garden is intimidating—it will take too much space, it will take too much work, it will require a gardening expert. But if you’ve ever eaten a garden-grown tomato, you know that supermarket vegetables cannot begin to compare to something freshly picked from your own garden.          

Try a square foot garden  

An easy way to start a small garden is to use square foot gardening. This is a raised bed gardening method really developed by Mel Bartholomew  (you can find more information in his book All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!).

With one 4 foot by 4 foot bed, 6 inches high, gardeners can grow fresh vegetables and herbs, and keep their harvest going for three seasons by varying the planting. So, for example, gardeners could start with spring plants such as radishes and lettuce and spinach, and then follow this planting with summer crops such as beans, squash and tomatoes.

How to create a square foot garden

Try these tips for creating your own square foot garden:

  • Use a soil mixture made up of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 compost
  • Divide the 4 foot by 4 foot square into 16 squares
  • Plant fruits and vegetables into the squares, using as many squares as you need to accommodate the plant when it reaches its mature size.
  • Your square foot garden can be placed directly on grass over a weed barrier. It can even be planted on a deck since it doesn’t require depth to yield an excellent harvest.

A gardener could easily plant four tomato plants, two squash plants, two pepper plants, adding some peas or beans or herbs, all in the same small box. One 4 foot by 4 foot box will give an adult a salad for every day of the growing season!

Square foot gardens work for every yard

If you only have shade in your yard, you can still use a square foot garden. Just focus on cooler weather crops such as lettuce, spinach and arugula. For the most part, the necessity to weed is almost non-existent, and fertilizers are unnecessary given the balance of the soil mix.

Gardens for the young and old

Square foot gardening has worked perfectly for an educational community gardening project in Lebanon, Illinois. Students at McKendree University’s Wonder of Wellness program, directed by Dr. Karan Onstott and the Lebanon Garden Club, are working with the Lebanon Kids program. Together, they planted square foot gardens at three locations, including at a nursing home. This has given young and old gardeners a chance to learn how to garden and even more exciting, how to cook with these fresh vegetables. 

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Transform your Cooking with Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbsBy Brenda Boudreau, Board Member

My husband and I have a large vegetable garden, but we both agree that if we could only keep one part of the garden, it would be the herbs.  

Herb gardens are often one of the easiest things to grow, they don’t take a lot of space, and can even be done in a large pot, as long as you choose a spot that has access to sun 4-6 hours a day. You’ll need to water occasionally, but herbs don’t take a lot of coaxing to grow well, and they typically are not susceptible to pests.   

Best of all, fresh herbs will transform your cooking. A few pinches of fresh basil, oregano or chives can turn an ordinary salad or pasta or vegetable dish into a culinary masterpiece without spending a lot of money.  

Gardeners can choose three or four herbs to start. Once you see how pretty the herb plants look and taste what a difference they can make in your cooking, you’ll want to add new ones every year.

Tips for first-timers

Start with basil, thyme, chives and oregano, since these are items often found in recipes. If possible, plant close to the kitchen door so that it’s easy to just step outside and grab a handful of herbs for whatever you’re cooking.

Most herbs can be planted from seeds, although if you are just beginning, you should plant a small starter plant you can buy at any plant store. The herbs should be planted approximately 12 inches apart, preferably in decent soil  – although our herbs are planted in a very clay-heavy soil and seem to do just fine!

As you become more adventurous, you can add things like tarragon, cilantro, rosemary, savory, dill, lemon balm and sage, all of which grow well in this area and add amazing flavors to cooking. The other wonderful thing about most herbs is that many of them are perennial, which means that they will come back every year, and they often look very beautiful in a garden when they begin to flower. The internet is filled with wonderful sites describing how to plan and organize an herb garden.

Two recipes to try with your herbs

Simple Tomato-Basil Pasta

Combine 1 lb. hot cooked pasta with 1/3 cup olive oil, a few minced garlic cloves, 3 to 4 chopped fresh tomatoes and some chopped basil (you could even add a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)—no need to cook any further!

Grilled Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Peel your potatoes (any kind) and dice them and place them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and add 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Put another piece of large aluminum foil on top and seal the edges. Grill until potatoes are cooked.  

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Beat the Heat

SunThe most important rule for being active in hot weather is to use common sense. Don’t exercise outdoors when there’s a heat advisory, an excessive heat watch, or excessive heat warning in effect. These mean that the heat index is 105 degrees or higher.

You should also:

Drink plenty of fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour. Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.

Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body's thermostat will have a chance to recover.

Wear light clothing and sunscreen. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.

Replace salt and minerals. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.

Pace yourself. If you’re not used to working or exercising in the heat, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.

Watch those at high risk. Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:

  • Infants and young children
  • People 65 years of age or older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who overexert during work or exercise
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation
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What's the Daily Air Forecast?

Air QualityWe encourage you to sign up for the Daily Air Quality Forecast through email to alert you when unhealthy air quality is predicted and when it’s necessary to limit outdoor activities, especially for children with asthma. 

You can sign-up to receive the forecast through email at

In collaboration with the St. Clair County Health Department, Memorial Hospital sponsors a Clean Air Hotline where you can call to listen to the daily air forecast. Call: 618-257-6265 

The warmer, humid weather our region experiences from late Spring through early Fall creates ozone air pollution (smog), which can cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, headaches, nausea and eye and throat irritation in people of all ages. Children, the elderly and those with respiratory diseases are especially at an increased risk for a variety of respiratory problems on poor air quality days. 

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It's Salad Season

MintBy Rita Boyd, Board President

Fresh greens are among the easiest, quickest garden crops to grow. Tradition says sow your lettuce on Washington’s Birthday (Feb. 22), but you can also start lettuce and spinach seeds in the house and transplant outside. Lettuce and spinach are cool weather crops and do best in spring and fall. Try another crop of garden greens for your fall garden, sowing seeds in August.

Herbs have become a staple of our garden. I grow a mix of perennial and annual herbs. Check out these two salads accompanied by homemade salad dressings that include two favorite perennial herbs. Homemade dressings are quick and easy to prepare and tend to be better for you because there’s less fat, salt and few preservatives. Here are two of my favorite salad-dressing pairings.   

Honey-Mustard-Thyme Dressing with Spinach Salad


2 Tbs. spicy brown mustard

1 Tbs. honey

1 tsp. olive oil

1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 sprig chopped fresh thyme

Whisk together. Serves two, about 55 calories per serving.


Spinach, lettuce, arugula mixture in proportions that you prefer

Cheese crumbles (Gorgonzola, Feta, or Blue Cheese)

Golden raisins

Finely chopped sweet white onions


Yogurt-Mint-Lime Dressing with Fresh Greens


1/3 cup low fat vanilla yogurt

1 ½ Tbs. Rose’s Limes Juice

1 Tsp. strawberry preserves

12 mint leaves finely chopped (There are over 600 varieties. I use one known as “Citrus Kitchen” mint)

Whisk together. Serves two, about 45 calories per serving.



Fresh mixed greens

Sliced fresh strawberries

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Sliced almonds


Image of thyme courtesy of Simon Howden and image of mint courtesy of James Barker at

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Belleville, Illinois
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