WIN Minutes 3-25-14

Nenana Wellness Coalition
March 25, 2014

The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, masticate, celebrate, and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.

There were 9 in attendance today, including: Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Jessica Durtsche, Patty McKenna, Mary Alexander, Virginia Young, Miles Martin, Jeannie Bennett and Tim Horn. We enjoyed beef stew with fresh garden salad for lunch.

WELCOME followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT, by this week’s chair-person: Jeannie Bennett.

PRAYER was led Jeannie Bennett, followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE

PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There were no changes to the agenda as presented today.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes were posted at the WIN link at and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.

INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: No new guests today.

Nenana Blood Drive: Because we only had six people sign up to donate, the Nenana Blood Drive scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled.

A Local Gardening Discussion: Miles Martin informed us that as part of his incarceration, he completed a 300 hour course in horticulture. Much of what he learned, he said, was about farming and large plot production and so would not be of much interest to the small garden producer. There were a few things, however, he felt were interesting and perhaps of local interest. The first of these was the idea of bio-char. This is an agricultural technique that apparently originated in the Amazon basin in South America were excavation found remarkable amounts of charcoal in the soil. Bio-char is one method that was used in Amazonian agriculture that allowed them to support communities with populations of hundreds of thousands and perhaps even millions of people. Carbon binds with nutrients in soil, so adding granulated charcoal to your garden will allow the soil to hold many times more nutrients to be available for plant growth. Miles said that there had been much discussion about how to make charcoal, which requires wood to be burned at between 650-850 degrees f. to leave behind charcoal and not burn down to ash. Charcoal can then be supercharged with manure tea or other nutrient sources. This, he remarked, is a potential value-added product that could be in much demand due to the current push towards local food production and organic or natural production methods.
The other item of interest to Miles in his coursework was the information about bacteria. We think of bacteria as bad, something to be gotten rid of, but healthy soil, he said, requires a large and varied bacteria culture(s) to be productive for gardening purposes. In fact, he was told, a garden with a broad and healthy bacterial load will support a healthier and more productive garden. “Dirt is your friend,” he said, and although it can take as long as ten years of using natural gardening techniques to create, a balanced garden plot will actually keep harmful bacterial, molds, fungi and other garden ills from establishing or flourishing in your soil.
Lastly, he talked of compost. Compost just happens naturally as the result of the decay of plant materials, but a gardener can hasten that process by creating compost heaps with specific proportions of dry matter, green material, animal wastes, woody matter and dirt. “You need dirt in the compost to get the microbial action started,” he said.
Miles brought some garden worms he has grown to share, three containers full, and explained how to keep them. He said that he over-winters them in plastic totes with dirt and occasional feedings. He has also successfully cultivated worms in his houseplants. Worms clean root hairs, he explained, making it easier for the plants to receive nutrients from the soil. They also break down organic matter, leaving nutrient rich castings behind which further feed the plants.
Miles brought seeds for giveaway, also. He talked a little bit about grafting and cloning, which he said was interesting to him, as he’d tried it previously and not been successful. He has ordered some apple stock, which he now intends to graft to a crab apple tree he has in his yard. Discussion ensued regarding starts, plots, and seed-saving. Miles said he would bring seeds to give away again next week when people would have something to take them home in.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. What we sow is what we reap. When we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.


Patty: She is going to do a presentation next week, topic to be revealed. She will provide Tim with a photo and topic for flyers.
Jessica: Don’t forget the Choose Respect walk on Thursday, starting at the depot at noon. There will be t-shirts for the participants.
The Old Mail Trail 200 dog race went well. Brenda Mackey was the big winner. There was a musher that went missing at the end; his dogs gave out. But he self-rescued successfully and all ended well. They had a good banquet Sunday at the Living Center. The NSLC students all really enjoyed getting to meet the mushers.
Tim: Carrie Farr is making an Azure Standard order for April 4th so anyone wanting to piggy-back needs to get their order in ASAP and make sure that it is slated to be delivered to her designated drop point.
There are Parent/Teacher conferences at NCPS Wed-Thur.
Wednesday night, the 26th, there will be a themed devotion at Bonnie Reed’s house, 7 PM.
Sunday night, the 30th, is fifth Sunday and there will be a sing-along 6-9 PM at the Assembly of God church.
Julia Sunnyboy has started a Youth Activities group for kids in 5th-9th grades. They will be meeting again Wednesday, April 2, 5 PM at the Conference Room to discuss activities they’d like to initiate. They have already planned a lock-in at the Rec Center for Friday, April11th.

David: His pig seems to have been successfully bred and her due date is June 21st.

Amie: Fund-raiser Friday night for Levi at the Civic Center. There will be all-you-can-eat pizza, $15.00 at the door. There will be a dessert auction.
Health Challenge starts next Wednesday.


Health Challenge Info—direct from Amie.
“Spring into Healthy Habits”
Hosted by Amie Verhagen and Kristi Dugan

Welcome to the “Spring into Healthy Habits” Challenge! We all know we should eat right, exercise, drink plenty of water, etc… so why don’t we? Whatever your reasons are, the purpose of this challenge is to provide you with the education, motivation and support to put these healthy habits into practice. It’s not meant to be a “quick fix” or a “diet”–it is meant to improve your quality of life for the long run. The good thing is, weight loss (or maintaining a healthy weight) is a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle!

This 6-week challenge begins
Wednesday, April 2nd and ends Wednesday, May 14th

Each participant will receive daily points for the following healthy habits:
• Contact with a team member or researching some aspect of health – 1 point
• Drinking 64 oz of water – 3 points
• Finish eating 2 hours before bed – 3 points
• Eating at least 2 servings of fruit – 3 points, one extra point for each additional serving
• Eating at least 3 servings of vegetables – 5 points, one extra point for each additional serving
• Limit “empty calories”(defined later) to one serving a week – 30 points for the week, +5 if you don’t have any
• Exercising – 3 points for 15 min, 5 for 30 min, 7 for 45 min, and 10 for 60 min
• Weekly bonus challenge (given at the beginning of each week) – 5 points

In order to participate:
• A $20 entrance fee will go towards the winners jackpot (Both Kristi and Amie pay this fee, too, and none of the money goes to us unless we are winners like anyone else).
• You must be registered by Monday, March 31st. Email Amie Verhagen at with your name, current weight (this will be kept confidential), and method of payment.
• Cash or checks must be given to Kristi Dugan by Tuesday, April 1st (can be mailed to PO Box 563, Nenana, AK 99760). You will then receive your participant number, the link to the point sheet, and be added to the Facebook group (optional, but intended for team support). **If you drop out before the challenge is over, your entrance fee is forfeited, as well as any weekly winnings you may have accumulated.
• You must have a scale. Weigh-ins take place each Wednesday morning and must be reported through email to Amie by noon that day(remember, weights will be kept confidential), along with the previous week’s point total . If you do not report your points and weight by noon, you will lose 5 points. **This is completely based on the honor system – your health and integrity is certainly worth much more than $20!

How to win:
In order to motivate participants to stay the course, there will be weekly winners in addition to two overall winners. Each week the person with the most points will be rewarded with $10 (to be given at the end of the challenge). At the end of the challenge, two winners will be determined: most overall points and most weight lost (by percentage). The rest of the money (total participant fees minus the $60 from weekly winners) will be split between these two.

• Servings of fruits and vegetables are defined by the American Heart Association as 1 medium fruit (baseball sized), ½ cup chopped or canned fruit, or 1/2cup juice (100% juice); 1 cup raw leafy veggies, ½ cup of other vegetables (or ½ cup juiced).
• “Empty calories” are defined as treats, desserts, soda, candy, flavored drinks, etc. The concept is to eat foods that have calories packed with nutrients (like fruits and vegetables), not calories “empty” of nutrients, packed with sugar, unneeded fats, artificial sweeteners, instead. Cut the sweets down to one a week (not one whole day for sweets, just one treat). You get an extra 5 points if you don’t have any. Does that mean you can’t put honey on your oatmeal? No. Does that mean you can’t put any sugar in your Whole-wheat bread recipe? No. Use your best judgement.
• Team contact/Knowledge point: You can encourage other team members through talking to them, texting, email, posting on the facebook group page, exercising with them, etc. We want to create lots of team support for everyone trying to live these habits. You can also get your point from looking up a health-related article from a credible source.
• Weekly Bonus Challenge: each week we will announce a bonus challenge to incorporate some other healthy habits. These will help to add variety and increase knowledge about health.
• Weigh-ins: Make sure to weigh yourself under consistent circumstances (for example, right when you wake up, same clothes, before eating, after going to the bathroom, etc.) each Wednesday morning. Weight loss will be calculated by percentages to determine the weight loss winner. We are aware not everyone is in the challenge for weight loss; some are pregnant or simply wishing to maintain their weight. Those participants still have the opportunity to be a winner through the habit points.

Disclaimer: Amie and Kristi do not claim to be health professionals. We simply wish to provide an opportunity and support for those wishing to life a healthier lifestyle.

Get ready to feel great and live healthy!

Email Amie Verhagen at with any questions or to register.

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