4/20/17 – There was a kickoff last night in Juneau for the Blue Zones Project. The regional health initiative brings together local volunteers with health experts from around the country to implement a series of strategies modeled after parts of the world where people live to age 100 at rates ten times greater than the national average. That could mean anything from healthy menu items at local restaurants to a walking and biking trail. Several local organizations attended the event to discuss their work and why they got involved with the Blue Zones initiative. One such group is Windy Drumlins, a family-owned and operated farm located in Horicon, which centers a mission on sustainability. Mark Krause, who is the Chief Environmental Officer, says that Blue Zones is all about becoming more aware about sustainability and making changes in your lifestyle. Fox Lake resident Pat Kneser, who is a volunteer for Blue Zones and works as an independent distributor with Isotonix Nutritional Supplements, says people should want to live longer and live better. She adds everyone should make the healthy choice, the easy choice. Another group at the event was the Open Door Coffeehouse located in Mayville. The coffee shop serves locally made products and is a non-profit that provides free life skills development and mentorship programs to the community. Amber Schraufnagel, who was one of the founding members, says that Mayville is excited about Blue Zones and supporting them. Nick Buettner spoke at the kickoff event and is a member of the exploration team that helped develop this project. He says that for the first time in history the life expectancy of our kids is going to be less than that their parents. Buettner says the environment must change from the bombardment of unhealthy choices all around us. Buettner has taken the Blue Zones concept to 37 communities, affecting the health of over 2.2-million people across the United States. Kickoffs are planned this weekend in Horicon and Beaver Dam.