Emma, a strikingly fit 8-year-old Labrador retriever who winters in Key West, didn't need coaxing to take a sunset walk along the White Street Pier the other evening.
She's quite the walker, her owner Ed Thayer said.
Sniffing the oceanside air, Emma kept a snappy stride among nine other locals on a scheduled one-mile stroll with District 5 City Commissioner Teri Johnston, who led the way pointing out various sights and details of the recent Higgs Beach renovation.
"We don't promote ourselves enough," Johnston said about Key West. "We want people to know the districts and the many projects going on right now."
Key West also wants to promote its environmental health campaign, led by Alison Higgins, the city's sustainability coordinator who came up with the "On the Move" jaunts, which began Saturday and run throughout the month.
Johnston and three other commissioners -- Jimmy Weekley, Clayton Lopez and Tony Yaniz -- have agreed to take part in the walks to promote good health in the Lower Keys while keeping people up to speed on the $100 million worth of public projects coming on line, from the new City Hall and fire station to the long-awaited Truman Waterfront Park development.
Anyone is welcome to join the commissioners on the walks, which grow longer as the series progresses, even though the walks are divided among four districts.
At 6 p.m. Friday, Weekley will host a two-mile trek along the Truman Waterfront.
Lopez will lead one from the Harvey Government Center to the Key West Cemetery and the Old Firehouse Museum.
Yaniz will do a three-mile walk at 5:30 p.m. March 28.
Each walk will begin with a stretch and words of advice from wellness coach Heidi Golightly, who on Saturday advised one resident that a 20-minute walk after dinner every night can jump-start a significant healthy change.
"We're showing that you can walk this island so easy," Golightly said. "You don't need a car and you're getting more benefits for wellness."
Several walkers carried their own pedometers, or smart phone application. Golightly clocked the distance at about 2,600 steps.
The city's Preserve Island Life campaign has deemed March as "Transportation Month."
"Our original mode of transportation is on two legs," said Vicki Boguszewski, a consultant with the Monroe County Health Department who helped organize the "On the Move" series and joined in Saturday.
"It's just overall good health," Lopez said of the walks' purpose. "We get to talk about and exchange information and ideas about some of our historical resources. Our cemetery is a gold mine of history."
Lopez added that he could use any cardiovascular workouts, citing a slight weight gain since he quit smoking cigarettes last year.
"I'm okay with two," Lopez said of mileage. "Jimmy and I were teasing that it's supposed to be 7,000 steps. I said, 'Okay, and not one step more!'"
"It's not anything new for me," said Weekley, whose workdays at his grocery store begin before 6 a.m. "I try to walk about 30 minutes when I can, in the evening."
Weekley said he welcomes all residents, not just those from his district, to join him Friday. "It's open to anybody who wants to participate and walk two miles with me," he said.
Asked what he would do if no one showed up for his walk, Lopez said, "Trust me, I doubt that will happen. This is Key West."
With short notice, Johnston drew enough walkers for a friendly excursion Saturday. The scenery was classic Key West.
Johnston started the walk by pausing to look up at the just-breaking sunset over the White Street Pier.
"I have a great district, I really do," she said.