Kicking off on February 3, 2021 with SHAPE’s Winter Walk Day, the Bow valley PCN’s Walking Without Waste initiative encouraged people to get outside and move their bodies everyday during one of the coldest months of the year. Though the negative mental health effects of hibernating too much in the winter can be felt any year, the added impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’s requirements for social distancing has been particularly challenging to the mental wellbeing of many. The PCN’s new Population Health Strategist designed this accessible 28-day challenge to benefit community member’s physical and mental health. Auxiliary benefits of the program included increasing community ownership and environmental stewardship, as well as local awareness of the PCN.
How did it work?
Registrants were provided an introductory email that explained the challenge – getting outside everyday and cleaning up litter along the way. It also included a 28-day checklist of daily ideas, winter walking tips and trail ideas, and tips for interacting safely with nature. The registration package also included:
For all registrants:
For people who expressed need:
Each week participants were contacted via email to give more information on the benefits of connecting to the outdoors.. Weekly special challenges were also included, in which participants were asked to post photos to social media or submit by email to show their accomplishments and to enter into a random draw for donated prizes, which included:
158 participants registered in the official challenge. Aside from official registration, 2 groups of refugees were reached through Settlement Services, where the Population Health Strategist went to meet with them to provide PCN toques, ice cleats, and winter walking in the Bow Valley safety tips. These group meetings occurred outside with under the 10 people present as per current COVID-19 regulations in both Lake Louise and Banff. Our Active Living Consultant was also able to join the Banff session to introduce safe stretching.
Launched: February 3rd, 2021 with SHAPE’s Winter Walk Day
Completed: March 3rd, 2021