Outdoor challenge aims to reduce emissions and keep community active

By Delaney O’Hara

The Forks River Trail was a common destination for Jack Frost Challenge participants this February./O’HARA

During the coldest week of the year, staff from the RRC Sustainability Office participated in the Jack Frost Challenge to prove how well Manitobans can handle frigid winter temperatures. 

The challenge is an annual event organized by the Green Action Centre that ran from Feb. 7 to Feb. 13 this year. 

Renata MacHado, a sustainability specialist at the college, said the challenge is an important event for the community.

Renata MacHado, Red River College sustainability specialist participates in the Jack Frost Challenge by going skiing on a frosty day./RRC

“Not only does it target the environment by reducing our CO2 emissions for the week, but it also highlights the importance of enjoying the outdoors for our mental health,” said MacHado. 

The Jack Frost Challenge began 12 years ago as a winter bike race from St. Malo to The Forks. Over the years, the challenge has evolved. This year, it was a way for Manitobans to get out and get active. 

Team members participated in outdoor activities either individually or together, working towards their ultimate goal of travelling an accumulative 130 kilometres. 

The Green Action Centre’s website said that this year, because people are spending lots of time inside, the challenge encouraged everyone to get outside and get moving, which helps people both mentally and physically.  

Christine Preachuk, an instructor for RRC’s Medical Radiologic Technology program, participated in the challenge with her team consisting of board members from the Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. 

“It gave us an opportunity to go out walking together…it was awesome,” said Preachuk. 

Preachuk said she saw lots of people doing activities outside or posting about the challenge on social media.

“It was good to get outside and visit people in person rather than over Zoom, with COVID and everything.”

The challenge saw temperatures as low as -38.8 C, but that did not stop participants from enjoying the outdoors.

“Even though the weather was not exactly ideal, the six fearless RRC teams had great participation,” said MacHado. “We have a bunch of winter warriors at the college.”

Lisa Kirton, a Red River College space planner participates in the Jack Frost Challenge by skating on an outdoor rink with her family./RRC

Preachuk also said that she did not mind the cold weather. 

“We’re Manitobans…we can survive -50 C,” said Preachuk. 

Even with the cold, this year’s participants traveled a total of 49,391 km, nearly doubling the number of kilometres travelled in 2020. 

There will also be more opportunities for students to get involved with the RRC Sustainability Office like Earth Day, and Waste Reduction Week.