“The activities and information that you provide is excellent. We certainly enjoy working with Green Action Centre and WRENCH. We just need to find more time to coordinate time to access all of the great things you offer.”
Bike to School Month 2019 took place between May 6 and June 5 this year, and with more than 50 schools participating, there was a lot going on! There was something for every school, no matter whether cycling was new to the students or if a school has strong cycling traditions. Bike and walk Stickers, repair workshops, bike rodeos, bike blender smoothies, school travel counts, and bike bingo were some of the top offerings.
Yet in the true tradition of Bike to School Month, many schools went above and beyond to craft exciting events and initiatives that were unique to their community and students’ experience with cycling! Maybe your school could use an active transportation page (West St. Paul School) to help educate students and their families? We are pumped to see these initiatives and would love to support as many schools as possible to make every month Bike to School Month.
“Bike Smoothie visit was great … both staff and students enjoyed.”
Some highlights for this year:
- Streamlined our Bike to School Month page, making it easier than ever to see the full range of school resources.
- Expanded our bike blender offerings from 4 visits in 2018 to 11 in 2019! At an average of about 3 all-day school visits a week, we kept busy (and went through pounds upon pounds of strawberries)
- Our highest number to date of workshops: 14 schools received bike repair and maintenance workshops from either The WRENCH or Vélo-Cité
Our Workshop Facilitators
- The W.R.E.N.C.H. put on their spectacular repair and maintenance workshops
- Manitoba Public Insurance provided bike rodeos for students in grades 1-4
- Coop Vélo-Cité offered school workshops with a French flavour
- Green Action Centre (we love making you bike blender smoothies and talking about safer places to cycle!)
“This is the first time we have participated in Bike to School week. We only accessed the Bike Rodeo as an activity. the use of bikes significantly increased during the week. We received several positive comments from parents. Many students and families continue to bike to school even after our week was finished.”
THANK YOU to everyone who participated in Bike to School Month this year, particularly the teachers, administrators, and parents who coordinate these events on the ground. Without you, change is impossible. Please continue to work hard at making cycling more accessible to students in your school communities.
“This was a great opportunity to go on an adventure, get outside into the great outdoors, and try and learn something new. From the public transit ride, which was a first for many students, to the stations, students were engaged and enthusiastic about the possibilities of the day.” – O.V. Jewitt Community School
Wednesday, June 5th was National Clean Air Day of Canadian Environment Week, as well as UN World Environment Day. It is a day to recognize how important air quality is to our health and environment, as well as promote simple actions and lifestyle choices Canadians can take to reduce air pollution. Green Action Centre recognizes this day by hosting a large event for schools at the end of Bike to School Month. Due to popular demand, we hosted this year’s event in Kildonan Park again, and were joined by over 700 teachers, staff, and students from École Laura Secord School, Chief Peguis Junior High, École Belmont, Edmund Partridge Community School, Governor Semple School, H. C. Avery Middle School, John Henderson Junior High School, Margaret Park School, and O.V. Jewitt Community School. This event is a special opportunity for students to spend time outdoors, participate in activities, and learn about sustainable transportation, environmental stewardship, physical activity, and healthy living. Over a dozen local organizations were set-up to provide activities and learning opportunities for students, including air quality virtual reality, bike demos, Zumba, and much more!
This was the fourth Clean Air Day event hosted by Green Action Centre for schools. The event has grown substantially since it started in 2016. It began as a bike-focused event with 105 participants, and has grown to over 700 participants partaking in a diverse array of activities focusing on all modes of sustainable transportation, environmental stewardship, physical activity and healthy living.
Our Active and Safe Routes to School team wowed the crowds with our bike blender, air quality measuring equipment, and Air Quality Health Index guessing game. Students learned about the health and environmental benefits of walking and cycling to school in place of personal vehicle use. Classes were given passports to be signed by the various stations at the event, which were entered into a draw once completed. As a result of the passport activity, Margaret Park School, O.V. Jewitt Community School, and H.C Avery Middle School each won a prize package!
“One of my students reflected on 2V1 (how to fit a helmet) in his journal. He’s only grade 2, and he wrote an entire page explaining what it meant and why it was important. Another student informed me it “was the best day of his life!!!” – Margaret Park School
New for this year, thanks to sponsorship from ParticipACTION, we participated in the Community is Better Challenge, tracking physical activity minutes of participants at the event (including the zumba session!), as part of the Nation-wide event. The 2019 ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge got Canadians across the country sitting less and moving more together with a total of 265,813,108 physical activity minutes tracked! Learn more here.
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a scale designed to help you understand what the air quality around you means to your health… The higher the number, the greater the health risk associated with the air quality. Cities across Canada can check their local air quality online or by the downloadable AQHI Canada app. Winnipeg’s AQHI is typically 1-3, putting us in the low risk category. Although Winnipeg is in the low risk zone, air pollution is a serious global issue that requires global action. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution kills nearly 7 million annually (20,000 people each day) and 91% of people worldwide do not breathe safe air. There are several sources of air pollution, but Green Action Centre focuses on creating awareness for air pollution caused by vehicle use, and advocates for people to transition to sustainable modes of transportation when going to work and school (walking, cycling, public transit, and carpooling). Clean Air Day is one of our largest events for bringing awareness to this topic.
To learn more about the AQHI, visit the Government of Canada’s website.
Learning opportunities and activities were hosted by the following:
- Health Canada
- Freedom Concepts
- The W.R.E.N.C.H.
- Bike Winnipeg
- Manitoba Public Insurance
- Winnipeg Transit
- Fire & EMS
- Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
- Motion Zone by Fit Kids Healthy Kids
- Climate Change Connection
- The Manitoba Lung Association
- Wilderness Committee
- Recycle Everywhere
THANK YOU to everyone who joined us and helped make it a spectacular event! We can’t wait to do it again next year, and we look forward to working with everyone again.