Ta'Leah Van Sistine
As the weather warms up in Eau Claire, Blugolds are once again congregating outside and exploring options to be active.
Students aren’t the only ones who are eager to get outside, as the city of Eau Claire is taking part in the Be Active Wisconsin Community Challenge throughout the entirety of March.
The Be Active Wisconsin Community Challenge encourages all community members to participate virtually to promote an active lifestyle and connect with the outdoors by using local parks and trail systems, according to Engage Wisconsin.
To participate in the challenge — and have your record counted amongst others in the competition — a registration fee of ten dollars is required. All ages are welcome to participate, even without registering for the month-long event.
The deadline to sign up is March 14.
All proceeds generated from this challenge will go to help support the Eau Claire parks, recreation and forestry youth scholarship fund, according to local news reports.
Information will be sent to all participating members, as well as benefits and opportunities that each county has to offer for all participants.
If your community wins the challenge, all participating members will receive a t-shirt and a trophy in commemoration of the event.
WQOW multimedia news journalist, Felicity Bosk, listed what residents are being asked to do.
“Residents are asked to get outside, get active and log those activity minutes online,” Bosk said.
To log minutes, all participating members will be emailed a link to access a Google form where you will enter your minutes every week. Those minutes are due by 10 a.m. on Monday mornings.
While Eau Claire residents are getting active, so are the students at UW-Eau Claire.
COVID-19 has encouraged people to get outside. According to the Outdoor Activities Association, and as of April, May and June 2020, cycling, hiking and running were the most popular activities taken up.
Gayle Marshall, a third-year public relations student, said she’s been finding multiple ways to be active.
“I’ve been getting active by going for a run every day and sitting outside while doing homework,” Marshall said.
Students are also absorbing the sunshine as they lay out in the campus mall right outside of the W.R. Davies Student Center, she said.
With social distancing in mind, students are meeting with friends outside instead by sitting on rocks, eating lunch, doing homework and more.
Sarah Garibaldi, a third-year elementary education student, said she has been “soaking up the warm rays while going for walks and picnicking in downtown Eau Claire.”
Students are also riding their bikes, skateboards, scooters, or walking to classes.
While not all the outdoor tables are out for students to sit at, Blugolds are finding spots on the grass, on rocks, sidewalks and ledges to enjoy some time outside in between classes.
Katrina Berg, a third-year public health and environmental geography student, said she has enjoyed the change in scenery on campus and within her social circles.
“My friends, coworkers and I have been tailgating meals out of the trunks of our cars during our lunch breaks,” Berg said, “It’s been a great way to socially distance and spend time outside.”
Participation is not required from all community members, but if you want to help the Eau Claire community win, follow the sign-up link to register.
Trailheads and parks have remained open during the span of the pandemic, allowing families and individuals to come and walk the trails, cycle and have a picnic.
The Mayo Clinic provided some low-risk ways to move more, including virtual or outdoor fitness classes, ice skating, skiing, walking, running, cycling and snowshoeing.
Along with low risk-activities, there were also lists that provided activities for high-risk individuals to participate in, such as large gatherings, according to Mayo Clinic.
“Outdoor activities are safe and encouraged as long as you are physically distanced from other people,” Mayo Clinic said.
With the Be Active Wisconsin Community Challenge the whole month of March, communities are taking action to win the free t-shirt, trophy and the opportunity to get outside for a cause.
Geiger can be reached at [email protected].