Wellness Walk: Get 3,000 Steps and Some Fresh Air!

February 16, 2017 • Written by

The Wellness Committee’s Mental Health Subcommittee has arranged two wellness walks as part of the Get Movin’ Challenge. Those who are involved in the Get Movin’ Challenge ae trying to log 7,000 steps per day, through a variety of activities, although you don’t have to be signed up for the Challenge to come out.

The wellness walks will be great opportunities to log some steps, while getting fresh air and connecting with friends and colleagues. Students, staff, and faculty are welcome. There is no need to register.


The Plan

We’ll be meeting at noon. Everyone is welcome (students, staff, and faculty). After a short teaching on mindful walking, we’ll head out together for a 30 minute walk, logging roughly 3000 steps. Mindful walking is not a fancy or complex idea; it’s simply the practice of being aware of your experience as you walk.

After the walk, we’ll gather together, enjoying some fair trade tea and hot chocolate, courtesy of the Wellness Committee.


Why a Wellness Walk?

We know that being active is great for our physical and mental health. Outdoor, mindful walking with friends leads to many health benefits, including better mental clarity, a boost in positive emotions, and improved self-esteem. Taking a break from studying or sitting at your desk, getting out for movement, sunlight and fresh air will actually make you more productive over the course of the day. So, come out and join us!

When & Where


Date: February 28th

Meeting Location: The Cave Lounge

Time: 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm


Date: February 27th

Meeting Location: Roblin Centre Cafeteria

Time: 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm

*We’d like to send a special thanks to Dayna Graham and Debbie Donato for their help in coordinating the EDC walk.

Outdoor Workout: Terry Fox Fitness Trail

October 26, 2016 • Written by

While we enjoy the fall season, don’t forget to set aside some time for exercise and fitness. While the days become shorter and more crisp in Winnipeg, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy the outdoors while working being active. There are many outdoor options in the city, from various parks, to green spaces, playgrounds and sport fields. One hidden gem at the Assiniboine Park is the Terry Fox Fitness Trail.

Created over 30 years ago, the Terry Fox Fitness Trails is area where people of all fitness levels can enjoy exercise in the beautiful Assiniboine Park. Re-opened in June of 2016, and located in the South-East corner of the park, the 1km Trail has been extensively renovated and has replaced all 12 pieces of it’s fitness equipment.

The beauty of the park is that you can create a workout that fits you on that day, the only limit being your imagination. Along the running trail, each piece of equipment has signage explaining each exercise with diagrams. The trail is open year round, 24 hours a day.

Click Here for a Global News video touring the updated Terry Fox Trail

Click Here for the Assiniboine Park Map


The Dirt on Gardening!

May 17, 2016 • Written by

Before I started gardening, I thought it was a nice pastime for sedentary folks.   Was I wrong !!!   8 years ago I moved into a new home & decided that on the May Long weekend I wanted to create a flower garden in a corner patch of my yard.   I’d never embarked on this type of activity before, so basically I winged it.   In a matter of 3 days, I dug up the space & charted out my flower patch; I hauled bricks from the store to the car to create the flower bed; shoveled a truck load of dirt into the garden. I was exhausted and elated at the same time!   My first DIY project was underway.       Then it was onto research of best plants to grow in that area – do I want annual or perennials? Or a combination … hmm, so many choices!   I especially enjoyed digging in the dirt, carefully planting my chosen gems

During the course of that summer, I proudly watched the flowers and plants grow & prosper, I felt a sense of accomplishment and happiness, which continues today as I’ve expanded into vegetables and herb gardens. I like the physical aspects of gardening as well as the stillness that I feel as I prune and pluck the weeds, at one with the earth.   I experienced the other side of the emotional spectrum as well – cursing the weather; disappointment when a prized perennial doesn’t return the next season; seeing my lilies get consumed by bugs seemingly overnight!

Check out this great article that captures all the fantastic health and wellness aspects of gardening – The Dirt on Gardening!

Nancy Cumbers

The Honesty of Fall

October 6, 2014 • Written by


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Highbush Cranberries dripping with dew

The transition from summer to fall can be a difficult one. Idyllically, summer is a time of warmth and abundance, of growth and prosperity. The land is alive with a variety of birds, insects and flowers, as people roam the landscapes and head off for summer adventures. The trees are full of leaves and seeds, while the fruit bearing shrubs have shared their bounty with people and animals alike.  Many people have spent time swimming in their favourite lake or other watering hole, attended an outdoor music festival, or sat in the sun soaking up the rays while reading a book or enjoying a BBQ.  We’ve all wished at some time that summer would last forever and that winter would never come (or make as brief an appearance as possible).

But as we all know, the time inevitably comes when the nights begin to cool off and we hear that familiar honking sound as the geese return from the north.  We watch with trepidation for harbinger of winter, as the trees suddenly lose their clothing and leave the branches bare. The chaos and exuberance of summer is replaced by something a bit more honest, as the land is once again stripped down to its essence.

The Naked Forest and the Wild Harvest

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Chokecherries dangling

As someone who enjoys trail walking, I am always amazed when the forest opens up in the fall, and I can once again see through the landscape as opposed to having  my view of the sky and the horizon obscured by leaves. The study of leafless trees is a great educational tool for understanding a forest ecosystem.

One of the easiest ways to identify a tree in the summer is by looking at the size and shape of a leaf, or by the flowers, seeds and fruit.  The wobbly and bulbous oak leaf is iconic, as is the classical maple tree emblem that we all know so well as Canadians. Many can recognize a choke cherry bundle or a Saskatoon bush when the berries come out.  However, when the leaves come off and the fruit has fallen to the ground, it can be a bit trickier to distinguish one shrub from another.

For most people, there is little need to know the difference between one tree or shrub and another. However, as someone who likes to make winter trails through the bushes and to trim shrubs in the winter to help “revitalize” an overgrown hedge, knowing one species from another is very important. Some species such as Hazelnut are very prolific and will regrow instantaneously from new shoots when trimmed (like a lilac bush), whereas plums and young oaks are rarer and don’t multiply to the same extent.  When you focus on the bark alone and the overall shape of the tree other features become apparent.  You begin to differentiate between the dead wood that is great for stating fires and the living stems. The mossy stems and weathered bark are tell tale sign of aging.  When you look often enough, you begin to see that some stems are purplish (Saskatoon), others are white (like cranberry), some are light brown (hazelnut).

When you look at the shape of the tree or shrub, you can begin to see the effect of the older shrubs have over younger ones as they crown over them, forcing them to shoot out sideways or produce week and gangly stems that are desperate to steal whatever lights pokes through the canopy. By contrast, young growth has an immediate vibrancy and color that is unmistaken.  The dormant buds appear ready to burst even though they are just beginning their seasonal rest.

There are even a few shrubs that keep their berries into the winter, such as the highbush cranberry with its ruby red color and sour smell, the hawthorn with its long and very sharp thorns and mealy dark red berries, or rosehips with their prickly stems and hundreds of tiny seeds inside. I try to hold off picking too many of these in the fall, as they are even more delicious in January when out for a winter walk or snow shoe. Read More →

The Murmuration of Starlings

May 1, 2014 • Written by

This is an incredible little video by Dylan Winter, a cinematographer from the UK. It is a stunning example of the mysterious power of nature, as you see a group of European starlings fly through the air in massive numbers en route to their roosting site.

As a regular gravel-road bird watcher, I’d highly recommend finding a stretch of gravel road to head down, and see if you don’t catch site of a red-tailed hawk, a sand hill crane, or even the odd duck (or two) that are currently soaring over fields this time of year.  Bird watching is good medicine this time of year (or any time of year, for that matter).

State of Sustainability: Celebrate spring with an act of Green

April 15, 2014 • Written by

State-of-Sustainability-2014 bannerRed River College is pleased to be holding our 4th annual State of Sustainability. This is a great way to check out what mother nature has to offer and get rid of some of those “winter blues.” This annual event is an opportunity for students, staff and the community to celebrate Earth Day, recognize RRC’s sustainability accomplishments, learn a little and have a bit of fun.

Here’s the line-up…

Pipe Ceremony, Mother Earth Teachings & Feast –Tuesday, April 22, 10:00am – 2:00pm, Aboriginal Student Support Centre, F209 (NDC).                                           

RRC Elder May Louise will lead a pipe ceremony and will share her personal experiences and observations on how Mother Earth is changing and its impacts. Participants will be invited to share their experiences too.

This event will help participants to learn how the Aboriginal worldview and sustainability are inextricably linked. All are welcome. **Traditionally, women wear long skirts for ceremonies. ** Times may vary.

E-waste Drop Off (from work and home) Tuesday, April 22 – Thursday April 24, 11:00am – 1:00pm daily, Library Hallway (NDC) & William Building near Print Services (EDC)    

Time for Spring cleaning! Get rid of that broken Nintendo in your basement, the old calculator on your desk, or the old microwave in the lunch room. All materials will be sent to a licensed recycling facility.

Sustainability Office Year-in-Review Wednesday, April 23, 12:05pm – 12:55pm, eTV Studio B, GM33 (live and streamed)

Learn about how we’ve advanced our sustainability journey this year. In addition to the Sustainability Office, hear from Food Services, Applied Research & Commercialization  & the Bookstore.

Lunch will be served. Registration is limited to 40 people, so don’t delay! Read More →

RRC Staff compete with flower power

December 18, 2013 • Written by

amaryllis blogOver the past few weeks the staff on NDC’s 5th floor have been sporting an Amaryllis growing competition.

This all started back in October when I sent a little email around to see who might be up for some friendly competition and raising a beautiful plant (a great distraction over the cold winter months). Not long after that 14 staff chipped in $10 dollars and 14 Amaryllis’s were bought and planted.

The objective of this competition was to see who’s plant would be the tallest and who would be voted best dressed by Dec 16th. There was intermittent measuring and smack talk was encouraged.

Within a week all of our departments (Staff Learning & Development, Sustainability, Nursing, Environmental Safety and Health, Developmental Learning, Research and Planning, the Recycling Team and Recognition of Prior Learning) were mingling, popping in to see the plants and of course sizing up the competition.

By Dec 16 plants that started at 4 cm were now 50-60 cm with beautiful red blooms. When it came time to pick our winners, our celebrity judges, Nancy Alexander and Lori Grandmont, had a very difficult time selecting only two.  They chose the “McHansen” from Nursing as the tallest plant and “Jorge” from Staff Learning and Development for best dressed.

At the end of the day we all walked away with a beautiful plant, a few more friends that we got know on our floor, and the experience of sharing in some great RRC team spirit.

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – September 30

September 30, 2013 • Written by


I love autumn, even if it does bring winter…. Here’s why:

    • Every church and community centre are having a fall supper, it would be a sin to miss such a gluttonous event – so find one here.
    • The colours…and the distinct smells that really can’t be described to any justice.
    • Summer clothes and shoes are going on clearance – check those flyers and go mall walking!
    • Curling is back! Maybe I’ll join a league instead of just yelling at my TV again this year. The Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials are in Winnipeg this year, we’ll see you at the Patch?
    • 3 shows. Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead. Downton Abbey. This season I will even try to be more active while watching the tube.
    • Even Halloween brings a happy chill to my spine with all the spooky activities that can be had – like corn mazes and haunted houses!
    • The chore of raking leaves is always rewarded with the joy of jumping in the soft piles….even dogs love it!

Wellness Interview with Nancy Alexander – Red River College’s Vice President HR and Sustainability

August 14, 2013 • Written by

NancyPhotoNancy Alexander (Vice-President, Human Resource Services and Sustainability) has an extensive background in human resource management and environmental management. Nancy leads RRC’s Human Resource Services, Environmental Health & Safety Services, and Sustainability departments.

Mike Krywy (Chair of the Wellness Committee) spoke with Nancy about her Wellness beliefs, practices and strategies for fostering a Wellness culture at Red River College.

Who are some of the people in your life that you look up to as Wellness role models?

My mother — who turned 80 this year and is still extremely active every day — is my main role model. She is an amazing woman with so much energy. She loves to fish, she takes care of a huge garden, she loves to cook (especially perogies!), she picks berries and wild mushrooms. I come from a commercial fishing family, and my mom was always busy, whether it was getting ready for the season, or cooking food for lots of people.

She’s also an avid traveler, wandering throughout Manitoba and numerous countries worldwide. For her 80th birthday we recently took a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, where we rode mules down 1,000-foot canyons and toured the desert to see wildflowers from sunup to sundown. Typically she’ll go out visiting friends throughout rural Manitoba, spend the day adventuring and visiting festivals, then get together with friends for coffee and talk into the late hours.

My adult children are also great role models, as they regularly exercise, eat healthy, and are continuous learners.

Finally, my husband is a role model for his supportiveness towards his large extended family and his practice of mindfulness. He is always reminding me of the reality of things, especially being mindful of the present moment. He believes that one should establish mindfulness in one’s day-to-day life, maintaining as much as possible a calm awareness of one’s body, feelings, and mind. I try to carry this out in my own day-to-day life, as well.

Wellness is sometimes broken up into physical, mental and spiritual aspects. How do you try to balance these areas in terms of your own personal wellness?

As you say, wellness is multi-faceted — physical, mental, social and emotional are all part of it. If people feel good physically and emotionally they are productive, and they interact in a positive way with people and the environment, both at work and at home.

I try to keep balanced by spending time outside, in nature. I really enjoy gardening, fishing and anything that gets me out into the natural environment, such as berry-picking and camping. I pick a wide variety of wild mushrooms like morels, field mushrooms, pidpenky, red tops, and so on. Being out in nature is great, as it helps me to put things in perspective. I’m not thinking about work because I have to pay attention to other things — walking in a forest, desert or prairie involves all of our senses.

For me, these activities cover all three areas of Wellness, particularly because they usually involve friends and family. This past weekend, we were out picking Lecinnum mushrooms (“red tops”) for hours — once in the sunshine and later in the pouring rain. Then we went fishing. Watching cranes and eagles fly low over the Red River and hearing their calls gives me an incredible sense of wellbeing. Pulling an anchor out of the Red River bottom isn’t bad for your physical side either.

NancyPhoto4I also enjoy gardening.  Many of the plants in my gardens are valued because they are a constant reminder to me of the people who gave them to me. I will often bring plants to my neighbors or to work and share them as they’ve been shared with me.



Read More →

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – June 3

June 3, 2013 • Written by

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This week on the Monday Mash:

Gardening with Native Plants.  It’s that time of year (finally) when gardens are being planted. If you’re looking for a good selection of native plants, shrubs and trees you can check out Prairie Originals which has a huge selection of potted plants and seeds. Also look at their resources, which includes landscaping tips, links to other local eco-networks, farmer’s markets, and nature photography. There is also a link to the Living Prairie Museum (located on Ness) which sells some plants as well, in addition to providing other resources, workshops and information.

Summer Reading.  Are you looking forward to enjoying a warm summer day sitting back and reading a good book while lazing in a hammock or comfy chair?  If you’re that type of person, consider dropping in to the Library closest to you and see what they have to offer.  One of the more interesting books that I’ve recently read is A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor of the British Museum, which exists as a book and a BBC radio series. This series tracks human history as told through little vignettes on selected objects, making it an easy book to pick up and put down at your leisure.

Discovering Art. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is one of many places that you can drop in to find interesting art.  They currently have a 100 Masters show on that goes until Aug 18. They also have some summer art camps beginning in early July. A couple of other interesting local galleries to consider are Ace Art and if you’re looking for something edgier the Plug In Gallery usually has something to grab your attention.

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