Winter 2022-2023

Spend 100 hours outside between December 1st 2022 and March 1st 2023 and share your experience with the EcoClub

Tips to meet the challenge:
1) Use a weather app to help choose your outside time  
  • Use the forecast feature. Are we in for a few brutally cold days - stack your hours during warmer periods. 
  • Pay more attention to wind speed than temperature. Provided you have proper clothing, below freezing temps can be downright enjoyable.  Add in a little wind and even the sunny days can be painful.  Check out this wind chill chart from the National Weather Service to see how much wind can affect the perception of temperature as well as frostbite danger.    
2) Identify a few activities that could reliably get you outdoors:
  • Nordic Skiing:  Several Three Rivers Park district locations offer rentals at their groomed trails and many trails are lit.  In Minneapolis you can rent skis at Theodore Wirth Park and at Hiawatha Golf Course.   
  • Snowshoeing:  Just like cross-country skis, there are several places to rent snowshoes in the Twin Cities. How about Fort Snelling State Park.  Snowshoes are available at the park office (not visitor's center).  
  • Fat Tire Biking:  You don't have to hang up the bike when there is snow/slush or ice on the trails.  The U of M offers outdoor gear rental - available to everyone.  This includes Fat Tire bikes that can handle the type of terrain we'll get in winter.  Pick ups and returns can be scheduled M-F and can be rented for more than one day.  
  • Walk/hike:  You don't need any special equipment, just a sturdy pair of boots.  Open the front door and go. But if you like - take this time to explore an area you haven't been to before.  Scientific and Nature areas are open to the public as long as you abide by some easy rules. 
3) Plan to attend some special events: 
  • Local outdoor festivals: The Winter Carnival and Holidazzle are the big names, but nearly all Twin Cities area suburbs have a winter festival.  Polar Fest in Burnsville, Fire and Ice in Robbinsdale, Snowflake days in Coon Rapids are just a few.  Skating, treasure hunts, bonfires, cocoa, snow sculptures, and music are just a few of the activities featured at these festivals.  
  • Visit some outdoor art:  The artshanty project will be happening again this year on Lake Harriet weekends from January 21st - February 12th.  Have you visited the Walker Sculpture Garden in Winter - why not!?  And if you count holiday lights as art, use your EcoClub member benefit and visit the Landscape Arboretum's winter light displays.      
  • Watch or participate in outdoor competitions:  The US Pond Hockey Championships happens every year on Lake Nokomis.  This year it is on January 19-29.  See some outstanding nordic ski racing in the City of Lakes Loppet the first weekend in February.  Also in February watch the snowkite races at the Wayzata Chilly Open. 
4) Stay Eco Minded: 
  • Join the Annual Christmas Bird Count: The Audubon's  bird count happens every year from December 14th - January 5th.  Join other citizen scientists and nature lovers to identify and count the birds you see during this time. 
  • Maintain a back yard water source:  Drinkable water can be hard to come by in the depths of winter.  Maintain a shallow liquid water source and notice the tracks that come and go.  
  • Attend a Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project event:  The Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project is dedicated to sharing the art and science of wildlife tracking.  Winter tracking can be more rewarding as tracks can be more visible in the snow.  
5) Share your winter experience with the EcoClub
  • Add events to the Members only Facebook group - invite other EcoClubbers along on your outdoor adventures and help them get their hours in too!
  • Snap and post pictures - there are so many cool things to see in the winter - let us see winter through your camera lens! 
  • Share during regular club meetings - tell us about your outdoor adventures.  Did anything surprising happen during your trek?  Did you find a cool new happening?  Or just reflect on being outdoors and commiserate with us about this beautiful season.  
This challenge originated from realizing that even though we love winter and are concerned about the newest findings that show Minnesota's winters are warming faster than almost any other state, it can still be hard to get outside during our coldest months.  Low light and windchill can deter even the hardiest.    
By taking part in the 100 hour outdoor challenge from December 1st 2022 - March 1st 2023 you will conquer the inertia that keeps us inside, you'll better appreciate the amazing winter season, and you'll connect with other EcoClubbers by sharing what you've done and what you've seen.     
Share your progress - the hurdles and the success - with Rotary EcoClub and your family and friends!