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FortWhyte Alive

On finding a place to “get away”

You love spending time outside. You know in your bones that there are many great reasons we should all be spending more time in nature. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? What do the benefits of spending time in nature actually look like?

Cheryl Bartmanovich is like many of us. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and can’t wait to take their camping trailer out on the weekends.

Just last year, Cheryl spent most of her days like many of us – commuting to her office in South Winnipeg, returning home, and doing it all over again the next day.

Cheryl was enjoying her work, and things were generally going well. Yet she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. Nor could she ignore any longer the fact that her physical health was beginning to slip. She knew that she needed, and wanted, to become healthier. But exactly how to start was unclear.

At the same time, Cheryl found herself simply craving a place where she, “could get away.”

Following that feeling, Cheryl decided she would start by doing just that – getting away by simply getting outside on her lunch break. Walking along the major routes near her office wasn't exactly what she had in mind, but Cheryl remembered that FortWhyte Alive was just a couple of minutes away from her office. The opportunity for quiet moments in nature was just the escape she was looking for.

Cheryl had a plan. Experiencing difficulty with her knees, she began by bringing her bike and quickly became acquainted with the forest, prairie, and water that frame FortWhyte’s many trails. This midday adventure was quite the contrast to spending lunch eating at her desk.

It just made me feel good,” she remembers about cruising through the forest paths.

Energized by her new daily ritual, she then began hitting the trail on foot. In short order, Cheryl worked her way to walking 4 km every day over her lunch break – and continued walking through the summer, fall and winter.

She didn’t need a doctor to tell her that what she was doing was working. She could feel the change happening. Cheryl could feel herself becoming more energized, calm and lighter in mind, body and spirit.

“When you walk on the trails here, you just relax.”

Cheryl’s newfound energy was contagious. Family, friends and colleagues took note, and everyone wanted to know her secret.

For Cheryl, the secret was getting active, spending time in nature and, above all, “the power of doing something positive.”

Today, you can find Cheryl walking the trails at FortWhyte most days of the week. She is passionate about getting outside, sharing her story, and inviting others to explore her favourite place in the city.

“FortWhyte is just a happy place to me.”

Cheryl’s story is an inspiring reminder of the benefits of spending time in nature – a reminder of how spending more time outside can make a world of difference in the lives of individuals from all walks of life.

Remember that feeling in your bones when you get outside? Your participation at FortWhyte helps share that feeling with others. Thanks to you, FortWhyte is a place for people from all walks of life to reconnect with self, and find inspiration to do something positive.

Thanks to you, this is a place where real change happens.


There are many benefits to FortWhyte Alive membership. Becoming a member can help inspire you to spend more time outside – and your support helps us share the magic of nature with others in our community. Visit fortwhyte.org/membership to become a member today.


 

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