Saskatchewan

Cold weather won't stop a Regina girl from walking to school

Milène Card decided at the beginning of the school year to walk to school every day instead of taking the bus. Even temperatures dipping down to -40 in Regina won't stop the 11-year-old Grade 6 student.

Even when it's -40, Milène Card is out walking to school instead of taking the bus like her peers

Milène Card and her friends walk to school instead of taking the bus, even on the coldest days. (Fiona Odlum/CBC)

Last week's bone-chilling temperatures in Regina may have made most people think twice about venturing outside if they didn't have to.

But not one Grade 6 Regina student, who has traded in her bus pass for fresh air.

Milène Card, 11, admits she stopped taking the bus last year after almost missing it one day, which she found frustrating. So Card vowed she was done with the bus and would walk instead — which she kept up even last week, when wind chill made the city feel as cold as –45 and school buses stopped running

Card now walks the 2.9 kilometres to and from school every day — even on the coldest days — and says the weather never stops her.

She hasn't been alone braving the Regina elements. Card has amassed a small army of friends who have been with her every step of the way. 

"I wanted to encourage younger people that live close to the school to walk … because the bus is not fun" says Card.

She has reasons for walking besides the fact she doesn't love the bus, though.

Milène Card, 11, says she is inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg. (CBC)

Card has attended several climate rallies in Regina and follows the daily news, which is how she became inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The Swedish teen is her activist idol, Card says, because "she is famous, but not for being in a movie — but for doing good."

Card says she wants to do the same. 

Now, her day starts at 6:30 a.m., as she gets dressed, eats breakfast, practises the piano, packs her backpack and heads out the door for the walk.

She's met by four other friends she picks up all along the way, who say they've made a year-long pact to walk to school together.

The five say it's a great way to start and end each day, as they talk and laugh all the way to and from school, walking so fast they say they barely feel the cold.

Card's mom, Nathalie Berard, supports Milène's initiative — but says it probably wouldn't matter if she didn't, since her daughter is a "very determined individual."

Berard also noticed almost immediately how happy walking to school made her daughter, which she credits to the fresh air and time chatting with friends along the way.

It's a win-win, agrees Card.

"I get to talk to my friends, I get exercise and help the environment."

She says she plans to keep walking and wants to focus on other environmental initiatives, like trying to cut down on her plastics use and finding new ways to reuse old items.

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