Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Walk to School Day

By guest blogger Charlotte Claybrooke

Think fresh, brisk air, a chance to get outside, early morning and a backpack.  Do you remember walking or biking to school as a child?  My most recent memories are from when I biked with my son to school. 

This Wednesday, October 6th is International Walk to School Day and thousands of children will be getting that same experience in celebrations throughout the state.  For some families, it will be a chance to give walking or bicycling to school a try for the first time.  You can do your part even if you aren’t walking or biking to school by driving carefully and watching out for children who are on their way.

Walking and bicycling to school happens throughout the school year but Walk to School Day celebrations are designed to make this retro activity more festive.  The combined effect of childhood obesity, traffic congestion, environmental pollution and rising fuel prices have lead to schools and families rethinking how children will take the daily trip to school.  They have embraced the concept and are using funds from sources like the Safe Routes to School Program to help increase the number of children walking and biking to school safely all year.  For more information about the Safe Routes to School Program go to http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/localprograms/saferoutes/.

Walk to School Day is not a new initiative. In the U.S., it started in Chicago in 1997, modeled after the United Kingdom’s walk to school events. This year Walk to School Day is expected to include 5,000 schools from all 50 states. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world.

Here is a list of some schools participating in Walk to School Day Celebrations in Washington:
School Name School City
Sherwood Forest elementary school Bellevue
Lincoln elementary school Ellensburg
Ben Franklin elementary school Kirkland
Peter Kirk elementary school Kirkland
Juanita elementary school Kirkland
Lakeridge elementary school Mercer island
Edward Zeiger elementary school Puyallup
Firgrove elementary school Puyallup
Rock Island elementary school Rock island
Elizabeth Blackwell elementary school Sammamish
Epiphany school Seattle
Sacajawea elementary school Seattle
John Muir elementary school Seattle
Concord elementary school Seattle
West Woodland elementary school Seattle
Lawton elementary school Seattle
Adams elementary school Spokane valley
Suquamish elementary school Suquamish
Mccarver elementary school Tacoma
Washington elementary school Vancouver
Adams elementary school Veradale
White center heights elementary school White center

I enjoyed biking my son to school because it gave us something fun to do together in the mornings.  It was also a great way to wake myself up before the work day.  Whatever the motivation, Walk to School boils down to support for healthier families and safer communities. 

For more details and to see who’s walking this year, visit www.walktoschool.org.