October 3rd is National Walk to School Day

According to a recently published Kentucky.gov press release, this October is International Walk to School Month, with Walk to School Day being on October 3rd. Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher is taking part by reminding residents to be aware of more students walking to their schools and to drive carefully around school zones.

Kentucky’s Walk to School events are being run by the Transportation Cabinet’s Safe Routes to School program. This program is dedicated to improving the overall health of students. One way of doing this is promoting walking and biking safely to school. Both of these methods are healthy forms of exercise and obviously better for the environment.

It was just in July of 2005 that Congress passed a federal legislation that helped establish the Safe Routes to School Program, which will put roughly a total of $612 million in safe school routes between 2005 and 2009.

“These are tremendous projects that give us the opportunity to help support alternative forms of transportation, improve the environment and aesthetic quality of our communities, and support healthier lifestyles by providing biking and pedestrian facilities that might otherwise be funded,” said Governor Ernie Fletcher. “Approximately $2 million dollars in Safe Routes funding has been administered by the Transportation Cabinet in the last two years. These are investments that will help us build healthy, strong communities and improve our environment for generations to come.”

Back in 1997, Walk to School Day was established in the United States. It wasn’t until 2000 that it became an international program. Those who started it had a simple idea in mind; children, teachers, and parents would all walk to school on a specific day.

This year, it is expected that over 5,000 schools across the United States will be participating. Also, 4 million are expected to participate in 40 nations. Schools typically focus on health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment during the month.

Safe Routs to School Program Coordinator Morgan Wilson said, “Walk to School Day is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike.”

There are tons and tons of benefits of walking to school. It increases physical activity, decreases traffic, and can even improve student behavior by increasing the awareness of community safety.

Any and all schools can register to participate in a Walk to School event at www.walktoschool.org. Registration is completely free.

Also, Ideas, activities, lesson plans, and a map of participating schools is available as well as a variety of free downloadable materials.

Source:

Kentucky.gov. “October is Walk to School Month. Children Take Steps to Healthier Lifestyle.” www.kentucky.gov/Newsroom/kytc.d11/prwalktoschool92807.htm