Park City kids join Walk to School Day
Walking to school is more than just an invigorating start to the day. Walking to school gives children time for physical activity, allows them to enjoy being outside, and provides then with time to socialize with their parents and friends while also getting to know their community, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
Wednesday, Oct. 4, Park City children will join with thousands of other students around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day.
The event was established in the United States in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. This year, it is expected to include 3,000 schools from all 50 states and in 36 countries around the world.
This is the first year Park City schools will participate, thanks to the efforts of Leadership Park City’s Class XII, Park City Municipal Corporation’s community leadership program.
"We are a mountain town with a big emphasis on recreation yet it is very hard to move about on foot or bike and it is hard to feel safe when you do," explains Evan Russack, Leadership class member and Walk to School Day committee member. "As we looked to narrow our focus the International Walk To School Day seemed like a great way to help spread the work about sharing the road."
Working together with local elementary schools, along with the Mountain Trails Foundation, Walk to School Day organizers mapped out safe walking routes to each school and provided convenient park-and-walk locations for those students who ride the bus or live too far to walk to school.
Walk to School organizers feel that the children in our community can inspire change in the transportation habits of adults.
Carol Potter, executive director of the Mountain Trails Foundation and also a Leadership class member says she is delighted with the group’s class project. "The Walk to School event takes the same approach as our Share the Road program. The Walk to School program will be equally as successful."
The National Center for Safe Routes to School was established in May 2006 to assist communities in providing safe walking and biking routes for children to travel to school. Recent Federal legislation has recognized the value of ongoing walking and bicycling and is providing funding for states to establish programs. John Jones, Utah’s newly appointed Safe Routes to School Coordinator is expected to participate in the local event next week.
Approximately 1000 students from Jeremy Ranch Elementary, McPolin Elementary, Parley’s Park Elementary, The Colby School, Park City Academy, Soaring Wings Montessori and Trailside Elementary are expected to walk to school next Wednesday morning along with parents, teachers and community leaders. Participating students will be given gift bags filled with donated items from local business and organizations.
Elizabeth Jensen, elementary assistant teacher at Soaring Wings Montessori School and member of Leadership Class XII, has been talking with her class about the benefits of walking to school since the start of the new school year. Her students recently completed writing projects inspired by the upcoming Walk to School Day (see Fresh Prints on page XX????).
Jensen expects a group of more than 60 students, parents and teachers to walk to Soaring Wings via the Poison Creek Trail from City Park on Wednesday. To follow-up the event, Jensen plans to distribute frequent walker cards to her students to encourage walking beyond Walk to School Day.
For more information on Walk to School Day events, times and walking routes, contact your neighborhood’s public elementary school or private school. Additional information is available at http://www.walktoschool.org .
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Park City has launched a survey designed to learn about travel habits during a winter that was unlike any other in the skiing era of the community.