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Editor's blog: International Walk to School Day

With weather like this, what’s not to like about walking – or biking – to school? Wednesday is International Walk to School Day – meaning children across the globe will be ditching other potentially polluting and less healthy modes of transport in favor of strutting to school.

(Want to make it even more fun? Check out the “ped safety dance” video above. You, too, could lead kids in a dance with a slightly altered – but positive – message ripped from one of my favorite songs of all time by Men Without Hats).

Will you be among those parents and kids walking or biking or running or skipping this week? Whether or not your school has a designated program, why not give it a shot?

This year, I can happily report that my fourth grade daughter loves bicycling to school. I believe it has something to do with turning 9 and getting her first almost-adult-sized-bike with gears. So, we’ll be out there Wednesday, rain or shine. At my daughter’s school, Crest View Elementary in north Boulder, Clif Bar is sponsoring the event – so presumably kids will get snacks at the beginning of the school day, too, which is always a hit.

Shoot for the moon

Crest View is also one of seven Boulder Valley schools participating in the Shoot for the Moon Challenge. The goal for the week is for kids to log enough steps or miles to do the equivalent of symbolically “walking to the moon.” Students will use a special tally card to log miles.

Last year, Crest View students walked 1 million steps over the course of the week. Combined with other participating Boulder Valley schools, students walked enough steps to circumnavigate the globe. Cool.

Beyond that, if Crest View students walk or bike at least three times this week, they receive a free school lunch (as much as I’d like it to be so, this probably would not motivate my daughter, who simply refuses to eat a lunch prepared at school), a Rush Bowl coupon, and a chance to win a GeoPalz pedometer or a Rush Bowl. (Click on the link to find out what the heck a Rush Bowl is…)

In the U.S., International Walk to School Day is expected to be celebrated at more than 3,500 events at participating schools. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries.

Walk to School events are aimed at creating safer routes for walking and bicycling. They emphasize the importance of physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, concern for the environment and community building.

You can even expand your school’s Walk to School activities into other areas that tie into the theme. For instance, Crest View is partnering with Eco-Cycle (Boulder’s recycling center) in a used shoe drive this week. The shoes will be reused or recycled. Pretty much any shoes are accepted – from running shoes to stilettos – except light-up shoes, which can contain mercury. (Hmmmmm…I might have to investigate my daughter’s Skechers after reading this on the flyer).

Need more information? Check out the National Center for Safe Routes to School or International Walk to School. And look up events in your community. Most importantly, get out there and have fun.

About our First Person series:

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