FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, October 14, 2016
KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) - October is International Walk to School Month, otherwise known as IWALK. This worldwide event including over 40 countries celebrates the physical activity, safety and environmental benefits of walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation. While many school events happen during the first week, schools often choose to celebrate it on different days, or the whole month of October.
Thousands of Nova Scotian students have been out celebrating IWALK since last week, and many more will have done so by the end of the month. "IWALK is a very popular event," says Natalia Diaz-Insense, Youth Active Transportation Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre. "Many students aren't walking or wheeling to school nowadays for a number of reasons, the main ones according to the parents themselves, are traffic congestion, convenience/time pressure, or the weather. IWALK is a great way of encouraging students and their families to try to think twice before getting in the car, and try to walk to school at least once."
Events vary from school to school and include creating a Walking School Bus, rewarding families that walk to school with breakfast or healthy snacks, holding walking activities during school hours or holding a Participation Walking Challenges, by keeping track of which class had the highest participation, or simply keeping track of the steps or distances they walk. Bussed schools participate with Walk at School events. "All of my students are bused in, so I was going to bring them for a little walk all together first thing in the morning when we arrive at school, " exclaims Rachel Kuramoto, who teaches at Ecole Beau Port, Arichat, NS. "We have been studying why physical activity and nutrition is important so this ties in nicely! Thanks for the opportunity!!!"
Registered schools qualify for prize draws including a classroom kit of pedometers, walker pins and reflective arm/leg bands (30 each); a copy of the Teaching about Climate Change Guide, donated by Green Teacher; service/maintenance certificates donated by Halifax Cycles; and, last (but not least), a bike to give away to a lucky bike-minded student or a gift certificate (for up to $350), donated by Cyclesmith.
Ask YOUR Principal or Teacher if your school is taking part! Schools or youth-serving groups may register at any point during October at www.saferoutesns.ca (click IWALK) and participate for one day, one week or all month long!
International Walk to School Month is coordinated in Nova Scotia by the Ecology Action Centre in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness and ARC-Automotive Recyclers of Canada.
For more information, you may contact:
Youth Active Transportation Coordinator (Mainland NS)
Ecology Action Centre
Youth Active Transportation Coordinator (Cape Breton & Eastern NS)
Ecology Action Centre