SPRINGFIELD – To support a healthy lifestyle for children and encourage green transportation practices, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Board of Education are urging schools across the state to participate in International Walk to School Day on Oct. 5. The event, which started as a community demonstration in Chicago and grew into a worldwide effort, will be celebrating its 15th year.
“International Walk to School Day is the perfect opportunity for many of our kids to break from their normal routines and have a little fun in the process,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Getting young people interested in walking and biking is so important to establishing lifelong, healthy habits. Events such as these are great first steps in that process.”
More information about International Walk to School Day, including a link with instructions on how to register with the national organization and a list of Illinois schools with planned events, can be found at http://www.dot.il.gov/green/IWTSD.html.
More than 140 schools across Illinois have registered as of this week. The 2011 International Walk to School Day slogan -- “Hike it. Bike it. I like it!” -- was the winning submission in an online contest by one of those schools, Horace Mann Elementary School in Oak Park.
“Congratulations to all those participating in the International Walk to School Day,” said Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “It’s great to see how much this event has grown since it began in Chicago in 1997. This is just one of the many activities and efforts schools undertake to ensure today’s students develop healthy habits that will enhance their lives and their ability to learn, now and in the future.”
Participating schools are encouraged to instruct students on the basics of pedestrian and bicycle safety prior to Oct. 5. Downloadable booklets designed and written for kids are available at www.dot.il.gov/bikemap/litlist.html.
Schools with questions about the International Walk to School Day or require assistance developing their own events can contact Erik Hall in IDOT’s Sustainable Practices office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (815) 434-8520.