Almost twice as many schools will participate in this year’s Walk and Wheel to School Week celebrating active travel trips to and from school.
Students from 40 schools in the Capital Region will take part in the third annual event. According to Larisa Hutcheson, Captial Regional District (CRD) general manager of parks and environmental services, the celebration recognizes the important role young people play in reducing carbon footprints.
“We hope by promoting people-powered active travel when school begins in the fall, they will be encouraged to adopt this environmentally friendly and healthy practice for the long term,” she said in a statement.
The program is aimed at encouraging sustained behaviour change while promoting active travel throughout the school year.
According to the most recent Origin Destination Study, almost half of all students in the CRD are driven to school with many of the distances reported to be less than three kilometres, some even less than 500 metres.
With participating schools representing 12,900 students of all mobility ranges and abilities, each is encouraged to find active ways to get to school including — but not only — walking and cycling.
Dr. Dee Hoyana, medical health officer with Island Health, recognized the importance of active travel in relation to one’s physical and mental well-being, along with school performance and encouraging independence. “I encourage families to walk, bike or take transit to school during Walk and Wheel to School Week,” she said in a statement.
Each school has received a toolkit to help students track their trips, raise awareness about safety and learn more about the health and environment benefits of active travel — such as reducing traffic congestion around schools and improves safety — along with prizes for participation.
The program is hosted by the CRD with support from Island Health. For more information, visit crd.bc.ca/walkwheel.
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