More than 40 schools statewide are participating in International Walk to School Day Wednesday, October 8, to encourage students, parents, teachers, community members and organizations to get out on sidewalks and trails. The event is anticipated to draw participation from more than 4,000 schools from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as 40 countries around the world.

This event is an opportunity for families with children who typically ride a school bus, and who live in areas with bike friendly paths to school, to walk and bike to school. Many schools participate by arranging for school buses to drop off students at a nearby park or other safe locations to finish the trip on foot. The drop-off option also can be used for students who are usually driven to school in private vehicles.

 “Partipating with school children emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity, teaching pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion and building connections between families, schools and communities,” said Nicole Campbell, Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School coordinator.

To get involved, register for the event at here. The site includes useful information for parents and participating schools. Data collected from registrations will be used to improve future programs.

To encourage students to continue to walk and bike to school, schools and youth organizations can use the new pedestrian and bicycle safety curriculum written and distributed by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. The interactive curriculum features pedestrian and bicycle lessons that meet Minnesota teaching standards. For more information, click here.

Wednesday’s “International Walk to School Day” builds on Minnesota’s ongoing effort to provide Safe Routes to School for all children. Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature invested $500,000 in the Safe Routes to School program to support training, planning and outreach activities for children and families. And in 2014, Gov. Dayton and the Legislature invested $1 million in Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects to improve safety and expand opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to school.

For more information about the Safe Routes to School program and this year’s grant solicitations offered to schools to improve safety or access for children walking and bicycling to school, click here.

The following Minnesota schools are participating in Wednesday’s “International Walk to School Day”:

  • Apple Valley
  • Battle Lake
  • Breckenridge
  • Brooklyn Center
  • Dawson
  • Detroit Lakes: Detroit Lakes Alternative, Detroit Lakes High School, Detroit Lakes Middle School, Roosevelt Elementary, Rossman Elementary
  • Dilworth
  • Fergus Falls: Adams Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Kennedy Middle School
  • Glyndon
  • Hawley
  • Moorhead: Ellen Hopkins Elementary, Robert Asp Elementary, SG Reinertsen Elementary
  • Moose Lake
  • New Hope
  • Perham
  • Pine City
  • Rothsay
  • St. Louis Park
  • St. Peter
  • Windom: Windom Area Middle School, Winfair Elementary