Carson City students are encouraged to walk, ride or roll to school Wednesday as part of the district's fall Walk to School Day.
"Walk to School Day is intended to reverse the trend of fewer and fewer students getting to school by human power," said Dan Allison, director of the Safe Routes to School program. "The decrease in students walking coincides with an increase in childhood obesity, diabetes and other diseases."
Although elementary schools have participated in the past, this will be the first in which the middle schools will be included as well.
Students who walk, ride bikes or roll on skateboards, scooters or roller skates will receive rewards, like stickers and pencils, from their individual schools.
Students who use the district's school buses can also participate by walking at recess times.
Allison encouraged parents to walk with their children Wednesday to establish a route the children can later walk alone.
"On this particular day, it's great if they can accompany their kids," he said. "They can talk about getting to school safely on their own."
The effort is part of International Walk to School Day, which was scheduled for Oct. 7. However, Carson City delayed its recognition of the event because Fremont Elementary School was not in session last week.
Allison heads the Safe Routes to School Program, which is a collaborative endeavor of the individual schools and their parent-teacher organizations, the school district, school board, Muscle Powered, Sierra Nevada Journeys and the Nevada Department of Transportation.
This will be the first activity as part of the new two-year grant that the school district obtained for 2009-2011.
Allison said health is the most pressing reason to encourage students to walk to school.
He cited a 2008 study that took a sample of fourth-, seventh- and 10th-grade students in Nevada and found 18 percent are overweight and 20 percent are obese.
"Walking to school gives kids an opportunity to get daily exercise," he said.
He said now is a good time to check out the routes to school because Carson City Public Works, using a $500,000 Safe Route grant, has improved sidewalks, crosswalks, multi-use paths and signing around schools.
Additional benefits of the program, Allison said, include decreasing environmental impact and alleviating traffic congestion around schools, making it safer to walk.
For information, contact Dan Allison at srts.carson