Just get out and walk – or bike – to school
It was bikes and more when Seeliger Elementary School hosted its Walk ‘n’ Roll to School event on May 23. Forty-two percent of Seeliger’s students walked or biked to school on that day. compared with 17 percent on a typical day, according to organizer Arlene Richartz.
“Part of the reason for doing this is to combat the obesity problems,” she said. “As you know, it’s become an epidemic, and as you also know, there’s traffic congestion and air pollution.”
Volunteers, including Dr. Mary Pierczynski, superintendent of the Carson City School District, helped students fill out tickets for prizes like bike helmets, water bottles, reflective tape and backpacks. Seeliger solicited local merchants for donations and was able to give away passes to the Nevada Children’s Museum, free bowling games and martial arts classes.
Joe and Michelle Peltier of Muscle Powered donated $100 worth of fruit. Breakfast was available to those who signed up and paid ahead of time.
Walking Wednesday programs are under way at both schools, with slightly different formats. Seeliger physical education teacher Michele Van Voorst’s Walking Wednesday program has proven so successful that there is usually a bottleneck on Wednesday mornings with students waiting to get their Mile Marker cards marked for credit.
By contrast, Mark Twain’s Walking Wednesday program is held at lunch time, and students earn tokens based on points earned by the whole class. Principal Kathy Adair is pleased with the program, and adds that the weekly lunchtime walking program helps children stay out of trouble. Aides set out cones in the school grounds delineating a walking path for students.
The Safe-Routes-to-School program is funded through a Nevada Department of Public Safety grant given to Muscle Powered, a group of more than 20 Carson City-area residents devote to walking and riding advocacy.