| 03.18.2018

Walk this way — Safe Routes to School hosts Polar Walk to encourage health, safety


Walking to school in the winter might be chilly, but it can be fun and educational.Brooke Lowry, Safe Routes to School Moscow coordinator, said that’s the idea behind the organization’s upcoming event, The Polar Walk.
“Children like moving, and parents can enjoy it with their children as well,” she said.
The event will take place Feb. 13. More than 1,500 students from seven participating schools — West Park Elementary School, A.B. McDonald Elementary School, Moscow Middle School and others — will walk to class alongside parents, neighbors, teachers and city leaders. Other modes of travel will include sleds, buses, bicycles and “walking school buses.”
Lowry said participants will receive hot chocolate upon arrival and the students will earn snowflake key chains to decorate their backpacks. She said while children can enjoy earning the tokens and spending time outdoors, they will also benefit from The Polar Walk’s environmental and safety education elements. Moscow Middle School art students will display milk jugs to convey the amount of environmental degraders — such as carbon dioxide and smog pollution — kept from the air as participants conserve fuel by walking a few miles to school.
Lowry said the activity promises additional benefits to students if it becomes a habit, and parents will do a service for their children to let them walk.
“They get exercise (and) understanding of their community, neighbors and secure routes around town,” she said. “And the clear minds and fresh air make them better students.”
The Polar Walk provides a helpful reminder to maintain healthy pedestrian behaviors, Lowry said, and she hopes it will spark more walking throughout the year.
She said many have helped produce The Polar Walk, including teachers, parents, school and city officials and University of Idaho students and volunteers.
“We hope it will be a community event,” Lowry said.
Matt Maw can be reached at  arg-news@uidaho.edu

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