Update from the SRTS Coordinator
The last several months have been very busy ones for our Safe Routes to School Program. Five of the pilot schools organized Walk to/at School activities for Walk to School month in October. The article below provides details about their varied approaches. I conducted a Pedestrian Skill Training Session for some of the physical education teachers who will be incorporating these skills into their PE classes. In March, Matthew Burczyk and I offered a similar session for PE teachers on teaching bicycling skills and rules of the road as part of their PE classes. Thanks to our SRTS grant, we have purchased a trailer to transport 25 bikes and helmets to each of the pilot schools. This is an exciting and ongoing part of our Safe Routes to School Program!
We are currently putting together a package of incentive items for each pilot school and will be delivering those within the next few weeks. Each school will also receive copies of the Walk Smart & Bike Smart DVD Programs for use in target grades. Instructions will be included when the DVDs are delivered to the school.
I will be working with the SRTS Action Teams to develop and roll out our Proud Pacesetter Program, to encourage parents, staff, and neighbors to be role models as they drive through the school zone and on school property. Stay tuned for more details!
Thanks for your continuing support of Safe Routes to School in Forsyth County!
Judi Wallace, SRTS Coordinator for the Winston-Salem Urban Area
5 Schools Participated in Walk to School Month 2010
Five of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County’s Safe Routes pilot schools sponsored Walk to School events, each in its own way. Here are brief descriptions of each school’s approach:
Kimberley Park Elementary— Wednesday, October 6
Kimberley Park kicked off its fourth year of Walk to School events by encouraging students to walk on International Walk to School Day. Staff and volunteers gave out school bracelets and stickers to all participating walkers and walked with groups of students who gathered at Aster Park Pavilion to walk together. A mix-up with bus drivers kept bus riders from participating in this event but they were able to participate in the second walk on November 3.
Forest Park Elementary— Thursday, October 7
Volunteers at Forest Park greeted walkers coming from different directions and gave them stickers and pencils for participating. While Forest Park already has numerous walkers, the school is encouraging more students to walk instead on being driven to school.
Sherwood Forest Elementary— Friday, October 8
Sherwood Forest is in its 5th year of Safe Routes to School walk events. Car riders are encouraged to participate by meeting at a nearby church and walking together. Volunteers in orange vests help at intersections and hand out orange slices provided by parents. Walkers were given bookmarks designed by Sherwood Forest students. (See related article).
Clemmons Elementary —Wednesday, October 13
For the school’s first Walk to School event, Assistant Principal Sheila Washington, arranged for parents to drop their kids off behind the Broyhill Center and Clemmons Public Library where they use the school’s back gate and walk across the sports fields to the school. October 13 was also designated as Pajama Day, which provided for some interesting photos.
Kernersville Middle — Monday-Thursday, October 25-28
These students honored Walk to School month in an innovative way. Because of rainy weather, students wore pedometers and tracked their walking steps inside the school over a 4-day period. Coordinated by teacher Amanda Hedrick, student totals for each grade were measured against that grade’s overall goal. Eighth graders were working on mileage equal to their field trip to Washington, DC this year. Seventh graders counted their steps toward walking along the Nile River while sixth graders “walked” along the Amazon River, which they are studying this year.
Because of staff changes, Kernersville Elementary will hold their Walk to School event in the spring. Kimberley Park and Sherwood Forest are planning additional Walk to School Days to encourage their students to walk on a regular basis. Kimberley Park students will be walking to school on the first Wednesday of each month from February through May, 2011.
For free, downloadable resources to perk up your Walk to School event, check out the Walk to School web site.
The Surprising Link Between Air Pollution and Diabetes
We all know that Air Pollution is for our lungs, especially young lungs. Now a new study by Children’s Hospital in Boston has found that people who live in areas with the highest levels of pollution have a 20% greater chance of getting adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes.
Study co-author Dr. Allison Goldfine of Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center explains, “After adjusting for lifestyle factors like weight and education, air pollution remained associated with this type of diabetes.”
With more than 23 million Americans having diabetes, health experts now believe that environmental factors may play a role. Air pollution might cause chronic low-grade inflammation, “and inflammation can make you more susceptible to the disease,” Dr. Goldfine says.
While more studies are under way, consider this healthy living advice, especially for children: “Walk and ride your bike as much as possible,” Dr. Goldfine urges. “You’ll reduce pollution and get the exercise you need to prevent diabetes.” One more excellent reason for Safe Routes to School to encourage more walking and biking to school.
Free Safety Materials Available
The National Center for Safe Routes to School offers Free, downloadable resources that are available from a variety of sources. Resources are grouped by whether the focus is pedestrian and bicycle safety skills or the environmental benefits of walking and bicycling.
Safe Routes to School web site
Sherwood Forest Students Design Walk to School Bookmarks
Sherwood Forest students who participated in Walk to School Day recently have been rewarded with unique bookmarks designed by their fellow students. In spring of 2010, the school’s SRTS Action Team organized a bookmark design contest for students in grades K-5. One winning entry was selected from each grade, so six bookmarks were printed with biking and walking information on the back of each bookmark. This creative idea is fun for the students and inexpensive to do!
For more information on local SRTS activities, contact Judi Wallace, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for the Winston-Salem Urban Area at (336)768-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew Burczyk, Pedestrian & Bicycle Coordinator for the Winston-Salem Urban Area, can help with issues related to walking and bicycling around schools and neighborhoods. He can be reached at (336)747-6884 or email@example.com .
The Winston-Salem Department of Transportation sponsors and coordinates the Safe Routes to School Program for the Winston-Salem Urban Area, which includes all of Forsyth County and parts of Davidson, Davie, and Stokes counties.
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CITY OF WINSTON-SALEM Mayor: Allen Joines; City Council: Vivian H. Burke, Mayor Pro Tempore, Northeast Ward; Denise D. Adams, North Ward; Dan Besse, Southwest Ward; Robert C. Clark, West Ward; Molly Leight, South Ward; Wanda Merschel, Northwest Ward; Derwin L. Montgomery, East Ward; James Taylor Jr., Southeast Ward: City Manager: Lee Garrity