Active School Travel by Englehart students will receive a major boost with a project that is designed to encourage them to take the active route to school.
When more students are walking and wheeling to school, school zones have less traffic and are safer and less polluted. We also know that children who bike, walk, or roll to school, can benefit in terms of improved physical and mental health, including increased alertness in the classroom.
Walk ‘N Roll Timiskaming is an Active School Travel Project led by the Timiskaming Heath Unit who has received an additional $60,000 from the Ontario Active School Travel (OAST) Fund, a program of Green Communities Canada and made possible through financial support from the Government of Ontario. Thanks to an initial grant from OAST, the project team has been working with local municipalities, police, school boards, and community groups in Timiskaming since 2019 and added Englehart Public School and Holy Family Catholic School to the project in 2021.
Walk ‘N Roll hosted a launch event in Englehart on March 2 in conjunction with Winter Walk Day. Both elementary schools were given a new Active School Travel banner to display, and students participated in a parade around the community with their new banners. Both schools hosted Winter Walk Day Celebrations and students were encouraged to walk to school that day. Students who were bussed to school were given opportunities to go for group walks with their classes, and students who were driven were encouraged to be dropped off further from the school and walk the rest of the way.
Walk ‘N Roll works with school staff, students, families, and our regional stakeholders to learn about barriers to active school travel and take action. The project goals are to increase the number of students using active modes of transportation to and from school, enhance safety and decrease traffic congestion around the school, and encourage students living in the ‘bus zone’ to ride the school bus rather than getting a ride. The program provides skill building opportunities such as bike safety skills training and provides support for schools to participate in encouragement events including Winter Walk Day in February and International Walk to School Day in October.
“Active school travel leads to healthier students, safer school zones, and more connected communities,” said Jillian Plaunt, Englehart Town Councillor. “It takes a community working together to make active travel the easy and safe choice and through this project the people of Englehart are showing how much they care about the wellbeing of their children and youth.”