THUNDER BAY – Walking and biking to school improves academic performance, children’s health and wellness, and community cohesion. It also decreases traffic congestion in school zones and reduces costs.
“We are working towards building awareness of the need to walk to school more regularly by providing short term incentives to the children. At the same time, we are also collaborating with city partners to work towards a safer built environment”, says Stasia Starr of the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. “By improving the built environment, we make it safer for the children and the entire community to be active.”
Thunder Bay’s School Travel Committee, a partnership between the City of Thunder Bay, Lakehead Public School Board, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, EcoSuperior Environmental Programs, Thunder Bay District Health Unit, and school community are working with École Gron Morgan students to help them walk to win. The committee provided the students with an opportunity to win a safety flasher after 20 walks to or from school and today, Hunter Jacobsen was awarded a grand prize of $50 to purchase new runners.
Participating teachers were also included in the contest and Grade 6 teacher Olivier Doucet was the winner. “Mr. Doucet bikes to and from school every day even during a blizzard” reports Ecole Gron Morgan principal Denise Baxter, “he is a great role model for travelling actively to work and to school.”
“We have been working with École Gron Morgan Public School to create an action plan that will enhance our future initiatives,” says Ashley Priem of EcoSuperior Environmental Programs. “We are currently looking for interested schools to work with to provide expertise and guidance in the area of increasing active transportation.”