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April showers bring…Walk to School Day registration!

Shortly after the signs of spring begin to show – be it rain or snow showers – folks in the Safe Routes to School world begin to think about Walk to School Day registration. This year’s event will be celebrated across America on Wednesday, October 5, and I hope Let’s Move! supporters can join the fun. After all, it’s an international celebration of families and communities being active – together – on the way to school.

Here are the basics: Walk to School Day is a one-day event in the U.S. that is a part of an international effort to celebrate the many benefits of walking and bicycling to school throughout the month of October. Walk to School events can be as simple as a few kids and parents meeting to walk to school or very elaborate celebrations. Learn more about how to get started on the Walk to School website, www.walktoschool.org/getstarted/index.cfm.

Students getting the morning started with an energizing walk to school. (Photo Credit www.walktoschool.org)

Registration is now open for Walk to School Day 2011. It’s free, provides access to free, downloadable materials, and registered events are displayed on an interactive U.S. map on the website, where neighboring communities, media and other organizations can identify who is walking in their areas. Walk to School Day participation reached a record high in 2010 with more than 3,500 registered U.S. events, and that number is expected to rise once again in 2011, especially if new events are planned as a part of the Let’s Move! initiative.

New in 2011, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which is the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the U.S., is inviting parents, students, teachers and other community members to submit catchy slogan ideas for the nationwide Name that Walk to School Day contest. While safety is a focus for Walk to School Day events every year, developing a safety focused slogan and new resources for this year’s celebrations will enable participants to show support for a larger, international campaign, the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, which will be launched in May.

Even if you still need a little time to think about Walk to School Day, submit your safety slogan ideas now a chance to win a Walk to School Day mini-grant for your school.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and safe Walk to School Day 2011!

Students participating in a poster contest held in celebration of International Walk to School Day. (Photo credit www.walktoschool.org)