CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (June 4, 2012) — Registration is now open for the 16th Walk to School Day, an annual event in the United States that is a part of an international effort to celebrate the many benefits of walking and bicycling to school. Walk to School Day 2012 will take place on Wednesday, October 3. Walk to School Day participation reached a record high in 2011 with more than 4,000 registered U.S. events, and that number is expected to rise once again in 2012.
Walk to School Day event registration is free and available to individuals and organizations holding an October event in the United States. Events that register on the Walk to School website, www.walkbiketoschool.org, will be displayed on an interactive U.S. map on the website, where neighboring communities, media and other organizations can identify who is walking in their area.
Registering a Walk to School Day event provides organizers access to free, downloadable materials on the newly redesigned website, including stickers, certificates and customizable fliers. They can also easily create and share a walking or bicycling to school route via the new Map-a-Route tool. Registrants can also subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter for six weeks in September and October with tips and resources for organizing a Walk to School Day event.
International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, it has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – participate every October.
For more information on Walk to School activities in the U.S., visit www.walkbiketoschool.org. To see who walked in 2011, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org/go/whos-walking/2011. To learn more about Walk to School Day 2011, read the annual report.
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the information clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts for U.S. Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation. The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.
In 1997, the Partnership for a Walkable America sponsored the first National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago, modeled after the United Kingdom’s lead. Back then, it was simply a day to bring community leaders and children together to create awareness of the need for communities to be walkable. By 2000, children, parents, teachers and community leaders in the U.S. joined millions of walkers around the world in the first international celebration of Walk to School Day. The reasons for walking have grown just as quickly as the event itself. For more information, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org.