CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (April 6, 2011) — Registration is now open for Walk to School Day 2011, 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. Now in its 14th year, this year’s event will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 5. 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.
Walk to School Day event registration is free and available to individuals and organizations holding an October event in the U.S. Events that register on the Walk to School website, www.walktoschool.org/register , 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 areas.
Registering a Walk to School Day event provides organizers access to free, downloadable materials including event ideas, certificates and customizable flyers. Registrants can also subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter for six weeks in September and October with tips and resources for holding a Walk to School event.
New in 2011, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the U.S., wants to include parents, students, teachers and other community members in determining a safety slogan for this year’s event. 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. This is a logical fit because the trip to school is a safety concern throughout the world. For more information, visit www.decadeofaction.org.
Anyone is invited to submit catchy slogan ideas for the nationwide Name that Walk to School Day contest. Slogan ideas can be entered through an online form on the Walk to School Day website, www.walktoschool.org/contest_form.cfm, for a chance to win a $250 Walk to School Day mini-grant for a school, and to be featured on the Walk to School website . All are invited to vote for their favorite slogan in an online poll from May 4 through 10. New, free resources using the winning safety slogan will also be available in August 2011 for everyone to use.
Name that Walk to School Contest Details
Slogan ideas must be submitted on www.walktoschool.org/contest_form.cfm by 5 p.m. EDT on April 26, 2011. The National Center for Safe Routes to School will select up to four finalists for popular vote through an online poll to be conducted May 3 through 10. The winning slogan will be announced on May 11 on the website and Facebook page to coincide with the launch of the U.N. Decade of Action for Road Safety. Submitters are asked to identify the school to receive $250 should their entry be selected. For complete contest rules, visit www.walktoschool.org/contest_rules.cfm#rules.
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 with more than 3,500 U.S. events registered in 2010. For more information, go to www.walktoschool.org.