The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) pulled out all the stops this year to promote International Walk to School Day (IWALK). The result: 46 schools participated — 60 percent of all UGDSB schools. Of the participating schools, 15 achieved student participation rates of more than 80 percent.

UGDSB credits several factors for its successful IWALK campaign:

  • This was a whole-board campaign – all schools were encouraged to participate and were provided with ready-to-use posters and stickers.
  • Schools with bused students were encouraged to hold “Walk at School” events, in which students could walk on the school grounds or in the nearby community at recess or lunch.
  • Environmental Lead teachers at each school were provided with sample announcements, school newsletter inserts, and curriculum-linked activities to publicize and promote the event.
  • Promotion outlined the benefits of walking, including increased physical fitness, mental health well-being, and decreased pollution.
  • The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Active & Safe Routes to School Committee supported the campaign and organized a prize draw with dance classes for the winning school.

In total, more than 10,000 UGDSB students took part in IWALK 2017. Collectively they walked 6770 km, almost the entire distance across Canada from St. John’s, NL to Hope, BC!

“We are thrilled with the results of our walking campaign – our target for next year is to make it all the way to the West Coast,” says Karen Acton, UGDSB’s Environmental Sustainability Lead.

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