Boulder Daily Camera- October 7, 2009
By Vanessa Miller, Camera staff writer
Fourth-graders Ava Lobo, right, and Katherine Lapp, left, run to join their friends during International Walk to School Day at Flatirons Elementary School on Wednesday morning. (Marty Caivano)
Vehicle traffic wasn't a problem on streets around many Boulder Valley schools Wednesday morning, but sidewalks were overly congested with walking, biking, skating and scootering students participating in International Walk-to-School Day.
Many of the children who toted oversized backpacks and grabbed free snacks at event tents set up outside their schools said they always walk or wheel to class and don't need a special day to take advantage of the exercise and opportunity to save gas. But, most kids said they always like the festive atmosphere.
"And you get free Clif bars," said Flatirons Elementary fourth-grader Alek Stawkowski, 10, who rode his blue "full-suspension" bike to school. "These are pretty good."
At least 5,000 students at 31 schools in the Boulder Valley School District participated in the event. Some elementary groups convened at parks to walk together, some strolled to school via "walking school bus," and others met up with neighbors for a rare walk or bike to class.
Alek said he always rides his bike to school.
"I like to get the exercise, and I'd rather not create as much pollution," he said between bites of his walk-to-school snack.
The event started in 1994 as an experiment by parent activists in a London suburb, according to district transportation officials. Today, it has grown into a worldwide event in 40 countries — including China, Mexico, Israel and South Africa.
Boulder Valley's walk-to-school theme this year is "empower children to empower themselves" by raising awareness about walking and cycling and the physical activity that reduces traffic.
"If time permits, we prefer to walk," said Jo Lindores, whose 6-year-old son, George, goes to Flatirons. "It's physically good for you and for your health, and it saves on emissions."