May is Walk + Bike Challenge Month and throughout Oregon 135 elementary and middle schools and 19 high schools and colleges are registered for the event which is in its 3rd year. This is the first year that Eugene/Springfield schools are joining in the competition and there are 12 elementary and middle schools registered: Cal Young, Camas Ridge, CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez, Edgewood, Family School/ATA, Homesource, McCornack, Network Charter, Path Finder Program, Ridgeview, River Road, Roosevelt, Thurston Elementary, and Yujin Gakuen.
There are some exciting things happening throughout May (and into June) as part of the Challenge. Here are some of the highlights:
- Each school is tracking their walking, biking, skating, scooting, or other active transportation trip to school throughout May
- Participating schools received a package of incentives including Walk + Bike stickers, temporary tattoos, ribbons, bike bells, and shoelaces from the state and local Walk + Bike coordinators as well as a special Nutcase Helmet or $25 gift certificate thanks to the sponsorship of local bike shop, Arriving By Bike.
- The state Walk + Bike program and the BTA will be giving away four prizes each week throughout the month to schools who submit stories, drawings, photos, videos, or other creative outpouring about walking and biking. Drawings will take place every Friday at noon during the month of May. Winning submissions will be announced in weekly coordinator updates and posted on the website. For a chance in the weekly drawings to win shoes, socks and bags from Keen and Nutcase helmets email your creative entry to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred) or mail to the BTA c/o Margaux Mennesson, PO Box 28289, Portland, OR 97228.
- The school in Eugene with the highest percentage of their student trips taken by walking or rolling will win $500 from point2point Solutions to use towards their school active transportation projects or physical education program.
- An end of school year and Walk + Bike Challenge month wrap-up celebration will be held on Saturday June 19th. For the Bike & Boat the Willamette event we’ll gather in Sladden Park, ride up the Willamette and then the kids will pile into 6 boats and float back to the park for food and some free Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss! Thanks to a generous donation from Northwest Community Credit Union it will only cost $5 to do the float! Registration is required for the boat trip but everyone is welcome at the celebration.
Challenge month is an outgrowth of the international Walk and Bike to School day held every year around the world. Last Fall we had 24 area schools participate and it’s exciting to see a whole month long event happening in the Spring with almost half of those schools joining in too. These type of encouragement events help to raise awareness and bring excitement to the idea of getting more kids walking and rolling to school more often. Just like the Bike to Work Day and programs like the Business Commute Challenge encourage adults to get out of their cars to try other modes of transportation Walk + Bike Challenge Month provides students with a great way to start thinking about their transportation choices.
Though everyday should be â€˜walk and bike to school day’ or â€˜bike to work day’ it’s important to have a time set aside to both educate AND celebrate. We need to let people know why walking and biking to school is important: it gets students ready to learn, increases safety, allows kids to build physical activity into their day, connects people to their communities, reduces pollution, and is a lot of FUN! We also need to celebrate those who are already using active transportation or are willing to give it a try.
We’ll post various updates throughout the month of what local schools and families are doing to challenge themselves to â€˜think outside of the box’. To kick it off you can see what one Eugene family is doing as part of the “Drive Less Family Challenge” as KEZI starts their coverage of the week long challenge that starts today! The winning family will get an Portland family get-away (via Amtrak) and a new Burley trailer!