Organizations produce maps for walking, biking to school

Published 10:32 am Thursday, October 6, 2016

Albert Lea families were given maps in the last week to guide students in walking or biking to school and in turn promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Statewide Health Improvement Program of Freeborn County and Blue Zones Project of Albert Lea created and distributed walk and bike to school maps for families with students in the city’s four elementary schools and its middle school.

The maps were sent in connection with International Walk and Bike to School Day, which was Wednesday.

Freeborn County SHIP Coordinator Alice Englin said the initiative is important “so parents or guardians would be aware of different routes their children could walk or bike to school.”

Walking or biking to school builds confidence and independence, strengthens neighborhood connections, makes children healthier, prepares them to learn and is fun, Englin said, noting the initiative is part of the organizations’ objective to make the region a healthier place.

“This is one piece of a larger puzzle,” Englin said.

She thanked Freeborn County Geographic Information Systems Coordinator Tim Fulton for his work in creating the maps.

“We encourage opportunities for youth to be physically active,” said Freeborn County Health Department Director Sue Yost in a press release. “We also encourage community members to be safe on our roads by increasing their awareness of students walking and biking to and from school.”

Maps will soon be distributed to students at Alden-Conger, Glenville-Emmons, Hollandale Christian School and St. Theodore Catholic School.

Walk and Bike to School Day was established in 1997 in the United States by the Partnership for a Walkable America, the press release stated.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School was established in May 2006 to help communities enable and encourage children to safely walk and bike to school.

The center is the national coordinating agency for Walk to School and Bike to School activities in the U.S.

“Walk/Bike to School Day began as a simple idea — children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day,” the release stated. “It is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity and the need for safe places to walk and bike. Schools focus on health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment.”

Maps can be found at www.alschools.org, www.facebook.com/bluezonesprojectalbertlea or www.co.freeborn.mn.us/346/Statewide-Health-Improvement-Program-SHIP

 

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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