(11/28/2012 9:03 AM
Contact: Michael Flood, Media and Community Relations, (601) 359-7074
Mississippi Ranks Among Top Three Walk to School Day Participants
JACKSON, MISS. Wednesday, November 28, 2012--- Thousands of schools across America and in more than 40 countries worldwide celebrate walking to school every October. The officially promoted Walk to School Day this year was Wednesday, October 3, but Walk to School Day events took place throughout the month, even spilling into September and November.
From all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 4,281 schools registered Walk to School Day events, setting a new Walk to School Day record. Mississippi, along with South Carolina and Oregon, shared the highest registration rates in the country. Each state registered at least one of six elementary and middle schools.
This year’s national registration topped 2011’s record total of 4,175. Many more communities celebrated Walk to School Day, but didn’t register their event. Walk to School Day registration has grown every year since the National Center for Safe Routes to School began coordinating the event in 2006.
“It is very exciting to see Mississippi ranked among the top three in the nation for Walk to School Day participants,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “Congratulations to all students, parents and teachers throughout the state of Mississippi that participated in Walk to School Day events last month.”
“The Safe Routes to School coordinators work very hard to improve safety and promote students getting to school by foot and bicycle,” said the Mississippi Transportation Commission in a joint statement. “We would like to thank the Safe Routes to School coordinators, school administration and local officials who helped bring Safe Routes to School programs to our communities.”
“Mississippi ranking in the top three is more than a number. The enthusiasm that communities have for Walk to School Month is contagious and catching on,” said Safe Routes to School Coordinator Cookie Leffler. “The events are getting more creative and the children’s enthusiasm for walking to school is exciting and gratifying. Because of the success of Walk to School Day, we continue to see an increase in the number of kids walking to school safely on a regular basis. And the events are fun.”
Walk to School Day began in the U.S. in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. In 2000, the event became International Walk to School Day when the U.K., Canada and U.S. joined together for the first time. To accommodate growing interest around the world, organizers began promoting International Walk to School Month for the entire month of October.