Approximately one thousand Needham students walked to school on Friday October 8th to celebrate International Walk to School Day (IWSD). Students from 5,000 U.S. schools in all 50 states joined children from 40 countries around the world in the IWSD, which kicked off the International Walk to School Month of October. Walk to School events build awareness around the need to create safer routes for walking and bicycling throughout the community.
Fridays’ walking event also marked the kick-off of the Earth25 walking incentive program. Broadmeadow, Hillside and Newman elementary schools are all participating in the pilot of the new website, Earth25.com, which was developed by two Needham mothers as a way to motive kids to walk or bike instead of riding in a carbon producing car.
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, there are many benefits to participating in the program, according to Debbie Schmill, co-founder of Earth25:
- children arrive at school better prepared to learn,
- children’s fitness levels increase,
- builds cultural and environmental awareness,
- local community is strengthened and
- parking lot congestion is decreased.
Students participating in the program log their carbon-free miles on Earth25.com. The cumulative miles logged by participants at a school propel a virtual troop of four elementary aged school children and a teacher along an earth journey. Through stories, video and pictures, Needham students virtually visit foreign countries and learn about their schools, their cultures and the environmental issues they are facing.
Earth25 co-founder, Allison Cornelisse, is thrilled by the reception the program has received in Needham, “It’s great to see how excited the schools are to participate in Earth25. We have worked hard to make Earth25 an initiative which not only helps kids to do their part to cut carbon emissions, but one that helps kids to be fit, to have fun with their friends which they travel carbon-free and to learn more about this amazing earth on which we all live.”