Urban Middle School students show school pride as they walk along North Avenue to school during this year's Winter Walk to School Day.
For the third year, Sheboygan County's Nonmotorized Program (NOMO Sheboygan County) has hosted Winter Walk to School Day on Feb. 6 to encourage a healthier and more enjoyable means of getting to school in the morning.
The organized event, thought to be the only of its kind in the state, reminds students of the importance of staying active year-round. Oftentimes, physical activity and exercise are forgotten when the temperatures drop during Wisconsin winters.
However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle no matter the season is crucial. Walking to school is a great way to not only live healthier, but also reduce congestion and encourage a cleaner environment by leaving the car behind for short trips. In fact, a main reason cited by parents for not allowing their children to walk to school is morning traffic, although 40 to 50 percent of it can be attributed to student drop-off at school.
Even though many people choose to hibernate indoors during the winter months, students at several Sheboygan schools illustrated that it is possible to enjoy the outdoors and choose active transportation to school as they bundled up for a morning walk with temperatures at 2 degrees.
This year, a combined estimate of 350 students between James Madison Elementary, Horace Mann Middle, Urban Middle, and Washington School for Comprehensive Literacy took part in Winter Walk to School Day.
Each school chose between one and three meeting points for students, such as at a nearby park or intersection within a 15-minute walk to school.
A principal, staff member or parent then led the organized walk as the students had fun socializing with their friends before school and also got in some morning exercise, allowing students to arrive more alert and ready to learn in the morning.
Staff at each school provided stickers for those who joined, while Urban Middle School students were accompanied by North High girls' and boys' basketball teams for the walk. Afterward, they enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate at the station set up inside the school for the walkers.
For more information or to host your own walking or biking event, please contact Emily Vetting at 920-459-3060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.