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Walking to school celebrated
Haw Creek students, parents take part
Students and parents cross the parking lot at Haw Creek Elementary School during the International Walk to School Day event. - photo by Jim Dean

Students, parents and even pets got a bit of a workout Tuesday during the International Walk to School Day.

More than 3,300 schools in the United States participated in the event, including Haw Creek Elementary.

“It was amazing. I think it was the best one we’ve ever had,” said Principal Amy Davis. “The turnout was just incredible.”

Nearby Mashburn Elementary will be holding its walk today.

For Haw Creek, it was the fourth year participating in the annual event, which is designed to promote safe walking environments and physical activity.

The national event was organized by National Center for Safe Routes to School, but Haw Creek’s meeting point and walking routes were organized through the parent/teacher organization, Davis said.

The school does several walk to school days throughout the year, with the next one set for April.

Davis said the events have worked. About 150 of the school’s 850 students walk or pedal to school and that number “increases every year and that’s great to see.”

“The focus on days like this make a difference and do increase that participation,” Davis said.

The event began in 1997 as a way to bring community leaders and students together to help make communities more walkable.

Within five years, all 50 states were participating. The event has grown to a month-long celebration.

In a statement, National Center for Safe Routes to School Director Lauren Marchetti said it continues to “inspire community-grown events that celebrate health, safety and a sense of community.”

“Often, this one-day event becomes the catalyst to larger commitments and permanent improvements that make walking and bicycling to school safer transportation options year round,” she said.