In celebration of the second annual “International Bike to School Day,” Newton County Theme School (NCTS) and Eastside High School students are invited to ride bicycles or walk the Eastside Trail after school on Wednesday, May 8. The newly constructed 2.5 mile trail connects Ramsey Drive, near the Covington Branch of the Newton County Public Library System, to Eastside High School.
After school day dismissal on May 8, Newton County Theme School students (NCTS) students will be assisted to the Covington Branch Library parking lot where they will enter the Eastside Trail.
Eastside High students will begin riding and walking from their school campus and move in the opposite direction towards the library.
As students move along the trail, they will learn about trail safety and etiquette and participate in a scavenger hunt.
They will have a chance to win prizes and enjoy healthy snacks at the conclusion of the event.
The intent of both “International Bike to School Day,” which began in 2012 as part of “National Bike Month,” and its predecessor, “International Walk to School Day,” originally founded in 1997 by The Partnership for a Walkable America, is for students around the world to enjoy being physically active, while encouraging safety, environmental health, and community engagement.
According to Steven Joyce, PE Teacher at Newton County Theme School, “The Biking to School event will be an excellent initiative for our students at the Theme School and Eastside High School to learn safety, etiquette, and techniques of proper bicycling. This [event] will hopefully jumpstart our families into more physical activity through biking in our community and to our schools.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that school-age children engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day; however, recent studies indicate that many children are falling short of this goal.
In fact, the 2011 Youth Risk Surveillance Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that less than one-third of high school students surveyed achieved the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day of the week prior to completing the survey.
According the CDC, physical activity is important for children to maintain a healthy weight and develop strong muscles and bones, and it may reduce the risk of chronic diseases later in life.
In addition, physical activity may encourage greater academic performance and improved behavior in the classroom.
Newton Trails and the Newton County Board of Commissioners have worked with Newton County School System (NCSS) employees to plan the event, which will promote the opening of the new Eastside Trail and encourage students to be physically active in their community.
According to Florian Pohl, Chairman of Newton Trails, “The Bike to School event showcases the many great benefits of trails for our community. Trails provide safe opportunities for more active trips on foot or bicycle and are a gateway to transportation choice. We at Newton Trails are excited about the leadership of the County Board of Commissioners and the Covington City Council seeing the project through. “
The Planning Committee hopes that the “Bike/Walk the Eastside Trail” event will extend beyond this one time event and encourage students and their families to be physically active, consider walking or bicycling to and from school, and visit the Eastside Trail in the future.
Currently, NCSS employees are planning the initiation of a bike to school program for Newton County Theme School (NCTS) students to begin bicycling to and from school on a regular basis.
For more information about Newton Trails and plans for future trails, visit http://www.newtontrails.org/.
For information on “International Bike to School Day”, visit: http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/.