Middle-schoolers are being asked to document their bike rides or walks to school Wednesday as part of Nevada Moves Day.
“The photos are going to be used in future planning,” said Cortney Bloomer, the Western Nevada Safe Routes to School coordinator. “We want to know a kid’s perspective about what makes their walk good and fun or what makes their walk scary and dangerous.”
Robert Hostler, computer literacy teacher at Carson Middle School, created a video to explain the directions for the Photo Voice project.
“As you’re walking or riding your bike, if you see something really neat or if you see something like broken glass or a crack in the sidewalk, something dangerous, stop, and take a really good photo,” Hostler instructed.
Photos should be sent to Bloomer at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 22, along with a description of what’s happening in the photo. They should include the hashtags #NVMoves17 and #HealthyCarsonCity. The pictures will also be entered into a contest to be judged by Nevada Photo Source.
“We are excited to be a part of this project that gives students a voice to be shared with city leaders,” said Cat Allison, owner of Nevada Photo Source. “The photos will be judged based on technical quality and creativity. The winner will receive an Action Camera.”
Beyond the contest, Bloomer said the photos will inform future decisions, including a presentation to the Carson City Board of Supervisors.
“As the health department moves forward with different projects, we want to have the kids’ input,” she said. “It’s important to us we listen to what the kids are saying rather than just making assumptions as adults as to what matters to kids in the community.”
She said the way children make sense of the world doesn’t always align with the way adults see it. She pointed out the kids who walk the routes regularly know the routes best.
“There are all kinds of reasons kids choose a certain route to school,” Bloomer said. “That’s important for us to know that when we’re planning safe routes. The kids are the ones using our infrastructure. We don’t want to build a community without at least considering them.”
The photos will also be used as part of a social media campaign to promote National Public Health Week on April 1-8.
While students at the middle school are being tasked with taking photos, all students are encouraged to walk or bike to school Wednesday.
Bloomer reminded students to follow safety protocols, including walking on sidewalks when possible and walking against traffic. Cyclists should wear helmets, obey traffic signs and use hand signals.
Motorists should also be aware of increased number of children on the roads.