Valley students brave windy walk to school
Dozens of Gardnerville Elementary students braved a cold north wind and flying dust to walk to their school on Wednesday morning.
Part of International Walk to School Day, students started at Heritage Park and walked along the Martin Slough Loop Trail.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coordinator Albert Jacquez of the Nevada Department of Transportation greeted the students along with Principal Shannon Brown and Douglas County Economic Vitality Manager Lisa Granahan.
While many students were there with their parents, Jacquez advised them to walk as though they were on their way to school by themselves.
“Every day you walk to school you won’t have this many people with you, will you,” he said. “Today as you walk make sure you walk as though the adult isn’t here.”
The advice he gave students would be good for anyone crossing Carson Valley’s busy streets.
“Make eye contact before you cross the road, look left, look right and then look left one more time,” he said. “Do you know why we look left? That’s where cars come from on the street.”
Principal Shannon Brown thanked the students and parents who turned out for the walk.
“I was sharing with our school board just last night that Gardnerville elementary is all about community,” he said. “And see all of you guys here, just goes to prove that one more time. We bike to school, we walk to school, we’re braving the cold, just like one big family.”
Granahan said quality of life is important to the county.
“We love to have trails like the Martin Slough Trail. This trail has been made possible by the hard work of the town of Gardnerville and money from the Question 1 protections. Along the trail there are great depictions of the wildlife so take a look at those as you go,” she said. “One day this trail will go all the way to Jakes Wetlands and we’ll be able to connect three schools with awesome access.”
Scarselli and Jacks Valley elementary school students participated in the walk on Oct. 2.
Jacks Valley Principal Pam Gilmartin said that because Jacks Valley Road tends to be quite busy, the students walked around the school’s track.
Scarselli Principal Susan McNeall said Walking Wednesday is a regular occurrence at the Gardnerville Ranchos school.
“We also hold something called Walking Wednesday where students are encouraged to walk, ride or scooter to school or run laps after arriving on the bus,” she said. “They have punchcards and receive a punch each time they participate, with prizes and a party for those with a certain number of punches. Our PE teacher, Doug Odell, has organized and facilitated this the last few years and we have parent volunteers to help with the punch cards and prizes.”
Drivers should watch for children walking and bicycling to school every day and be mindful of school zone speed reductions, as well as varying school start times. Motorists should also only pass bicyclists when it is safe with at least three feet of space between the bicycle and vehicle and never overtake a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk. Pedestrians and bicyclists should only cross streets when safe, and always look for vehicles before and while crossing. Per state law, no u-turns or passing are allowed in active school zones or school crossing zones.
To learn about specific International Walk to School Day events, contact Nevada Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School Coordinator Cathy Balcon at (775) firstname.lastname@example.org or find walking information at bicyclenevada.com. Further event information and registration is also available at walkbiketoschool.org.