Active School Travel
What we offer all schools
The WOW TBay program offers several initiatives that are open to all Thunder Bay schools. These are:
- Four annual events: Walk to School Month, Winter Walk Day, Active April, and Bike Week
- Consultation and support setting up Active School Travel initiatives. Have questions about setting up a Walking School Bus, daytime walking group, or other initiative that will help kids travel actively? We can help!
- Professional development opportunities for staff. At this 1-hour session, staff learn about the benefits of active school travel, how they can encourage students to travel actively, and events and resources run by EcoSuperior and the Health Unit that can support their efforts. The presentation includes curriculum links across subjects and grade levels.
School Travel Plans for four selected schools
In May 2018 and January 2019, schools had the opportunity to apply to work with the WOW TBay program to develop and implement school-specific travel plans. Ecole Gron Morgan and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School were selected to participate in 2018, and St. Margaret Catholic School and Edgewater Park Public School joined the program in 2019. At the four selected schools, guardians, students, teachers and administrators work collaboratively with the WOW TBay committee to develop an effective active school travel plan that meets the needs of each school community. Initiatives may include walking school buses, wayfinding signage, education campaigns, and others. Participating schools receive approximately $15,000 of in-kind support to deliver initiatives.
Walk or Wheel TBay (WOW TBay) is part of the province-wide Ontario Active School Travel project. This project is made possible through financial support from Green Communities Canada and the Government of Ontario. WOW TBay has received $86,000 to deliver active school travel initiatives to elementary-aged students from May 2018-June 2020. The purpose of WOW TBay is to encourage families to choose active transportation for the trip to and from school. Active transportation refers to any form of human-powered (non-motorized) travel such as walking, cycling, using a wheelchair, scooter, or skateboard. Students who are bused can also be encouraged to use active transportation to get to the bus stop. Active transportation increases physical activity, improves physical, mental and emotional health while also benefiting our environment.
What is WOW TBay?
WOW TBay is a committee co-chaired by staff at EcoSuperior Environmental Programs and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. The committee also includes staff from Lakehead Public Schools, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay, the City of Thunder Bay, and Thunder Bay Police Service. The role of WOW TBay is to connect partners and to work closely with schools to develop and implement active school travel plans. WOW TBay also helps schools access resources that will support their active transportation initiatives.
In working together, school administrators, teachers, parents, other school board staff, public health departments and municipalities can implement an Active School Travel Program focused on promoting active transportation. Schools will be able to leverage resources of all partners, as well as staff resources from Facilitators, to create an effective program.