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Drive Less Challenge 2013: Oak and Blach Claim Greenest School Titles

Mike McTighe presents award to Oak principal Amy Romem and WoW parent Doug Hahn

Mike McTighe presents award to Oak principal Amy Romem and WoW parent Doug Hahn

The Green Town Los Altos 2013 Drive Less Challenge is history and the environment is the biggest winner. Residents challenged themselves to drive less and make it a lasting habit. Children in the community formed new friendships walking, wheeling, and carpooling to school.

Oak Avenue school took top honors as the Greenest Elementary School and Blach scored the Greenest Middle School Title. This year’s simplified format encouraged community members to review their transportation habits and make a personal pledge to use green alternatives for some or all of their trips to work, school or about town. Over 170 individuals pledged to drive less over the two-week period, a 15% increase over last year’s event. Over 60% of those reporting said that they had met or exceeded their pledge goals and many plan to continue using their newfound green transportation modes.

This years new focus was our youth. Green Town recruited parents and schoolchildren in the district to compete for the title of Greenest Elementary and Greenest Middle Schools.  Green Town Walk or Wheels (WoW) program parent volunteers helped get the word out to increase participation by our youngsters.

Some WoW parents offered incentives like hot chocolate or lemonade to kids who walked, cycled, scootered or drove in carpools.

WoW Days generate broad enthusiasm

WoW Days generate broad enthusiasm

Wow parents organized Almond bike train

Almond bike train

Volunteers at Loyola and Almond successfully organized bike trains. Most notably, the Loyola elementary population, who face safety challenges crossing busy Foothill Expressway, organized a 40-student bike train that utilized a well thought out safe route down Magdalena and across Foothill to Berry Ave. Loyola parent efforts paid off as WoW participation was up 10% over previous counts winning them the “Most Improved School” award.

A final award went to Gardner Bullis, the school with the “Highest Parental Participation” in the Drive Less Challenge.

Challenge participants celebrated their accomplishments at a Bike to Work Day party held at the Costume Bank. Prizes donated by local businesses were awarded, tasty snacks were noshed, and all had a fantastic time. By the number of bikes seen around town, parked at the Y, and at the farmer’s market bike valet, it seems that the green trend is catching on!

Congratulations to all who participated for a job well done! A special thank you goes out to all the dedicated parents who encourage their children to get exercise daily by Walking or Wheeling to school.

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