I Am Conservation

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From Missouri Conservationist: Oct 2015

Once a week after school, a group of kids ages 5–11 from Rock Bridge Elementary in Columbia walk through the woods behind their school as part of the walking school bus program. Started in spring 2010 by Cindy Hall, the walking school bus program encourages students to walk to and/or from school under adult supervision. I am Conservation 10-2015“I had heard about the walking school bus happening at other schools in town and thought it sounded like a great idea and program,” said Hall. “I knew our school did not have a lot of sidewalks coming to it, especially at the time we started the program, and then thought of trying the walk through Rock Bridge State Park, which is located right behind the school.” It proved to be popular — more than 150 kids walked to school on the program’s first day. Over the years, it has evolved into an after-school walk once a week. With the help of parent volunteers, more than 80 kids walk the same one-mile path through the park to meet waiting parents at a playground near the trail’s end. Rock Bridge Elementary participates in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Discover Nature Schools program, so the kids can observe things they study in the classroom as well as learn new lessons along the way. “We need to give kids more time to just go out and explore nature, and our walk gives them a fun way to do so,” said Hall.

—photograph by Noppadol Paothong

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler