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When I was young I walked 2 miles to school, through 2 foot high snow drifts.

Okay, just a bit of a hyperbole.

But, I did walk to school everyday. No family car meant no other option. I even got up early to leisurely allowed time to engage in an appreciation of seasonal changes of budding trees, skipping through autumn leaves or packing snow balls. The brisk walked readied me for the more sedentary school day. But, apparently, children today need persuasion to do so. Today (Oct. 10) is the International Walk to School event and my city promotes a Walk to School week.

I thought walking to school would be a no brainer.

That is, until I experienced multiple days of walking through empty parks. As I live in an area of young families I could only wonder where were the children playing enthusiastically on the swings, teeter-totter and slides.

While stats convey that “46 per cent of students get three hours or less of active play a week, including week-ends”, I am not so much lamenting the children’s lack of exercise but rather how they are missing the simple joy of being outside, actively engaging with our common natural habitat.

With so much within the school focusing on the delicate balance within the environment and teaching an appreciate of the vital connection between all living things, it would seem a natural idea to experience that connection through the senses.

And so I was pleased, as I travelled my habitual morning neighborhood walk today, to pass school-aged children skipping hand in hand together, mothers pushing multiple babies in strollers and dads holding a child’s hand on one side,a dog on the other.

Walk to school.

Walk to work.

It not only has a potential for exercise, a clearing of the mind and a friendship binder, but the potential for a life-affirming engagement with nature.

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