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  • Randy Pench /

    Randy Pench "Walking school bus" volunteer Christa Erlank leads students and their parents toward their school, H. Allen Hight Elementary in North Natomas, on Wednesday to mark International Walk to School Day.

  • Randy Pench /

    Volunteer Christa Erlank hands out shoelaces to students on Wednesday as part of International Walk to School Day. Thousands of local students joined "walking school buses" or simply walked with parents.

Thousands in Sacramento area join Walk to School Day

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

Lines of students led by parents wended their way to school Wednesday in celebration of International Walk to School Day.

Locally, thousands of students joined "walking school buses" in groups or walked with parents.

Students at all 39 Elk Grove Unified elementary schools participated. Spirit rallies, safety presentations and entertainment added to the festive mood.

Elitha Donner Elementary kids were greeted at school with a farmers market, followed by a spirit rally and a health and safety fair.

In North Natomas, about 500 students walked to H. Allen Hight Elementary and Natomas Park Elementary, said Mellissa Meng of the North Natomas Transportation Management Association. The group will host similar events at other North Natomas campuses.

H. Allen Hight students formed a walking school bus to get to school. Participants were rewarded with a "special pair of shoelaces and an apple," Meng said.

The Natomas group is having a Walktober promotion, which offers students a chance to win prizes.

Officials want to reduce traffic, improve air quality and student health, and create a sense of community among families, Meng said.

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Read more articles by Diana Lambert

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