Category Archives: Middle School

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White Hill Students Learn Through Bicycling

On Friday, May 6th, 270 White Hill seventh graders biked or walked to the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax for a full day of bicycle math, science, history, engineering, safety, and fun.  Fairfax Mayor Renee Goddard joined students, Safe Routes to Schools Instructors, White Hill teachers, and parent volunteers to cycle down Sir Francis Drake with the Fairfax police escorts.

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The students learned about the history of bike engineering and innovation, and studied math by learning how bike gear ratios help propel bikes forward.  Two of the museum’s co-founders, Joe Breeze and Otis Guy, mountain bike pioneers and bicycle designer-builders, were on hand. Joe explained how bikes evolved and how the bicycle took society by storm in the 19th century—it was a Freedom Machine then and still is today. Joe also told firsthand stories of early off-road riding here in Marin County, showing the very bikes that launched the mountain bike era.

DSC09122xsOtis Guy showed the students a high-wheeler from the early 1880s. He explained how it worked, then climbed aboard it for a demo ride.  Safe Routes to Schools had an obstacle course for balance and navigating practice, and students enjoyed smoothies pedaled on our bike blender.   Fairfax Cyclery bike mechanics assessed and made gentle adjustments to student bikes and Sustainable Fairfax taught zero-waste habits for packing lunches.   This community endeavor will be a day that White Hill students will remember, where bikes and brains were celebrated.

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Marin’s Youth Shine at Leadership Conference

It was a fabulous day at the sold out Youth for the Environment and Sustainability (YES) Conference at the Lawrence Hall of Science on January 30th. Over 300 Bay Area middle and high school students gave up their Saturday to learn more about what teens are doing to mitigate climate change.

Middle schools in Marin County are reaching or exceeding 50% of the school population using active transportation – walking and rolling to school. Students from Kent, Miller Creek, and Mill Valley Middle schools were selected to share their experience to empower action and to show what a “tipping point” looks like at schools where green transportation is the norm through sustained Safe Routes to Schools programs and events.

Santy Hernandez Maldonado from Miller Creek explained that her school has 75% green trips due to a popular bus service, yet students are encouraged to walk and bike for health benefits. Miller Creek created the 50% Challenge and a school-wide pledge campaign to increase active transportation habits.

Anna Silverman told how Kent Middle School’s Eco Action Club creates theme days to promote green modes of transportation. Their prizes for “Go Green” days coincide with a holiday or festive event at their school such as pie for Pi Day (March 14), chocolate hearts for Have a Heart Day (Valentines Day), and Do-Nut Drive and Hot Walk-o-late Days.  Kent club students promote action with social fun, and their events are hugely popular.

Theo Koffman and Kara Kneafsey spoke of how Safe Routes started at Mill Valley Middle School when they were just two years old.  They said they are proud to be a part of the legacy to promote green modes of transportation through their Student Leadership Council, which serves over 600 cups of hot chocolate on an event day.  The majority of students at their school travel green and the bike racks are overflowing well beyond capacity. The culture is embedded; hundreds of students walk and roll to school each day, and the minority commute in cars.

Our Marin teens felt inspired to learn that they are part of a much bigger community of young people, from all over the Bay Area, who are passionate about creating healthier communities and reduce climate change.