The Loreto active travel class organised a big event for our school called ‘Leg It to Loreto’ day on May 15.
To organise the event, we needed everybody on board as we hoped that a lot of students would walk and cycle to Loreto on that day.
There was a specific group allocated to organise the event, but everyone in the class was involved. Girls made tokens and posters.
Each student who cycled or walked to school received a token at the school entrances and made their way into the canteen to receive a ‘goodie bag’ of healthy breakfast snacks, and those who cycled received an added bonus of a saddle cover for their bike.
The day was part of the active travel project, in which Loreto TY students have participated this year.
Its aim was to promote walking and cycling to secondary schools. Each week we had three classes with Barry Lambe and Eimear Glendon from Waterford IT.
They encouraged us to learn about active travel and also helped us plan an event to encourage active travel in our school. Although our main focus was promoting cycling, we also encouraged students to walk to school each day.
To make a start on our event, we had to decide on a name for our project so we called it “Leg It to Loreto.” This meant that it targeted both walkers and cyclists. We were divided into groups to work on research projects.
The first group was a discussion and survey group. They handed out a survey to every student in the school and this showed how people travelled to school.
The survey showed that only two people out of 643 students surveyed cycle to school. The most popular mode of transport was travelling by car, followed by bus and then walking. As well as modes of transport, the group discussed barriers that people may feel might stop them from cycling to school, such as skirts, helmet hair and tiredness.
The next group was the accelerometer group. An accelerometer is a small, lightweight device one attaches to their leg and it measures the amount of time that one spends standing, walking or doing vigorous exercise. The accelerometer group was kindly given 20 accelerometers provided by WIT, and 20 girls were picked at random in TY to wear the devices for a week. We did this to see whether our survey accurately measured physical activity levels in our school.
The third group was the weather group. Their job was to record the weather over a period of 20 days, before and after school. The group found that it only rained six times out of the 40 times recorded, and for Ireland that was quite a surprise. It had been sunny for 16 days in total, cloudy for eight and cold for five days.
The next group was the route audit group. It consisted of a large group of girls who designed safe, possible routes for walkers and cyclists to travel to and from Loreto.
They also highlighted the areas on a large map and displayed them around our school.
Their work was very much appreciated on our “Leg It to Loreto” day, as students could find out the best possible routes to travel. The girls travelled the routes numerous times to ensure they were safe and also to check how long to took to walk or cycle them.
The “Leg It to Loreto” day was a great success and we’d like to thank everybody involved and we hope that people will continue to travel to our school more actively. We would also like to thank Barry, Eimear and Niamh for all their support and help with organising it introducing us to the active travel programme. We would also like to thank our teacher Ms O’Hanlon for her time and work with our class.