Twelve students parade for pedestrian safety in costume


St. Paul, May 1, 2009. A group of high school students will be holding a pedestrian safety awareness event in hopes of promoting safe commuting habits. The event will be held in St. Paul at the Hamline College campus on the intersection of Englewood and Snelling.

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A grant from Eco Education funded the new Environmental Stewards program at Great River School. This class has been working for the past several months on a pedestrian safety initiative for the Hamline-Midway neighborhood. Their past semester’s work will culminate at the Pedestrian and Cyclist safety event being held at Hamline College.

Rather than focusing on predetermined environmental issues, the class required the students choose their own issue that they can observe on their own, after careful research.

“This approach to education has really been student-driven,” one of the students said. “Sometimes this makes it a little hectic, but overall I learned a ton.”

The class mandated that its students learn not only about the environment, but also about skills in research and management.

As another student said, “Before the beginning of this class, I didn’t know how to talk to someone professionally, keep a schedule, or make a budget. I think these are things that people most often get wrong in the real world, because as young adults or older adults we don’t communicate enough to tell each other how we really feel, and we don’t make our schedules to include important things. And then, like with budgetary skills, there’s the economy… so all of what we learned had important real-world applications, even regardless of learning about the environment.”

After conducting surveys, gauging concern, and thinking critically about their local environment, students of the class independently began an initiative to promote safer commuting. The group of twelve has organized a field trip for May 7th and 8th and will be providing basic bicycle maintenance, bike lights, and information about local safety laws for free to their community, in themed costumes.

“I’ve never been this into my local world,” a student concludes. “I hope we can teach some people that making it safer is the best thing we can do.”

About Eco Education

Eco Education is a non-profit environmental education organization based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, that has served thousands of students since 1991. They are “committed to making environmental education relevant to urban learners and to helping them address their unique environmental concerns”.

About Great River School

Great River School is a secondary Montessori charter school that “fosters independence, critical thinking, respect, responsibility to self, to others, and to the earth” with its course-work and seeks to “prepare students for their unique roles as responsible and engaged citizens in the world” with its unique, community-centered style as a school.