Telling stories through video is proving a popular way to tell the active school travel story in (AST) in Thunder Bay.
Walk Or Wheel Thunder Bay (WOW TBay) has created a series of professionally produced videos that celebrate unique AST initiatives – and the student, parent, teacher and principal champions who make them possible – at four different schools in the city. Collectively they have been viewed more than 20,000 times and counting on Facebook.
In addition to celebrating champions, the videos help overcome barriers to AST in a positive and visually compelling way. For instance, because surveys at St. Thomas Aquinas CS revealed that parents are particularly concerned about allowing their children to walk alone, the school’s video focuses on its Park and Stride group and the fun of walking with friends. The others highlight a parent-led walking school bus, a bike rodeo, and a neighbourhood walk involving an entire school.
“The students I interview for these stories are so proud to be role models who are healthy and making a difference for the planet,” says WOW TBay project co-lead Caroline Cox of EcoSuperior. “They also genuinely love walking and wheeling, and they talk about the fun of seeing a bird on their way to school or spending time with their friends.”
The videos are also used to promote and explain the WOW TBay project at schools and in meetings with community partners and decision-makers, some of whom appear on screen too.
“When they see themselves in our images, the message really hits home that active transportation is important to our community and our leaders are embracing it,” says Cox.
WOW TBay is co-led by EcoSuperior and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit with additional support from the City of Thunder Bay, Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay, local schools boards and Thunder Bay Police. It is one of the 28 community-based projects receiving support from the Ontario Active School Travel Fund.