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Each Winter Walk to School Day Minnesota Safe Routes to School asks participating schools to submit stories and photos of their Winter Walk to School Day event to compete for the Golden Snow Boot Award.

Submit your event by sending photos and stories to [email protected] before Feb. 16.

2023 Golden Snow Boot Contest

Smiles and laughter warmed the sunny, 10-degree morning for Rochester students celebrating Winter Walk Day! To the students’ delight, the entire local Grizzley Hockey Team and the Rochester Police Department Community Action Team escorted them to school. The morning began at the Walking School Bus stop, heading down the street for high fives from the Firefighters at Station 4, then joining another group of walkers to finish their route to school.

At school, they got the royal treatment as they passed through a ‘tunnel of love’ and were treated with granola bars, reflective zipper pulls, stickers and other fun prizes. The local news was there to capture the fun and share the message to get out for a winter walk!

In anticipation of the event, the students prepared cards and gifts for the crossing guards and delivered door hangers to houses along the way to thank them for clearing their sidewalks this winter which makes their walk to school easier. Social media messages were posted inviting families to walk.

Local partners included: Gage Community School, Rochester Police Department Community Action Team, Rochester Firefighters, Rochester Grizzlies Hockey Team, Rochester Public Schools Communications Department, KTTC News, and HyVee.

The event was coordinated by RPS Safe Routes to School Coordiantor, Olmsted County Statewide Health Improvement Partnership and Gage Community School in conjunction with a statewide effort led by MNDOT Safe Routes to School.

2022 Golden Snow Boot Contest Winners Announced

Image shows two hands holding the Golden Snow Boot award: a gold snow boot with a plaque highlighting Oak Ridge Elementary School.

Thank you everyone for your efforts to make Minnesota’s 2020 Winter Walk (and Bike) to School Day a success! We had over 50 schools registered from around the state, and many of you submitted photos and stories for the Minnesota Safe Routes to School Golden Snow Boot Contest.

Your submissions have been reviewed and we’ve selected a winner. Take a look at the winning photo and some of our other favorites below.

2022 Golden Snow Boot Contest Winners

Winning Photo

Rice Elementary School, Rice, MN; submitted by Mariah Klein, Benton County Public Health

“Winter Walk to School Day for Rice Elementary School was originally planned for the morning of February 2nd. However, with the cold Minnesota temps and wind chill advisory that week, the event was postponed until the morning of February 9th. This was Rice Elementary School’s first time participating in a walk to school day event, which is a recommended activity in their Safe Routes to School Plan. Despite the cold weather and rescheduling, the event was a success and there were over 20 participants, which included students, parents, school staff, city staff, and other volunteers. Law enforcement was also present to ensure safety for all.
One group of volunteers helped students cross the railroad crossing on Main Street in Rice, which poses a safety concern for children who cross it while walking or biking to school. Benton County Public Health, the City of Rice, and their contracted engineering company are working together to develop a proposed pedestrian railroad crossing and apply for state grants to fund the project. During the event, our volunteers were able to explain and show the parents that also participated, why an infrastructure change at the railroad crossing is needed to improve overall safety.Rice Elementary School is interested in planning for similar events in the future, such as National Walk to School Day in the fall. To increase participation in these types of events and to ensure that every student has an opportunity to participate, especially among students who ride the school bus or live too far away to walk from their residence, we hope to implement

2020 Golden Snow Boot Contest Winners

Winning Photo

Oak Ridge Elementary School, Eagan; submitted by Amy Kupinski and Karla Bisco

Image of a group of about 15 students wearing winter gear and smiling on a sunny winter day with snow on the ground and woods in the background. A teacher in the back of the group holds hands with a student.

“Oak Ridge’s second Winter Walk Day was beautiful! Our whole school (all 550+ students and their teachers) went out for a walk in the woods and prairie adjacent to our school.  It was great to get out and enjoy the sunshine and temps in the 20s. We heard our boots
crunching in the snow mixed with students’ happy chatter. Occasionally, classes decided to get quiet and listen to the birds chirping all around us. Everyone enjoyed the fresh air, exercise, and a break from the hard work we do in the classroom!”

Runner Up

Great River School, St. Paul; submitted by Karen Solas and Susan Sochacki

Image of a group of about thirty students and adults smiling and raising their arms in celebration. They are outdoors on a sidewalk, wearing winter gear.

“More than 50 students and parents at Great River School in Saint Paul participated in national Winter Walk To School Day on Wednesday, February 5th. Great River School faces challenges from being bounded by high-traffic county roads to the north and south. But our school community is determined to increase the numbers of kids walking and biking to school, and cold temperatures did not deter us at all! To help address safety concerns, parent volunteers assisted students coming from the south of school with crossing Pierce Butler Road, including making sure to activate the flashing beacon at the crosswalk. Students who come to school from the northeast face not only high traffic, but many intersections and driveways into residences, businesses, and schools. To ensure the safety of these students and also raise awareness of pedestrians in this busy area, parent volunteers led a walking school bus, safely helping the group cross 6 driveways and intersections along Energy Park Drive. About 35 students and parents were part of the walking school bus (and of those, the breakdown was about 30 kids, 5 parents). We were thrilled with participation and are hoping more families will be inspired to continue walking as part of our Walking Wednesdays program!”

Other Photos We Loved

Image of a group of about 20 children and teenagers wearing winter gear, walking up the steps to school.

Clockwise, from left, Jefferson Elementary, Rice County; Gage Elementary, Rochester; Ada-Borup Elementary

Image from behind a group of about 20 children and adults walking on a path on a snowy day.
Image shows two children and one adult bundled up in winter gear standing in front of a school. The children are holding signs that say "Hike it. Bike it. I like it!"

2019 Golden Snowboot Contest Winner

Congdon Park Elementary, Duluth, MN

Image shows three children wearing winter gear walking and talking on a snowy path. Text says "2019 Golden Snow Boot Winnter: Congdon Park Elementary"

Congratulations to everyone on successful Winter Walk (and Bike) to School Day events, and a great photo contest!