Students ask motorists to avoid idling near school

Idle-free zone established at Thoreau Elementary
Students ask motorists to avoid idling near school

Students at Thoreau Elementary School are campaigning for drivers picking up and dropping off on Nakoma Road to turn their engines off.

Fourth-grade students recently designated the area as an idle-free zone in honor of Earth Month. The new effort also helps Thoreau Elementary School earn a green and healthy schools certificate from the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Public Instruction.

Betsy Parker has two children at the school and is part of the effort.

Students counted the drivers idling one day, then handed out brochures asking them to turn their cars off. The next day they witnessed a change.

“We started with 10 idling cars which actually seems pretty good, but the second time after the educational campaign there were only three,” said Parker.

In preparation for their project, students studied the effects of cars left idling, including an increased chance of severe health risks in children.

Parker added if a driver idled each day they picked up or dropped off their student they would waste 27 gallons of gas in one school year.

“I think we’re going to keep trying because we’re trying to get everyone to stop idling because it’s important to our school,” said Morgan Yazel, fourth-grader and Girl Scout at Thoreau.

Students said they will continue to spread the word in hopes that all drivers will turn their cars off while waiting in the school zone.