Thousands of Minnesota students are walking and biking to and from school today (WED) as part of International Walk to School Day. MnDOT’s Dave Cowan says the annual event aims to raise awareness about safe routes to school–and to build a sense of community.

“We get lots of schools participating on this single day, but we also see those schools coming back throughout the year to run their own events, to apply for grant funding to improve their streets or implement programs at their schools through our safe routes to school program.”

Cowan says at least 150 schools statewide are participating this year. Participants can also join in Minnesota’s Walk to School Day photo contest by submitting photos on the Minnesota Safe Routes to Schools Facebook page using the hashtag mnwalks.