About Wakefield CAP

The working/draft mission of Wakefield Climate Action Project of Wakefield Massachusetts USA is to create and promote programs that address global climate and environmental issues. Our current projects include supporting a farmer's market in Wakefield (Farmer's Market), encouraging elementary students at Dolbeare and other schools to walk to school in the mornings (Walking School Bus), hosting educational forums at the library (Educational Forums), working to encourage expansion of town recycling efforts (Recycling), and NEW - initiating an Anti-Idling Campaign in Wakefield. You can get more information on these projects by clicking on the links on the right or on our Home Page http://www.wakefieldcap.org/

We are always looking for new members and good project ideas. If you are interested in joining us or have an idea for a project, email us at: info@wakefieldcap.org.

Also, join us on Facebook.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Project at the Dolbeare--Six Years in the Making

By Sherri Carlson
Former Dolbeare Walking School Bus Coordinator

This sign is one of many safety and accessibility improvements students will find when they return to the Dolbeare Elementary School in the fall.  These improvements were made to help make walking and biking to school more appealing to students. 

New sidewalks are part of the Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Construction Project to improve safety and accessibility at the Dolbeare.  Designers made sure this tree was preserved in the process.  

Robert Barone, President of the construction company P.V. Barone Corporation, says construction at the Dolbeare is coming along nicely in preparation for the start of the new school year. 

What started out as a simple idea for a walking program mentioned during a 2008 Wakefield Climate Action Project (WCAP) brainstorming session turned into a grand adventure, now culminating with a 100% federally-funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) infrastructure project under construction at the Dolbeare Elementary School in Wakefield, MA worth about $513K total, including design and construction. The SRTS project will improve safety and accessibility, thus helping to make walking and biking to school more appealing to students.

The six years following that fateful WCAP meeting included school, parent and community partnerships, enjoyable daily walks, biannual walk and bike to school celebrations and exciting national news coverage.

The adventure began at the Dolbeare Elementary School. The Dolbeare partnered with MassRIDES, along with the Wakefield School Health Leadership Team and WCAP to pilot a SRTS program beginning in the fall of 2008. The program is very flexible and schools can pick and choose what to do. The Dolbeare decided to go all out, and their program included biannual walk and bike to school celebrations (International Walk to School Day in the fall and Mass. Walk & Bike to School Day in the spring) plus a Walking School Bus. A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults, following a fixed route and stopping to pick up students at set times along the way. It’s like a carpool—without the car.

The Dolbeare Walking School Bus ran (walked) daily, rain or shine, except during the winter. Every day brought a new experience the children would never have by driving to school; perhaps small, but nonetheless special. One day there was street construction to examine. Other days brought a yucky dead frog, a rooster crowing loudly or a neighbor’s giant fluffy dog. There were beautiful garden flowers to appreciate. Sometimes the children enjoyed rain on their umbrellas with puddles to jump. Later in the season there was colorful foliage to admire along with piles of leaves to crunch. Most days friends and neighbors talked and laughed. Some days were more quiet and peaceful. Whatever the day brought, a walk was always a nice way to start the morning.

The biannual walk and bike to school celebrations brought out hundreds of students, parents, babies, pet dogs and top supporter Nibbles the Guinea Pig. Special guest walkers such as the Superintendent, Principal, PE teacher, School Committee members and Police Department members came along to show their support. Teachers cheered on the students with pom-poms and awarded small prizes for walking. The class with the most participants won the “Golden Sneaker Award.”

In 2009, the successful program was featured in the Boston Globe, Fox 25 News, and Good Morning America. Each time the news crews showed up to film a walk to school celebration, just about the entire school turned out for the event. It was great fun.

Over the years the SRTS program spread to the three other elementary schools in town plus the Galvin Middle School. In 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) awarded the Dolbeare a no-cost, detailed Infrastructure Assessment of walking and bicycling routes within a mile of the school and placed the Dolbeare on a waiting list (called TIP—Transportation Improvement Program) for construction.

Four years later, construction to improve infrastructure at the Dolbeare is now well underway. Per the MassDOT website, improvements include the construction of sidewalks at locations surrounding the Dolbeare, a pedestrian flasher assembly in front of the school, pedestrian countdown signals at the Lowell St./Vernon St. intersection, reconstruction of the nearby Shell gas station driveways to reduce the length of pedestrian crossings, installation of bike racks, better defined curb cuts, and construction of sidewalk connections between Lowell St. and Vernon St. and the school entrances.

Currently the construction contract value is $442,063. Robert Barone, President of the construction company P.V. Barone Corporation, says construction is coming along nicely in preparation for the start of the new school year.

Hopefully when school starts up again students and parents alike will take advantage of the safety and accessibility improvements and walk or bike to school, and the biannual celebrations will continue. When they do, everyone can enjoy an energizing start to the day, better focus in school, socializing with friends and neighbors, saving money on gas, avoiding traffic jams and helping the environment—all at once!

For further information on Safe Routes to School, visit http://www.commute.com/schools.

Monday, July 1, 2013

What Are Those New White Bins at the Schools?

If you've noticed the new white bins at all the schools around town and are curious about what they are about, wonder no more.  They are for textile recycling as a fundraiser for the schools.  This is a great way to give a second life to textiles that can no longer be used--as long as they aren't wet, mildewed or hazardous--such as badly ripped jeans, old sheets or worn out shoes that would otherwise go in the trash.  The bins are super easy to use.  Just drop your stuff in like you are mailing a letter!   Here is the link describing the program and what items are accepted:


Also here is a good article describing the program and what the textiles are used for:


Don't forget there are also green and yellow Abitibi bins at the schools to collect paper recycling items.  Here's the link to what they accept:


These are great recycling programs to support the Wakefield Public Schools.

 By Sherri Carlson

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mass. Walk & Bike to School Day a Success!

There was a fantastic turnout on May 2 for the annual celebration of Massachusetts Walk & Bike to School Day.  The rain held off as over 300 Dolbeare Elementary School students—about 80% of those eligible—and their parents, siblings, grandparents, and more made their way to the Dolbeare on bike or foot.  Spotted on the walk were pet dogs, Nibbles the Guinea Pig, and even a pet bunny.  The students were excited to get their prizes and help count the totals to see who won the Golden Sneaker Award.  Andrea Cosentino’s class earned the award, and can thank their teacher who joined the walk and helped push the tally up one point to first place.  Coming in second was Suzie Harte’s class, and Janet Livesey’s and Karen Swales’ classes tied for third place. 

Physical Education teacher Maria Caruso joined the Lowell Street Walking School Bus as a special guest walker, armed with large stickers for the students to wear after they wrote some of the great reasons to walk such as “Good for your heart,” “Make friends” and “Save gas.”

Many hands came together to help make this event a success, including Principal Beth Yando; event co-organizers Sherri Carlson and Maria Caruso; custodian Ken Malonson; and teachers Ann Corbett, Paula Curley, Jo-Ann Frechette, Jennifer Gallant, Jan Danca-Thompson, JoAnne Kenny, Andrea Cosentino and Suzie Harte plus building sub Cathy Wensley, who together helped man the sign-in table, give out prizes and cheer on the students with colorful pom poms. Kara Showers, Grant Coordinator for the new, five year Community Transformation Grant “Mass in Motion” also came by to welcome the students and lend a hand.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mass. Walk & Bike to School Day May 2, 2012

Celebrate Massachusetts Walk & Bike to School Day on May 2
The Dolbeare Elementary School will be celebrating the many benefits of walking and biking to school on Wednesday, May 2. Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day is organized by the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program.

The celebration is based on a simple idea—children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. It is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike. Schools focus on health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment.

MassRIDES states in their website www.commute.com/schools: “In 1969, roughly 48% of students bicycled or walked to school. Today only 13% of children do so. And, travel to school can account for up to 25% of all morning traffic. That's why we work with schools like yours, to teach and inspire children to start walking and bicycling more often—to and from school, improving their physical health, safety, and community.

 “The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program promotes healthy alternatives for children and parents in their travel to and from school. It educates students, parents and community members on the value of walking and bicycling for travel to and from school.”

The opportunity to receive free incentive prizes, guidance and numerous resources was made possible by partnering with MassRIDES to run a Safe Routes to School Program. The Dolbeare Elementary School partnered with MassRIDES, along with Wakefield Climate Action Project and Wakefield’s School Health Leadership Team to pilot a Safe Routes to School Walking School Bus program in fall 2008. The program proved quite successful—in 2009 it garnered media attention at the local and national levels, including the Boston Globe, Fox 25 News, and Good Morning America. In 2009 and 2010 the Greenwood, Woodville and Walton elementary schools joined the effort and partnered with MassRIDES to roll out programs at their schools.

Please join the Mass. Walk and Bike to School Day celebration on May 2 by safely walking or biking to school that day. You may find you enjoy it so much you will want to walk and bike all year long.

For additional information, visit www.commute.com/saferoutes; and www.wakefieldcap.org.