Can you smell the fresh air and hear the kids laughing? Our stories this week highlight some great outdoor events being held around the country.

The Williamston, Mich., school district, helped along by parent volunteers, held a Walk- to-School day last week and plans to create “Walking Wednesdays’’ through the month of May. A parent volunteer reported the kids were “having a blast’’ and “full of energy’’ as they walked and socialized with friends. These events are part of a Safe Routes 2 School program the district launched this year with a $248,000 grant. The district is also doing walking school buses, participating in the National Bike to School Day on May 9, and holding a “Caught Being Safe’’ Day where students and parents are rewarded for good driving.

Who knew mulch could mean so much! The Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Va., did.  It just completed its 8th annual springtime mulch sale and brought in $20,000! Run by the Combined Parent Council at MVHS, the mulch sale is used to fund the seniors’ all-night graduation party. The group sold over 9,000 bags of mulch!

The PTA at the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Port Chester, New York recently held its 5th annual walk-a-thon this month and had 500 participants. The PTA gave cash prizes to three students who raised the most money through pledges. The group also offered a pizza party to the class that brought in the most money and an ice cream party for the class that had the most participants.

The John W. Decas Elementary School in Wareham, Mass., has a beautiful new $30,000 playground, thanks to a dedicated playground committee and many months of fundraising, (spaghetti suppers, Hat Days) and seeking donations. The committee brought in a crew of volunteers who managed to assemble the entire thing (including pouring concrete!) and put down child-safe mulch in one day. Job well done!