ITD Nixes School Kids' Idea to Save Elk

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The Idaho Transportation Department is shooting down an idea from some Hailey third-graders that the children thought might keep more elk from being killed along state Highway 75.

In the current issue of Boise Weekly, we hear from the students of Hailey Elementary School, who have seen more than their share of elk victims of motor vehicle accidents—as many as three a week during the fall and early winter—along Idaho Highway 75.

"It's a serious problem," said teacher Wanda Baxter. "It's traumatic for any age, let alone 8- or 9-year-olds."

The students put together a program they called "Harrowing Highways." Through a series of bake sales, they designed, printed and sold bumper stickers that read: "Be Aware, Drive With Care."

The bumper stickers have been the talk of the town in Hailey, with the first allotment selling out in a flash.

The students hoped to put their proceeds toward the construction of life-sized silhouettes of elk and line them along the highway to remind drivers that the animals were in the area and to drive slower.

But the Idaho Mountain Express reports that the ITD and local property owners aren't "favorable to the idea."

"[The silhouette] is just one more distriction for [motorists] when they're driving down the highway," said ITD spokesman Nathan Jerke, who added, "The kids and the teachers have good intentions and they're thinking out of the box."

Tom Bailey, principal of Hailey Elementary said the students' initiative was simple:

"All we intend to do is make people aware of the problem and slow down," he said. "If the kids can do the awareness and get the bumper stickers out there and raise some awareness, that's what they wanted to do, and I'm proud of them and their sense of community service."

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