The seed for our tale germinated with Dawes StoryTrail when Shutta Crumm's book, BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE, was featured. (See her blog post for details here.) Gahanna Parks and Recreation and the Gahanna Library branch were given permission to borrow the trail idea, and now five years worth of stories have been created! Mounted under glass, on wooden frames set low to the ground for little eyes to read, the stories last one complete year. Older stories are being mounted in other parks this year. According to Recreation Supervisor Zac Guthrie, each installation costs approximately $1500. Children and families have fun exploring the outdoors and learn that reading can happen anywhere.
This year's student writers relied on a mentor text to give structure to their tale, GOING ON A NATURE WALK. In six weekly hour-and-a-half sessions, students journeyed through writing a picture book by:
Student writers at the Ribbon-cutting Ceremony
A story like this can also be a springboard for a writer like you to engage with your local librarians and community. It may lead to future projects, just as mine did. This June, the Gahanna library branch hired me to teach a picture book class for the summer reading program. I know my volunteer work with the Story Trail gave others the chance to see my work in action! Thank you librarians and student writers for a wonderful opportunity!
Monday, June 6, 2016
A Story Can Be… A Nature Walk and A Community Builder By Kathy Halsey
A writer can wear many hats as children's writer Laura Purdie Salas tells us in her monthly e-news, "A Writer Can Be..." (Sign up here.) A story can be more, too, I discovered. I hit the Story Trail with intermediate/middle school writers via a collaborative project this winter in conjunction with the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Art Garden Studios, and Gahanna Lincoln schools. Children's Director Angie Sharkey, librarian Kathe Bumbaugh and I instructed six budding writers as we created 14 story board "spreads." Our finished product, GOING ON A NATURE WALK, debuted over Memorial Day. This is our story process in case you'd like to replicate the idea in a park near you. ( Be sure to check w/Dawes Arboretum as the StoryTrail is trademarked by them.