May 25th, 2024

Nature Centre and Library’s StoryWalk partnership helps literacy get outdoors


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 22, 2021.

Submitted photo The Nature Centre's Curtis Goodman holds a StoryWalk Around Town - Picture a Tree kit.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Helen Schuler Nature Centre in partnership with the Lethbridge Public Library is launching their latest community resource to promote literacy, exercise and to enjoy nature, this time across the entire city.
“In the past six years we had 15 different story walks featuring different books as well as some poems that connect people to our local environment,” said Jessica Deacon-Rogers, program coordinator with the Helen Schuler Nature Centre.
She explained the StoryWalk usually takes place around the trails off the river bottom, where pages of a book are made into signs and people can read while they walk. But this year they decided to do something different and add an extra way of taking those walks anywhere in the city with StoryWalk Around Town Kits, which are available at any branch of the Lethbridge Public Library as well as the bookmobile.
“The StoryWalk Around Town Kits have all of your favourite parts of a StoryWalk but let you choose the destination,” said Deacon-Rogers.
She said they also added a few activities to go along with each of the books that connects the story of the person reading it to that particular place where they’re reading the book, like finding the oldest tree in the area or certain animals that live near trees.
The StoryWalk Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. More than 300 StoryWalk events have been hosted in over 13 countries around the world.
The program first came to Lethbridge in the spring of 2016 when the beautifully-illustrated pages of Brian Wildsmith’s Favourite Fables – The Tortoise and the Hare unfolded along the trails of the Lethbridge Nature Reserve. The cottonwood forest became the perfect backdrop to this timeless classic.
Since that time, the Nature Centre and Lethbridge Public Library have continued to grow and expand the program. Dozens of books and a few poems have been enjoyed by thousands of eager readers, happy to experience a story set out along Lethbridge’s park trails.
“Right now we have two StoryWalk Around Town kits available. One for Kate Messner’s book Over and Under the Snow and Barbara Reid’s book Picture a Tree,” said Deacon-Rogers.
She said more books will be added to the StoryWalk Around Town Kit collection over the next two years.
“Even if you aren’t able to get to the library it is still possible to participate in the StoryWalk Around Town activities as well,” said Deacon-Rogers.
She said for those who already own these books, they can obtain a copy of the activities related to them from the Helen Schuler Nature Centre website.

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