Take a walk along John Bryan State Park’s new Storybook Trail

A new Storybook Trail at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, is now open to the public and doing its part to instill in children a love of nature and reading.
A new Storybook Trail at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, is now open to the public and doing its part to instill in children a love of nature and reading.

Looking for an imaginative way to keep the kids entertained this summer? A new trail at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, now open to the public, is using children’s books to blend the fun of outdoor exploration with reading.

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The new Storybook Trail is located by the playground at John Bryan State Park, and features a series of child-height panels promoting fun and interactive learning via children’s books. The trail is one of five Storybook Trails across the state, with the other four residing in Dillon State Park, Maumee Bay State Park and Wingfoot Lake State Park. The project was the brainchild of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“Visiting a Storybook Trail is a great opportunity for families to enjoy learning in the outdoors together,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “Kids of all ages will find fun and interactive ways to engage with these stories all while discovering more about conservation and the natural world.”

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One panel on the Storybook Trail features “As an Oak Tree Grows” by G. Brian Karas, that tells the story of an Oak Tree over a period of 200 years. A Little Free Library station also resides on the trail, giving visitors a way to borrow books for free or to donate their own books to the collection. This story, along with many others, are meant to teach children about conservation and nature.

A new Storybook Trail at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, is now open to the public and doing its part to instill in children a love of nature and reading.
A new Storybook Trail at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, is now open to the public and doing its part to instill in children a love of nature and reading.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources launched the Storybook Trail program last year to promote literacy and to help children foster a connection with nature. The department was able to do this by teaming up with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Both of the literacy programs were then able provide story content for the trails and promote literacy in children and families.

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The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library provides one free book every month to children enrolled in the program from birth to age five. Similarly, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library does the same literacy outreach — just on a larger scale. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library also gives all of those who enroll a free book from birth to age five, but does so in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.

To learn more about both reading programs, pay a visit to the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library's website. Additionally, more information can be found about all of the Storybook Trails by heading to ODNR's website.