At the edge of the woods, children clambered over an old rock wall and gathered around a tree to read the first page of the story. Laminated and posted on a trunk, the page featured a drawing of two mice.
“Luna and Kale were playing beside their rock wall home where they had lived their whole lives,” the story went. “They suddenly heard a tremendous rumble, like thunder. So they ran into the forest.”
Following the mice on their journey, the children hiked into the woods of Greenbie Natural Area in Castine, following the trail as it weaved through a sea of ferns.
The story, “Little Mouse in the Big Forest,” was recently created by students at Adams School in Castine. It’s a fictional hero’s journey, but the tale highlights natural features seen along the trail and includes interesting facts about the environment. Posted on the half-mile public hiking trail in early June, the story is a part of a “story walk” trend that has been spreading throughout the country.
“It’s about getting kids out in nature, getting them moving and observing their environment when we worry so much about all the screen time that they’re getting,” Jenn Jackson, who teaches language arts and social studies at Adams School, said. “I feel that these kids have got some real ownership of this trail now.”
Posting story pages along public trails in sequential order is becoming increasingly popular, with many people drawing their inspiration from The StoryWalk Project, founded in 2007 by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, with the help of Rachel Senechal, program and development coordinator at Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont.
Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.
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