The Institute and Partners Mount a StoryWalk® Trail

The Institute and Partners Mount a StoryWalk® Trail

A new StoryWalk® children’s story trail is open at Pine Hill Recreation Area off Mentzer Gap Road in Waynesboro. The park is open during daylight hours, and visiting the StoryWalk® is free. It will remain in place through February. The StoryWalk® is presented by The Institute in partnership with Washington Township, Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library and the Waynesboro Area School District (WASD).

With pages of a children’s book mounted on signs along a park trail, a StoryWalk® is a fun way for visitors to enjoy being outdoors in a family-friendly activity, reading an adventure as they walk along the trail. 

The StoryWalk® trail, at the top of the park (just past the Dunlap Family Skate Park) is about 500 ft. long, easily accessible and wheelchair friendly.

“StoryWalks® are very popular nation-wide and we are excited to bring this one to our local community,” said Melodie Anderson-Smith, an education director for The Institute. “Sincere thanks to the township and all the partners for helping us make this happen.”

The story featured is “In the Snow: Who’s Been Here?” by Lindsay Barrett George. Two children and their dog explore the winter woods, searching for signs of animal life and clues to their activities, answering the question, “Who’s been here?”

This fun, active and safe way of reading a storybook together inspired the project’s partners. 

“I am excited that we were able to join forces as community partners and give families an additional resource that supports adventures outdoors, family time, and encourages learning!” said Erica Nemzek, WASD early learning coordinator.

“It has been a tough year for the library so I was excited to be a part of this project,” said Bailey Roberts, children’s librarian for the Alexander Hamilton library. “I personally wanted to be involved because I am new to the library, and I want to get to know the community. I hope this is something the library can be a part of in the future.”

The 174-acre Pine Hill Recreation Area is owned and operated by Washington Township. Jeff Geesaman, township manager, was happy to support the StoryWalk® project. 

“Pine Hill seems to be one of the best-kept secret treasures of Washington Township,” Geesaman said. “We are excited about The Institute and their programs, such as the StoryWalk®, not only at Pine Hill but in some of our other township parks. These activities help educate folks on what has been provided for their outdoor recreational enjoyment.”

The trail is open year-round, and plans call for a new book to be installed every month or two.

Participants should practice social distancing, giving others six feet of space, and follow official Covid-19 safety guidelines while in the park.

The StoryWalk®  is sponsored by Kathy Helfrick and Jane Glenn, with additional support from The Institute’s Today’s Horizon Fund contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation; The John R. Hershey Jr. and Anna L. Hershey Family Foundation; APX Enclosures, Inc.; and the Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. Facility support courtesy of Washington Township.

The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.

PHOTO CUTLINE:

Representatives of Washington Township, Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library, the Waynesboro Area School District (WASD), and The Institute and their WaterStriders stream study group installed a series of signs to create a StoryWalk® at Pine Hill Recreation Area.

Front row: Pam Rowland, Melodie Anderson-Smith, Erica Nemzek, Bailey Roberts.

Back row: Sophia Schowalter, Jeff Schowalter, Isabella Schowalter, Vernon Ashway, Jack Hubbard, Jeff Geesaman, Ava Magras, Grayson Magras, Chad Reichard.