GLOUSTER — On Wednesday, Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz were among the first to walk along Ohio’s newest Storybook Trail at Burr Oak State Park in Morgan County.
“Burr Oak State Park is a wonderful place to explore nature and the perfect place to sit down with a good book,” said First Lady DeWine. “Developing a love for reading early in life is so very important for children, and this new Storybook Trail offers a unique experience that combines the great outdoors with early literacy.”
According to a news release from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, launched the Storybook Trail program in 2019 to promote the importance of literacy, a healthy lifestyle, and connecting with nature. The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library provides one free book every month to children enrolled in the program from birth to age five.
“Everyone loves a good story, and science supports the physical and mental health benefits of getting outside,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Storybook Trails combine the best of both by promoting child literacy and an active and healthy lifestyle — all in the beautiful settings of Ohio’s great outdoors.”
Ten Storybook Trails are located at state parks throughout Ohio. Each trail is approximately a half-mile long with 15-20 child-height panels featuring pages of a children’s book and an activity to accompany the text on the page.
“Squeak!” by Laura McGee Kvasnosky was selected as the featured book at Burr Oak State Park. The book describes how one mouse’s small squeak sets off a chain reaction that wakes all the animals in the forest from their slumber.
There are currently 286,184 children enrolled in the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. To learn more about the program and how to participate, visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org.
A full list of ODNR’s Storybook Trails, as well as similar trails located at parks and library districts across the state, can be found at ohiodnr.gov.