written by: Kelley V Phillips, Outreach Coordinator
In celebration of International Literacy Day on September 8, Red-tail Land Conservancy and Muncie Public Library have partnered to bring a storywalk to Dutro-Ernst Woods, (1601 S. Perdieu Rd) a 33-acre nature preserve in Muncie. To promote social distancing, the free outdoor pop-up exhibit is open to visit anytime dawn to dusk from September 3-10.
A storywalk is a way for adults and their young children to lay the groundwork for reading comprehension while also reaping the health benefits of outdoor recreation. The featured book is an original adaptation by Muncie Public Library (MPL) staff member Amanda Kaufman and her son Luc Kaufman of the classic “stone soup” folktale. Titled “Dragon’s Egg Soup,” it speaks to community diversity and the magic that happens when people work towards a common goal.
“Muncie Public Library values partnerships with other community organizations,” said Bailey Shrewsbury, Youth Services Specialist at MPL. “This event is a great opportunity to promote literacy and healthy outdoor experiences for children and families.”
The colorful illustrations and text of each page are transformed into a dozen reading stations posted along a smooth gravel path in the forested area of Dutro-Ernst Woods. After families have walked the path and read each station, they will have spent about half an hour in nature as well as completed an entire book. There is just over a mile of trail in Dutro-Ernst Woods to explore before or after.
“Being in nature reduces stress, boosts self-esteem and is a universal source of creativity and imagination,” said Kelley V. Phillips, Red-tail’s Outreach Coordinator. “Our partnership with Muncie Public Library takes outdoor play one step further by introducing the endless possibilities that come with reading.”
Red-tail reminds visitors to enjoy the exhibit using responsible recreation practices: stand at least 6ft from other trail-goers and return later if the parking lot is full.