Library taking kids outdoors |

Library taking kids outdoors

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times
Pitkin County Library employees Kelly Benninger (dark shirt) and Anne Brookhart read one of the storyboards set up along the Hunter Creek extension trail as part of the StoryWalk Project.

Having a child read a book is a good thing, but so is getting outside to enjoy nature. When Stephanie Stocking, senior library assistant at the Pitkin County Library, came across the StoryWalk project, she saw the program could generate a lot of interest locally.

“Aspen is such an outdoor community,” Stocking said. “I saw this program as a great fit here.”

The StoryWalk project is a literacy and fitness activity that places a deconstructed children’s book, page by page, in a public area where people can read the pages and relate what they read to the outdoors.

At 11 a.m. Friday, the Pitkin Library will hold its first public StoryWalk, featuring the book “Sheep Takes A Hike” by Nancy Shaw. People will meet at the children’s room at the library and take the walk as a group. There’s no charge and treats will be provided after the walk.

The StoryWalk is set up along the Hunter Creek trail extension that’s accessed from the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen.

“We’ve had the storyboards up for two months now,” Stocking said. “We’re getting a great response. I’ve talked to many people that have done the walk already and they all have enjoyed it.”

Stocking learned about the program while networking with other libraries. She researched StoryWalk and found that many other organizations were offering walks with nothing but positive feedback.

The StoryWalk project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library.

The Pitkin County Library teamed with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails department to make StoryWalk happen.

“The ACES people helped us develop some of nature questions that go along with the walk,” Stocking said. “The Open Space people gave us access to the Hunter Creek trail extension and built all the wooden posts that hold the storyboards.”

Stocking said a major goal of the program is to inspire other communities to partake in outdoor literacy programs like StoryWalk.

“This program is another way to get the library outside the walls of this building,” Stocking said. “We want to encourage critical thinking with the kids while increasing outdoor play activities for the entire family to participate in. StoryWalk also fosters a love for reading and the environment in young children. We’re hoping to see a lot of happy people on Friday.”

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