Literacy Among the Leaves

Multifaceted learning comes to Creek Farm

Sarah Kern | May 1, 2023
Story Stroll at Creek Farm

Come and enjoy our Story Stroll at Creek Farm, featuring "Trout are Made of Trees" by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Kate Endle.

By now most folks have stumbled across some sort of Story Book Walk, Story Stroll or “books on sticks.” They can be found in the country, in the city, and everywhere in between. Story Walks have been placed in parks, on library grounds, along forest trails, in seniors’ residences, on main streets, and in other outdoor community spaces by libraries in hundreds of communities across the U.S. and Canada. They help to inspire an interest in language and literacy, while encouraging healthy outdoor activity for both children and adults. Best of all, it’s free to enjoy and available to everyone!

The story stroll in set up on Little harbor Loop Trail.
The story stroll begins at the kiosk at Creek Farm.
If you are not familiar, Story Strolls are a movement and literacy boosting project that places an illustrated children’s book, taken apart and displayed page by page, along a walking route in your community. There is literacy, there is nature, there is movement, and everybody wins.

Cognitive skills and motor skills develop through dynamic interaction while time is spent outdoors. Combining physical activities while being exposed to nature (green exercise) has been proven to lower blood pressure, increase self-esteem, and have an overall positive effect on all aspects of a person’s health.

Our first Story Stroll at Creek Farm was made using the wood that was milled from the White Pines that were taken down by Eversource on Little Harbor Road. I chose Trout Are Made of Trees, by April Pulley Sayre and Kate Endle, as our first Story Stroll at Creek Farm for numerous reasons. 

The first is that it was referenced and recommended by John Magee of NH Fish and Game, who has decades of experience, much of it being on fish ecology and fish habitat in streams, including field research on the effects of habitat restoration on brook trout populations. I have found that when a children’s book resonated with an expert, that there is good stuff in there. 

The second, is that it introduces the concept that we are truly all connected. 

While we as the Forest Society may focus on trees, our work and what we do is directly tied into the soil, the water, and the wildlife around us.  Even in our stewardship, we will often drop trees into rivers to help create habitat for trout and other wildlife habitat. 

The third, is being a mom myself to two, now teenagers, I have spent thousands of hours walking through the woods and on trails with my kiddos, sometimes with them participating willingly, sometimes less than so. It’s is so incredibly important that there is equal and equitable access to open spaces and ‘green exercise’ and the benefits that come with it and there are so very many ways to introduce that and encourage that and make it positive for ourselves and our kiddos.  The Story Stroll offers a bit of a carrot dangling or another incentive to get the kids out there and going.  Whether it is a race to see who can get to the next page, or a quiet “hmm, where do you think the next page is?” – it is an another way to engage and maybe even learn along the way.

We are keeping the Story Stroll as a temporary exhibit to allow for the experience of Little Harbor Loop Trail both with the Story Stroll as well as without but we would love to hear from you if you were able to participate and what you thought! Happy strolling!