June 28, 2023

Storywalk opens at Honor Heights Park

Storywalk opens at Honor Heights Park

Honor Heights Park’s little visitors can read a story and get some exercise while roaming through its arboretum.

Eastern Oklahoma Library System has installed a StoryWalk, along the paved trail at the C. Clay Harrell Arboretum, north of the Papilion.

“We thought it would be a beautiful venue and allow families to use these trails more, and highlight a wonderful part of our city,” said Jennifer Fuller, Muskogee Public Library youth services director. “The whole purpose is to get families engaged with one another and exercise in a fun way, as well as read.”

The StoryWalk features 22 stops. Each stop, just tall enough for a kindergartner, features a page from a children’s book displayed under Plexiglass.

“If it’s a shorter story, sometimes we’ll post activities that are going on at the library,” Fuller said. “For the first story, we put out the pages because we want people to get used to the concept.”

The first story is “Be a Tree,” by Maria Gianferari. The book encourages readers to “Stand tall. Stretch your Branches to the sun.”

Books will be switched every 35 to 40 days, Fuller said.

“We select books with very colorful pictures, something that will play well,” Fuller said. “We’re looking for a book that has movement. We’re also looking for books that are culturally diverse.”

The walk might have books to match each season.

“We’ll definitely have books for the winter time, and possibly relating it to the Garden of Lights,” she said, referring to the holiday light display at Honor Heights.

Youngsters are encouraged to exercise while reading.

“In addition to story pages, we’re going to have activities for the children to do, such as maybe pretend to jump like a frog to the next page, or spread your wings and fly to the next page,” Fuller said. “Fun things like that to get them moving.”

Assistant Parks Director Rick Ewing said parks department crews finished setting up the signs about three weeks ago.

He said the Eastern Oklahoma Library System sought the parks department’s help with a grant they were seeking to erect the walk.

“When we heard it involved people visiting a park and promoted activity, walking and families doing things together, we decided that was something we wanted to be a part of,” Ewing said.

Muskogee’s walk is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The StoryWalk Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

Oklahoma has 13 official StoryWalks, including three in the EOLS area — Checotah, Eufaula and Stilwell. Checotah’s Jim Lucas Public Library erected a StoryWalk along the Checotah Sports Complex Fitness Trail in May 2020.

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