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CHS students create holiday StoryWalk®

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Cleo the fish is sad as the holidays approach. He is alone at the bottom of the lake, anticipating the festivities that will go on without him. Will Cleo have a blue, blue, Christmas this year? Or will his friends come to the rescue? To find the answers, grab a friend and a good pair of walking shoes and hit the trail for the 2017 holiday StoryWalk®!

The Surface Creek Trail StoryWalk® is celebrating its one-year anniversary in December with another original story created by Cedaredge High School students. "The gifted and talented students that decided to take this project on are mostly students who were involved in the project last year," explains CHS teacher, Kevin Dunbar. "They are all very talented writers and artists and they graciously gave time from their busy schedules to create this story."

"Cleo's Christmas Party," written and illustrated by Jessica Craig, Grace Hatheway, Hannah Hatheway, Holly Jenkins and Nevaeh Martinez, is on display through the end of January. In addition to creating the story, Dunbar and his students will present it to Cedaredge preschoolers in the classroom and take Cedaredge kindergartners out on the trail to view it.

"I want the community to know that we did this for them," says Hannah Hatheway, a CHS senior in the gifted and talented program. "This project was not about us. It was about writing a story to draw the community to the trail to participate in the StoryWalk® that the libraries sponsor. We wanted to provide a story that allows children and their families to walk the creek and spend some time engaging with the story and engaging with each other."

That is exactly what Delta County Libraries and the Town of Cedaredge aimed to do with the installation of the StoryWalk® in November 2016. "The StoryWalk® is an ongoing collaboration to encourage children and their families to get outside, reading," says LaDonna Gunn, assistant district director for Delta County Libraries. "We are so pleased that Cedaredge students and teachers are taking ownership of this project and really making it a community-driven event."

Former Cedaredge Library manager Cara Morton and Town of Cedaredge intern Greg Brinck were key players in pulling the project together in 2016. Morton presented the idea initially and after Cedaredge became a HEAL Town (Healthy Eating Active Living) through LiveWell Colorado, the town had the opportunity to apply for a small grant. The HEAL grant was awarded in September 2016 and, along with another small grant awarded to the town by Region 10 in August, the necessary funds were available to install the StoryWalk®.

StoryWalks® are a unique and entertaining way to read a book and have been gaining popularity internationally. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vt., and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library. StoryWalks® have now been installed in 50 states and 12 countries around the world.

To experience the StoryWalk®, just visit Cedaredge and walk the north end of the Surface Creek Trail starting from SE Independence Ave off Highway 65. Contact Cedaredge Library or the Town of Cedaredge for more information!

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Surface Creek
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