Each month a new story appears for the enjoyment of hikers who frequent Cedaredge's Surface Creek trail. Displayed on a series of trail-side placards, the stories begin at the portion of the trail that intersects with SE Independence Avenue and they continue sequentially north toward SE Deer Trail Avenue.
Or do they?
This month's StoryWalk® tale may very well lead readers on an unexpected adventure. Entitled "Tracking Treasures of the Trail," the September story was written and illustrated by the Cedaredge Plant and Dig Garden Club and the result of its creative efforts is anything but typical. Instead of passively following a work of fiction, hikers are invited to interact with a story that helps them explore and learn about the surrounding environment of Surface Creek.
Lisa Joss who serves as the plant and dig club's secretary explains the story's content: "Some of the pages are intended for early readers. One asks children to stand in a circle and count the different colors of green (they can see around them) while another explains how to find a roly-poly bug and (helps them) realize that these ancient creatures once lived alongside dinosaurs. Middle school readers can learn about Monarch butterflies and the importance of milkweed to their survival or how to tell the difference between a crow and a raven. We even included a panel to help readers identify (and avoid!) poison ivy."
The idea for a non-fiction book that guides readers to explore as they hike the urban trail came about with a chance meeting. According to Lisa, "On a mild day in February, two (plant and dig) club members happened to meet on Cedaredge's Surface Creek path where each had been enjoying the current Story Walk. Being avid gardeners and readers, they mused on what kind of story their club could create that would focus on the plants living along the creek. The club began to flesh out ideas and eventually, a theme took shape. Instead of writing a fictional story, the club decided to create pages that would encourage young readers to use their eyes, ears, noses, and hands to explore and learn about the unique features along Surface Creek. Our last panel encourages readers to take this experience and continue to explore their own backyards."
"Tracking Treasures of the Trail" will be on display throughout the month of September. After the walk, readers are encouraged to visit the Cedaredge Public Library to take part in activities and create a craft related to the story. For more information contact Cedaredge Library at 970-399-7674.
The Plant and Dig Garden Club of Cedaredge meets monthly and has twenty members. The organization maintains gardens at Pioneer Town in Cedaredge and Horizons Healthcare and Retirement Community in Orchard City. Gloria Good and Waynella Gonzales are co-presidents, Barb Klein is treasurer, and Lisa Joss is secretary.
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.