Little Darius Bean is full of energy. At 2 years old he doesn’t walk from place to place, he runs. On Tuesday, he and his father joined Windham parks and rec employee Lynn Bucknell at Donnabeth Lippman Park to walk (or run) the new story walk, titled “Bug Safari” written and illustrated by Bob Barner and published by Holiday House.
The story walk opened to the public this week, featuring the book spread out page by page into 14 signs that meander through a trail at the park.
“We’ve used a portable story walk for a snowshoeing event and Payson Park has a story walk,” said parks and rec director Brian Ross. “We had a nice set up to do something like this.”
In June the idea to do the story walk became more than an idea and Ross applied for a grant and was given around $300 from The Opportunity Alliance in Portland to fund the project.
If the parks and recreation department can get the funding they would like to have a few more stories to “mix it up” through the year, Ross said.
The Windham Public Library supported the project and they have the hardcover book in circulation for those who would like to read it at home or at the library. Ross also worked with Kirsten Cappy at Curious City in Portland, an advocate for children’s literature.
Bug Safari is a story about “a young explorer describes his experiences as he tracks an army of ants through ‘a bug-infested jungle,’ observing their progress through a magnifying glass. The insects run into some dreadful hazards on their trek--a squadron of fierce red ants, a spider, a toad, and other predators. The safari ends in the child's own backyard, where his mother is waiting with a picnic lunch for the hungry boy and the ants.” (www.amazon.com)
The visitors to the story walk are encouraged to hop like a frog or march like ants from sign to sign.
“I thought it was a good fit for our area – it’s a nature type book,” said Ross.
Ross encourages families, daycares and anyone interested to visit the story walk right of Route 302 in North Windham. One group brought a picnic lunch to have after they took the story walk. Enjoy the good weather with a book.
The signs will be in place until mid-November or until the snow flies, said Ross.