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StoryWalk at Stearns

Children’s book installed at park in Columbus

COLUMBUS—Polk County Libraries and Polk County Parks and Recreation have installed a StoryWalk in Stearns Park for a learning experience for families. 

A ribbon cutting ceremony walk held at Stearns on Saturday morning. 

StoryWalks encourage physical activity and lifelong learning. 

“Stearns Park’s ideal walking path and central location in Columbus made it the obvious location for our first StoryWalk,” said Polk County Library Director Marcie Dowling. “ We hope that it will be a place for families to gather together, enjoy their beautiful surroundings and experience the joys of reading, in-turn sparking the curiosity that leads to lifelong learning.” 

The ribbon cutting on Saturday included a balloon twister, games and crafts. 

Polk County Parks and Recreation Interim Director Laura Baird led readers around the path and went through each story to complete the activity on each sign. 

Dowling said the recreation department began using informal fitness stations for the Homeschool Gym class and over the winter she began working on creating a formal way to post the exercises so they could display the entries of the Silver Arts competition, which is where senior citizens showcase their art in the park. 

“At the same time, the library approached us about creating a StoryWalk on area trail, and it seemed like the perfect way to collaborate,” Dowling said. “This project provides a quick update to the park and will provide one more way to enjoy the area, as well as help families practice literary skills while spending time together outside.” 

The first book showcased on the StoryWalk at Stearns is Airlie Anderson’s “Cat’s Colors.” The book tells the story of a small cat that collects colors on a grey day and asks readers to find and identify colors in their surroundings. The books will be changed every few months. 

The Friends of Polk County Libraries shared in the costs of the project. The Polk County Maintenance Department dug the holes and set the posts for the display.