FAIRBORN — “Hawk’s Woodland Walk,” a Nature Literature Trail that opened at Valle View Reserve in late April has been recognized by the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts with the Creative Best Award of Merit.
The project was submitted by Fulcrum Creatives under the “environmental” design category.
“I love helping community organizations come together,” said Lydia Stutzman, art director for the project. “In this case to promote early literacy and getting kids excited about nature and caring for the world around them.”
Stutzman has also volunteered with the public library in the past.
Fairborn Parks Foundation, Fairborn Parks & Recreation Division, Greene County Library Foundation, and the Fairborn Community Library worked together to create the Nature Literature Trail. Head Librarian of the Fairborn Community Library Ann Cooper authored the panels of the literature trail, which detail the local wildlife found in the park. The goal of the project is to expose children to nature and literature.
“Kids approach learning to read in a lot of different ways,” Cooper said in a previous interview. “This is an approach to non-fiction literacy … It gives kids an access to literature — maybe they’ll hook up to the poem, rhyming and imaginative part of the experience, or maybe they’ll be interested in the scientific fact. It’s written to be readable by young readers, kids in elementary school … [and] it certainly has a science element with the biology, botany, animals and environment that surrounds. I think it’s all-around good.”
Individuals enter the reserve and are greeted throughout the walk with signposts that include a poem, each written by Cooper, surrounding animals and the natural area. The poems follow a red-tailed hawk through the reserve as he encounters other local creatures, such as the banded wood snail, eastern gray squirrel, johnny darter, midland painted turtle, American beaver, woodland jumping mouse, white-tailed deer and red back salamander, which are all true natives to the area.
Each signpost highlights each creature, capitalizing on their natural abilities like the woodland jumping mouse’s hopping skills, and encouraging young readers to try it themselves, too.
Emily Lutz, an AmeriCorps volunteer who served the Fairborn Parks and Recreation Division, offered her expertise as a naturalist as the trail was being created.
“It not only reaches people interested in learning about nature, it goes with the literature piece as well,” Lutz said in a previous interview. “It’s wholesome … We’re really trying to get them engaged instead of just walking … You can be involved with nature.”
Research has proven that children who spend time walking through nature can experience reduced stress, more awareness of surroundings and have healthy sleep and focusing skills, according to Lutz.
Valle View Reserve’s walking path and Hawk’s Woodland Walk is located at 1097 Empire Court behind 5/3 Bank off Commerce Center Boulevard.
Herald News Report compiled by Whitney Vickers. Information courtesy of the Greene County Public Library system.