Little Red Riding Robin, a book written and illustrated by Gahanna Lincoln High School students, will show youngsters that reading could be done anywhere.
The 16-page book is this year's Story Trail that will be on 12-by-36-inch pages along the nature trail at Friendship Park, 150 Oklahoma Ave. The Story Trail provides an opportunity for elementary-age children to learn the value of being good stewards of the environment as they walk along the nature trail and read the story.
The community is invited to attend the opening of the Story Trail at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 30. There will be musical entertainment by solo, acoustic guitarist Terri Kegelmayer.
Little Red Riding Robin is considered a fractured fairy tale, or a story that uses common fairy tales and then changes the characters, the setting, points of view and/or the plot.
The story is set in nature and demonstrates that a lot could be accomplished with friends. It is appropriate for children under age 8 but is intended to capture the imagination of all ages.
The Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation again has partnered with Lincoln High School and the Gahanna branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
"It has been a wonderful way to connect three important pillars in the Gahanna community: the schools, the parks and the library," said Angie Sharkey, the library's youth-services manager.
The library developed special literacy-extension activity suggestions for children, families and parents to do while they read the story, Sharkey said.
"The hope is that the Story Trail experience becomes an active and experiential literacy activity," she said. "Visitors to the trail are encouraged to extend their experience after completing the Story Trail by going to the library to check out fairy-tale books, visiting other parks in Gahanna to look for the robin and other animals from the story and combining nature and reading by taking your books to the parks. We want families to know that reading can happen anywhere."
Sarah Fairchild, high school art teacher, opened the opportunity to illustrate the story to all of her students. Twelve student volunteer artists of all grade levels and abilities contributed to bring the story to life, she said.
"The partnership with the city and the (library) has been such an asset," she said. "This is the second year the high school art department has participated. The opportunity has provided the students real hands-on experience, from concept through production and installation."
Fairchild said the production company, Eclipse Corp., is the studio that printed and completed the project.
"Last year we toured their facilities and saw photo shoots, printing, graphic designers working on ads and websites," she said. "I feel it gave the students another point of view. You can be an artist and not starve."
Fairchild said the high school students all have a small piece in the Story Trail, but in the end, they all have a piece of public art of which they can be proud.
Funding for the Story Trail was provided in part by the Gahanna Rotary Club.
"We believe the Story Trail will add points of interest to the Gahanna parks, provide a creative opportunity for Gahanna high school students and give young children an interactive way of learning to read a story with their families," said Terry Hummel, Gahanna Rotary Club president.
The club is dedicated to giving back to the Gahanna community, and this is one way of providing service above self, Hummel said.
This is the third year for the Story Trail, an eco-learning component of Gahanna's Herbal Trail, and the second year of partnering with high school students.
"We are fortunate to live in a community that has such great organizations and look forward to opening the Story Trail on May 30," said Zac Guthrie, parks and recreation supervisor.
The Story Trail was inspired from the Dawes Arboretum Story Trail concept. Representatives at the arboretum near Newark gave permission and input to the Gahanna parks-rec department for the initiative.
The Story Trail is a collaborative effort among the Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation, Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Gahanna branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.