This year's Story Trail at Friendship Park, 150 Oklahoma Ave., continues the buzz about Gahanna being a pollinator city with the story "The Littlest Bee."
Gahanna Parks and Recreation will host a ribbon-cutting celebration from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 1, to mark the newest installation of the Story Trail, that will be available all summer during park hours from sunrise to sundown.
"The Littlest Bee" celebrates the courage of a little bee as she sets out in Gahanna to find the brightest flower.
The Story Trail is provided in collaboration with the Gahanna branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library and Gahanna Lincoln High School, and is part of the library's Summer Reading Program, encouraging families to engage in the outdoors through reading.
"We are excited to collaborate with our partners on this year's Story Trail, which celebrates Gahanna as a pollinator community," said Tom Kneeland, Gahanna mayor. "This year's theme is an extension of the initiatives our staff and community have embraced over the past year."
Gahanna landed its Bee City USA status in late 2017, after City Council voted to pursue the program that helps communities recognize the importance of pollinators.
Bee City USA is a nonprofit national organization that encourages communities to sustain pollinators by providing a healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free or nearly free of pesticides.
The certification Gahanna received includes a requirement to annually celebrate being a Bee City USA community through public-awareness activities. They include a proclamation, signs and web links, with the expectation to annually report activities to Bee City USA to renew the certification.
"The Littlest Bee" was written by students Azhaar Yasin, Nasir Cousin, Ruby Lobert and Zakia Mohamud, under guidance of Writer's Workshop leaders Kathe Bumbaugh, Angie Sharkey and Karen Kaufman.
The story is illustrated by Meghan Prange, a rising senior at Gahanna Lincoln High School.
"Working on the Story Trail this year has helped me to experience what it's like to create art for a more public venue and work through different ways I could illustrate a story to help bring the pages to life," Prange said.
She said she created each illustration digitally on Adobe Photoshop, using a digital drawing tablet and a stylus that allowed her to make more expressive lines than she could make using a mouse.
Storyboards on the park trail are set low to the ground, allowing children to explore each piece of framed art. Ready-to-read prompts are provided by the Gahanna library.
"The Littlest Bee" story is appropriate for readers of all ages.
Following the ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of this year's Story Trail, there will be an acoustic musical performance featuring Ohio folk-blues musician Casey Redmond.
During the event, the Gahanna Mobile Activities Center will be on site to provide activities and games.
Library branch representatives will be on hand so families can sign up for library cards and the Summer Reading Challenge.
They also will bring a collection of books and offer library check-out in the park.
For more information about the Story Trail, contact the Gahanna Parks and Recreation Department at 614-342-4250.