Any walk through a lush prairie garden opens the imagination and creates a sense of joy and wonder. Add a story to your stroll and a simple walk becomes a fresh exploration.
The Black Swamp Conservancy has added storytelling to its Pat & Clink Mauk Prairie on the Conservancy’s homestead property with the installation of 24 permanent story panels. StoryWalks are an innovative and delightful way for children — and adults! — to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from a children’s book are installed along an outdoor path. As you stroll down the trail, you’re directed to the next page in the story.
The Conservancy has been hosting StoryWalks on its protected properties, including Mauk Prairie, for more than five years. “We’ve used temporary signposts in the past, but with these new permanent panels, we will be able to host stories year-round,” said Laura Rodriguez, the Conservancy’s events and education coordinator.
Conservancy educators will select stories that complement the natural surroundings and the Conservancy’s mission. Stories will show the value of land that is preserved for all to enjoy, explain natural processes like photosynthesis or water filtration, and encourage exploration with information about pollinators that might be nearby or native plants that may be in bloom.
Each month, the story trail will feature different books about the natural world and accompanying extended learning opportunities. We’ll also hold a monthly drawing from the visitor sign-in sheets for a copy of the featured book.
Planned titles include:
August 15th – Begin with a Bee
written by Liza Ketchum, Phyllis Root, and Jacqueline Briggs Martin; illustrated by Claudia McGehee
September 15th – Finding Wild
written by Megan Wagner Lloyd; illustrated by Abigail Halpin
October 15th – Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
written and illustrated by Kenard Pak
November 15th – In November
written by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Jill Kastner
December 15th – Winter Dance
written by Marion Dane Bauer; illustrated by Richard Jones
January 15th – In the Snow: Who’s Been Here?
written and illustrated by Lindsay Barrett George
March 15th – Mud
written by Mary Lyn Ray; illustrated by Lauren Stringer
April 15th – The Hike
written and illustrated by Alison Farrell
May 15th – Plant a Pocket of Prairie
written by Phyllis Root; illustrated by Betsy Bowen
June 15th – On Meadowview Street
written and illustrated by Henry Cole
July 15th – Butterfly Count
written by Sneed B. Collard III; illustrated by Paul Kratter
The Pat & Clint Mauk Prairie is located at 4825 Sugar Ridge Road, Pemberville. Parking is at the Conservancy’s office. The property features 30 acres of native prairie habitat and contains several prairie pothole wetlands. The one-mile public walk is on mown grassy paths. StoryWalk is made possible by Seed-To-The-Sower, a donor-advised fund of the Greater Toledo Community Foundation.