Ohio Governor and First Lady Open Storybook Trails at Cowan Lake, Rocky Fork State Parks

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine joined Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), to open two new storybook trails in southeastern state parks on Sunday. western Ohio.

After an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, children and families walked with the Governor and First Lady on the new Storybook Trails at Rocky Fork State Park and Cowan Lake State Park to mark the celebration.

The ODNR is offering more communities a pathway to encourage children’s literacy, a love of nature, and healthy living for families, through a partnership with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and the Dolly Parton’s Fantasy Library.

“There’s no better place to explore, learn and grow together than the great outdoors, and we’re excited to give kids and their families more opportunities for adventure,” Governor DeWine said. “I think it creates a great experience for anyone walking a storybook trail in one of our great state parks.”

Four new Storybook Trails opened this week, which means 15 Storybook Trails are now spread across Ohio State Parks. Each Storybook Trail features a different book, which is revealed panel by panel on a half-mile trail in a beautiful natural setting.

“We know that a child’s brain is 80 percent developed in the first three years, which is why reading at an early age is so important,” First Lady DeWine said. “We now have 45% of Ohio’s children under 5 enrolled in the Ohio Governor’s Library of Imagination, getting free books every month. Placing a book from the Imagination Library on a park path makes the learning experience even better. »

Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County offers hiking trails, caves, natural wetlands, and a 2,080-acre lake for boating and fishing. The Storybook Trail features here “Birds of a Feather” by Sita Singh. On the children’s signs that line this new trail, families can read the story of a peacock learning to use its strengths to help its friends weather a storm.

Cowan Lake State Park in Clinton County offers scenic trails and a peaceful lake for swimming, fishing, sailing and kayaking. During this Storybook Trail, families can read “Hush! Sleeping Bears by David Martin. This story takes children on an adventure through the seasons through the eyes of a mother bear and her cubs.

“Storybook Trails promotes both physical and mental development with Ohio’s most scenic areas as a backdrop,” said ODNR Director Mertz. “Adding Storybook Trails to some of our state parks gives Ohioans — and visitors — one more reason to get out and enjoy Ohio’s beauty.”

The Governor and First Lady encourage all Ohioans to explore Storybook Trails in state parks and enroll children under age five at the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library.

There are currently 321,565 Ohio children enrolled in the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, which provides a free book each month to children enrolled in the program from birth to age five. Any Ohio child in this age group is eligible to receive the books, which are paid for by state and local county partners.

If a parent or grandparent enrolls a child at birth, that child could receive the 60 books from the program. To learn more about the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and how to get involved, visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org.

The ODNR will be installing more storytelling trails throughout the summer.

Governor Mike DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, ODNR Director Mary Mertz and others at the entrance to the new Storybook Trail in Rocky Fork State Park.

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine shares history with children during a walk through the new Storybook Trail at Cowan Lake State Park.

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