WENATCHEE — Every hiking trail has its own story, but on the Jacobson Preserve Trail in Wenatchee, that’s taken literally.
To help local kids enjoy the gentle uphill climb toward Saddle Rock, the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and the Wenatchee Public Library put words into action. “Call Me Tree,” a bilingual storybook by Maya Cristina Gonzalez, unfolds in a dozen displays as you gain altitude.
It’s part of a project called StoryWalk, created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, to promote time outdoors, physical activity and literacy all at once. One of the organizers at the Land Trust got the idea after seeing a StoryWalk display on a Methow Valley ski trail, and Eagle Scout Jared Neuenschwander NOYENschwander took on the work as his Scout project.
“The library had also been pondering this idea, so we just happened to come together at the same time and decided to form a partnership to see how this would work in the foothills,” said Kathy Peven, communications coordinator for the Land Trust.”
“Call Me Tree” made sense as the Wenatchee Valley’s first StoryWalk display. It’s in English and Spanish, it’s pitched for very young readers, and it’s a story of natural cycles — the kind you find in the sagebrush foothills of Wenatchee.
“It seemed to have everything that we were looking for,” said Leslie Marshall, children’s librarian for the Wenatchee Public Library. “It was the right length. Each page leads to the next page yet doesn’t really need to. Each page is interesting in its own right. It just seemed like the perfect book for that spot.”
Vandals came after the project back in May, tearing out five of the storybook displays, but now it’s back in place thanks to some volunteer work — teaching young hikers how to handle the climb, chapter by chapter.
“I think anyone who’s had young children knows that you sometimes need a little incentive for them to keep going,” Peven said, “and I think this is a fun way to lead kids along the trail and incorporate both an exploration of nature, being outside, and reading together as a family.”
Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013