McCLURE, Ohio — Earlier this month, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz celebrated the launch of Ohio’s newest Storybook Trail, now open at Mary Jane Thurston State Park in northwest Ohio.
“This park is the perfect location for a new Storybook Trail, and we encourage parents to bring their children here to help jumpstart a love for reading and a love for nature,” said First Lady Fran DeWine. “The outdoor trail offers a fun, educational, and safe experience for both children and adults alike.”
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, launched the Storybook Trail program in 2019 to promote the importance of literacy, a healthy lifestyle, and connecting with nature. There are currently ten Storybook Trails located at state parks in Ohio. Each trail is approximately a half-mile long with 15-20 child-height panels featuring pages of a children’s book and an activity to accompany the text on the page.
“Everyone loves a good story, and science supports the physical and mental health benefits of getting outside,” said Mertz. “Storybook Trails combine the best of both by promoting child literacy and an active and healthy lifestyle — all in the beautiful settings of Ohio’s great outdoors.”
“Little Owl’s Night” by Divya Srinivasan was selected as the featured book at Mary Jane Thurston State Park. The book puts a twist on a typical bedtime story as Little Owl falls asleep while listening to a tale about daytime in the forest as the sun begins to rise.
The Storybook Trail is located at the end of the marina parking lot. As you walk the mowed path along the marina and through the woods you can hear native frogs, see turtles basking in the sun, bald eagles fishing and fish jumping from the water. The entrance to the marina parking lot is on State Route 65 just west of Grand Rapids, about 12 miles south of Swanton.
The storybook presented along the trail changes throughout the year. At the beginning of the trail is a Free Little Library where you can choose to take a book home or leave one others.