Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in partnership with the University of Tennessee Extension Institute of Agriculture and Great Smoky Mountains Association, is pleased to invite visitors to experience the Storybook Trail of the Smokies, an initiative dedicated to promoting literacy in nature. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience a Smokies-themed book through trailside activities and on-the-trail story pages to read along the one-mile Cosby Nature Trail, near Cosby Campground, beginning April 3 through May 30.
“We are excited to have this opportunity to offer a new, immersive approach for young readers to experience the stories of the Smokies in a way that brings them to life on the trail,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.
Over the eight-week period, four different books will be highlighted for two-week periods along the nature trail. Each of the books—aimed at various reading levels—will be accompanied by educational prompts to encourage interaction with the trail. Teachers and homeschool groups are invited to use the storybook trail and its corresponding standards-based activities for the classroom or virtual learning opportunities for students. The Storybook Trail is free to the public and accessible seven days a week.
“Through this partnership we are excited to provide an opportunity for families, teachers, and students to explore, learn, and meet their curricular goals while having fun in our national park,” said Jessica Gardner, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at UT-TSU Extension-Cocke County. “It is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy nature, get some exercise, enjoy a story written by our talented local authors, and learn something new.”
Four books will be featured in the spring, with another two to follow in the fall. The spring book line-up includes “We’re Going to the Mountains” by Steve Kemp, April 3-16; “The Salamander Ball” by Lisa Horstman, April 17-30; “Singing Creek” by Morgan Simmons, May 1-14; and “The Troublesome Cub” by Lisa Horstman, May 15-30. On the first Saturday of each book’s rotation, the author will be present at the trailhead to interact with participants.
Storybook Trail of the Smokies is funded by a grant secured by the UT Extension Office through the Juanita H. Fasola Foundation Inc. The four books featured in the spring are published by Great Smoky Mountains Association and can be purchased at smokiesinformation.org. Follow the Storybook Trail of the Smokies Facebook page for more information on the books, author events, and activities to accompany each book.
– National Park Service release