Storybook Trail opens at Amherst’s Peabody Mill

‘Around the pond’

AMHERST – Reading and hik­ing are great activities for chil­dren, but they usually aren’t done at the same time.

Thanks to 13-year-old Bailey Burke, though, young children can read a picture book as they hike a trail on the Joe English Conservation Land.

Bailey created a Storybook Trail for her Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout cadette can earn, and she was there for its recent grand opening.

A few dozen children and parents gathered with Recreation Director Craig Fraley at the Pea­body Mill Environmental Center at Joe English and were among the first to walk the quarter-mile trail.

After the hike, Bailey said it was "awesome" to see the children looking at the book’s pages along the trail.

"My aim was to get them excited and want to look at the next one," she said.

Working in partner­ship with the Recreation Department, Bailey started the project in July after getting a green light from Fraley. Then she gathered the lumber, nuts and bolts, and with the help of the Conservation Commission, built the kid-high stations along the trail.

Lori Mix, represent­ing the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Moun­tains, was there for the grand opening on Friday, Nov. 11.

Bailey is part of Ca­dette Troop 22171, which also built a bridge on the nearby Bicentennial Trail. Mix said this is the first storybook trail a Scout has created that she is aware of, and it definitely fits in with the organization’s goals.

"Girl Scouts wants to (encourage) outside activities and nontra­ditional activities, like working with power tools and hiking and camping," she said.

The book Bailey used is called "Around the Pond: Who’s Been Here?" by Lindsay Barrett George. It was recommended by an Amherst Town Library librarian.

The story is about two children who go into the woods, and the reader is asked to help them find clues to the animals there.

For more information, contact the Peabody Mill Environmental Cen­ter at 673-1141 or pmec coordinator@amherstnh. gov. The center is at 66 Brook Road.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.