Pictured is Ohio first lady Fran DeWine at Sycamore State Park's Storybook Trail. (Submitted photos)
Pictured is Ohio first lady Fran DeWine at Sycamore State Park's Storybook Trail. (Submitted photos)
First lady Fran DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz visited Montgomery County and Lorain County Monday to unveil two new Storybook Trails that teach children about the importance of literacy, a healthy lifestyle and connecting with nature.

The new trails are located at Sycamore State Park in Brookville and Findley State Park in Wellington.

“There is nothing better than fresh air and a good book, and Ohio’s Storybook Trails offer both,” said first lady DeWine. “A focus on early literacy can make a world of difference in a child’s life, and the books featured on these trails were handpicked by the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library for their easy-to-understand, positive narratives.”

"Everyone loves a good story, and science supports the physical and mental health benefits of getting outside," said ODNR Director Mary 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."

“Daniel Finds A Poem” by Micha Archer, which tells the story of a young boy who explores nature and finds poetry in the beauty around him, was selected for display at Sycamore State Park. “Blue Sky, White Stars” by Sarvinder Naberhaus is featured at Findley State Park. The book celebrates the iconic imagery of the United States, including the American Flag and Statue of Liberty.

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. There are currently eight half-mile Storybook Trails located at state parks throughout Ohio, each with 15-20 child-height panels featuring pages of a children’s book and an activity to accompany the text on the page.

There are currently 286,184 children enrolled in the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, which provides one free book every month to children enrolled in the program from birth to age 5. To learn more about the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library and how to participate, visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org.

First lady DeWine will join ODNR to unveil one more Storybook Trail this week. A full list of ODNR's Storybook Trails, as well as similar trails located at parks and library districts across the state, can be found at ohiodnr.gov.