By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – A permanent StoryWalk in Northborough was installed in November at Assabet Park Trail, a partnership between the Northborough’s elementary school librarians and Troop 1 Eagle Scout Zach Youssef.
Marion E. Zeh School librarian MaryEllen Remillard approached the Boy Scout troop about two years ago, around the same time that Youssef was considering an Eagle Scout project.
The StoryWalk was created and trademarked by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vt., and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.
The goal is to incorporate reading and literacy in a fun, family outdoor activity. Pages of a book are posted at regular intervals along a walking trail and walkers can follow the story as they follow the path. The concept has been used around town for several years but only on a temporary basis.
Youssef, a senior at Algonquin Regional High School, was able to proceed with the project after he received the support of the Northborough Trails Committee and approval from the Scouting Council.
Youssef created wooden kiosks, which will protect the pages of the books, and cemented wooden posts into the ground.
He credits the successful completion of the project to those who helped him throughout the process including two high school technology/applied arts teachers, other Scouts, friends and family.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do the project without help…,” he said. “The design was a rough idea, but they helped to make it feasible and showed me an effective way to cut all the wood using the table and circular saws at the school. It was a great experience and I learned a lot from the process.”
The StoryWalk has 17 stops along the half-mile marked trail and the books will be geared to younger kids. The first featured book is “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves” by Lucille Colandro and will be changed at least seasonally, although Remillard hopes to do it more often during the spring and summer.
Remillard thinks the site of Assabet Park Trail works well as it is near the park and Splash Pad; the trail is short; and it is close enough to the elementary schools for a walking field trip. The trail head can be found at the upper parking lot.
“Zach did a fantastic job,” Remillard said. “I was excited to be a part of it. It’s something people can really enjoy.”