*IMG_7043Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Dozens of children lined the Little Tennessee Greenway on Friday morning for the unveiling of Franklin’s first Story Walk. Led by Maggie Kennedy, director of the Children’s Department of the Macon County Public Library, children flapped their wings like butterflies, waddled with their pinchers out, and scurried along like spiders as they read “The Bugliest Bug” along the quarter-mile loop on the Greenway located behind The Shops at Riverwalk plaza off the Highlands Road.

“Thank you for coming out to celebrate the unveiling of our first Story Walk, we are so *IMG_7024excited to have this in our community,” said Diane Cotton, president of Read2Me, the group who led the charge to develop the Story Walks in the community. “This was made possible with the help of local businesses and organizations and we hope to continue growing the Story Walk program here in Macon County.

A StoryWalk® is a fun, educational activity that places a children’s story along a popular walking route in the community. Conceived as a way to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to take young children out of doors for physical activity and to learn, StoryWalk® helps build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy activity for both adults and children.

*IMG_7009The first Story Walk, constructed on the Little Tennessee Greenway, was made possible through a sponsorship with the Macon County Public Library and the Franklin Health and Fitness Center, both recognizing the importance of early literacy and promoting healthy activities for families in the community. Mainspring Conservation Trust also sponsored the Story Walk and worked to develop a board that specifically educated all of the native “bugliest bugs” that can be found in and around the Greenway. The project was funded through the sponsors and local businesses and organizations, The Franklin Press, Signs Express, Goshen Timber Frames, Russell Hawkins with Edwards Jones, and Rotary Club of Franklin Daybreak.

Brett Murphy, owner of Arrowood Construction also volunteered his time and talents to *IMG_7007donate labor and materials to have the story boards mounted and planted along the Greenway.

Read2Me will continue partnering with Macon County officials to install the second Story Walk later this summer at the new Parker Meadows Recreation Park. The walking trail at Parker Meadows will soon be expanded and connected in a loop. Once that is completed, a second Story Walk will be installed near the playground at the recreation facility and will feature the book, “Pond Babies.”

*IMG_7015The books at the Story Walks are interchangeable and will switch locations periodically to ensure optimal exposure of both books. In the coming fiscal year, Read2Me hopes to continuing growing the Story Walk project and plans to have two additional Story Walks developed in other communities in Macon County.

If you are interested in partnering with Read2Me on future Story Walks, contact Brittney Burns at bparker.maconnews@gmail.com or visit Read2Me on Facebook.