Young children will now be able to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time through a new StoryWalk® installation at the Scott County Courthouse lawn. The Scott County Community Foundation’s Early Childhood Committee invites families to join the movement to combine literacy, exercise, nature, and family bonding.

The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in 2007. Her goal was to create something different, fun and interesting for adults to be active with children to help encourage healthy living. She came up with the idea to take pages from a children’s picture book, attach each one to a stake, and line them along a path. Since then, StoryWalk® has spread to all 50 states and 13 foreign countries.

The second installation is made possible through the generosity of the Beverly Crowell Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Scott County Community Foundation. It will be installed on the sidewalks on the west and south sides of the courthouse square. There are 20 signs displayed, and each sign shares an activity that a child can do to be interactive with their surroundings. The first book featured is Dolly Parton’s I Am a Rainbow.

The first StoryWalk® was installed at Austin Community Park in April and features Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors. It was funded through the generosity of Jayce Ray Stallings Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation, and Lilly Endowment Inc. The book will be changed to a new title at the end of July. A third StoryWalk® project is being planned for the soon-to-be-created Spicertown Community Park in Austin by the end of September and is funded through the generosity of Duke Energy.

The Community Foundation’s Early Childhood Committee plans to rotate the books quarterly. The majority of the books will be used from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library initiative, which is a program supported by the Community Foundation, United Way of Scott County, Friends of the Library, Scott County Kiwanis Club, Scott County School District 2 and numerous other donors. The Imagination Library provides free books for children from ages birth through five, mailed directly to their homes every month. In Scott County, there are currently 851 children receiving the age-appropriate books, and 1,947 children who “graduated” from the program when they turned five.

To celebrate this exciting new project, an opening reception will be held at the Scott County Courthouse on Friday, June 16 at 4:00 p.m. The community is invited to attend. Visitors are encouraged to take photos and use the hashtag #ScottCountyStoryWalk to share with others.

“The Early Childhood Committee dreamed of bringing something to Scott County that would unite connections with the youngest learners and their caregivers,” said Committee Chairperson Emily Jordan. “By utilizing the Scott County StoryWalk®, families will create a deeper bond and understanding for one another, and will develop necessary developmental skills such as social communication, motor, language development and cognitive skills. While our books will be focused on ages three to five, the StoryWalk® project is for all ages and every ability level. We hope everyone enjoys this project the same way and as much as our committee has enjoyed working on it.”

For more information on sponsoring a book, please contact Jaime Toppe at the Community Foundation, 752-2057, email, or stop in the office at 60 N. Main St. You may visit and visit the StoryWalk® page under the Community Initiatives menu for a current list of the StoryWalk® locations and books.