By Rae Kruger, River Alive! Learning Trail Ambassador
The second summer at our Learning Trail was busy with families joining us for weekly drop-in hours. They enjoyed the Seek & Find activities about each animal in the installation. The most curious children would find the QR codes and listen to the songs at each of the six animal statues, written and performed by City Love. The benches next to each animal featured information and images on signs provided fun self-paced literacy activities for people of all ages.
We hosted groups throughout the summer to lead activities such Story Time and Craft Time. Story Time was led by Ms. Deara from Read By Fourth, who brought free copies of books for the children to read along with her, as well as free books to bring home. After she read the story, we would lead the group in activities such as seed planting! In addition to Story Time, Ms. Daphne, Art teacher, led summer camp groups in a nature-themed craft that everyone completed and took home.
The community gathered on the first beautiful Sunday in November to celebrate the Learning Trail and all that it has provided this past season. We hosted 50 community members during an afternoon filled with park memories and interactive activities. Author Lissette Norman visited from New York City to read her bilingual book Plátanos Go With Everything. This was a huge hit, and everyone left with a copy of her book! Ms. Norman also brought a follow-up activity in which families illustrated their favorite plátanos-based foods.
Following those activities, we worked, along with some new and very helpful volunteers, with children and families to write goodbye letters to the animal statues that live in the park; fox, fish, river otter, turtle, water snake, blue heron. Once they finished that they made one-of-a-kind custom buttons to take home. View more photos from this event here.
Once again, the River Alive! Learning Trail, based on the River Alive exhibit at the Independence Seaport Museum, has proven again to be an valuable addition to Juniata Park and other Tacony Creek Park neighborhoods. Thank you to our amazing partner, Project Manager and Creative Lead, Victoria Prizzia of Habitheque and funder, the William Penn Foundation. Stay tuned for the animals, benches, and signs to return at the beginning of Summer 2024. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any ideas for next year at firstname.lastname@example.org!