Constance’s Story Trail is made possible through a generous grant to the Parks Foundation by former Highland Park resident Marc Mar-Yohana in collaboration with Heller Nature Center and the Highland Park Public Library. This was Mar-Yohana’s touching tribute to his late daughter and to celebrate her love of nature and reading. Constance and her father had shared many joyous hours reading the books posted along Heller Nature Center’s story trail.
Featured books along the trail change seasonally and include some of Constance’s favorites and books selected by the Highland Park Public Library staff. Organizers also hope to offer a chance for local youth to display their writing.
Constance’s Story Trail is based on the StoryWalk® Project. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.
“It was something we always loved to do together,” said Mar-Yohana, explaining that Constance was on the autism spectrum and had difficulty with physical coordination and speaking. “The Nature Center really gave her a chance to exercise. She liked seeing the trees and shuffling her feet through the leaves in the fall and got excited watching squirrels running, birds flying by, and frogs jumping in the pond.”
The posted stories made their visits to Heller Nature Center even more rewarding since Constance’s ability to speak was at its best when reading aloud. “The books gave her an extra incentive to walk the full trail,” Mar-Yohana said. “Our goal in bringing it back is to make it last with the best available equipment. I really want other families to be able to enjoy it.”
A Black boy’s transformative day out in nature, recommended by Social Justice Books and We Are Kid Lit Collective
Rodney is that kid who just can’t sit still. He’s inside, but he wants to be outside. Outside is where Rodney always wants to be. Between school and home, there is a park. He knows all about that park. It’s that triangle-shaped place with the yellow grass and two benches where grown-ups sit around all day. Besides, his momma said to stay away from that park. When Rodney finally gets a chance to go to a real park, with plenty of room to run and climb and shout, and to just be himself, he will never be the same.