Environment Good to Know

Tales on the Trail Launches at Terra Cotta and Orangeville

Tales on the Trail kick-off event
Written by Dan O’Reilly

 Photo above/Credit Dan O’Reilly: Credit Valley Conservation, the Halton Hills Public Library, and Orangeville Public Library staff and representatives officially unveiled one of the Tales on the Trail plaques at the June 16 kickoff event.

Storybook telling, reading, literacy, walking, and nature appreciation have converged in a special project at the Terra Cotta Conservation Area in Caledon and Island Lake Conservation Area in Orangeville.

Jointly sponsored by Credit Valley Conservation, the Halton Hills Public Library, the Orangeville Public Library, Friends of Island Lake and the Women’s Institute, Tales on the Trail is an interactive trail experience that promotes literacy and recreation.

A cheery panel

A close up look at one of the panels. Photo credit: Dan O’Reilly

It does that by way of 16 metal pedestals or posts with illustrated storybook panels that have been installed at both conservation areas. They are located at the Natural Playground at Island Lake and along the Wetland Trail at Terra Cotta. 

The panels at Terra Cotta are currently featuring pages from the children’s book A Long Way Home. Written by Jean Little, it’s a story of friendship and migration through the experiences of instant friends Jane and Maya.

At Island Lake, the panels display Power Poems for Small Humans, an anthology of poems by Flamingo Rampant Press. The plan is to rotate the panels between the two conservation areas on a monthly basis and then install completely new ones on a bimonthly schedule. The two libraries will chose the content based on a theme that connects people with nature.

One panel near bench

One of the panels is located close to a park bench. Photo credit: Dan O’Reilly

“This is a perfect partnership (between the CVC and the two boards),” said CVC’s parks, lands, and community engagement director Terri LeRoux at a June 16 kickoff event at Terra Cotta.

“We’re really excited to add the Tales on the Trail permanent installation to our parks. It will add value for our visitors as we strive to connect communities with nature through literacy and art,” said LeRoux.

Following a few other introductory speeches, one of the plaques was officially unveiled by the staff and representatives of the three agencies, who then went for a walk along the Wetland Trail.

The Tales on the Trail initiative is a “wonderful adventure that celebrates the joy of reading, the wonders of the natural world and the power of community connection,” said Beverley King, Acting Chief Librarian and CEO of the Halton Hills Public Library.

Darla speaking with Michelle

Credit Valley Conservation events program assistant Michelle McCaffrey and Orangeville Public Library CEO Darla Fraser inspect one of the panels. Photo credit: Dan O’Reilly

“It (the project) is all about the community,” said Orangeville Public Library CEO Darla Fraser, one of the invited guests. In a short interview, Fraser explained Tales on the Trail aligns with the library’s 2022-2027 strategic plan whose themes are: Connect Discover Soar.

A storybook walk at Terra Cotta, which Credit Valley Conservation hosted in partnership with the Brampton Public Library in the fall of 2021, was the inspiration for a permanent installation.

The Friends of Island Lake and the Women’s Institute also supported the project through a $2,500 donation.

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About the author

Dan O’Reilly

Dan O’Reilly is a freelance writer specializing in design and construction, the environment, and historical preservation. He is also a regular contributor to the Daily Commercial News and Ontario Home Builder, the official magazine of the Ontario Home Builders Association.

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