Otego StoryWalk Combines Literacy, Family Fun & Healthy Habits

**SNEAK PEEK**

By Allison Collins

OTEGO – Kids and families in Otego can enjoy a story while they stroll, thanks to the efforts of Harris Memorial Library Director Anne Ohman, Mayor Ernest Kroll and grant funding facilitated by Maureen Blanchard with Creating Healthy Schools and Communities.

The village is home to the area’s first StoryWalk, a program conceptualized by a Vermont librarian in 2007.

StoryWalk, Ohman said, is “an enjoyable way for children and adults to read a book together while taking a walk outdoors.”

Blanchard said StoryWalk satisfies Creating Healthy Schools and Communities’ mission of promoting healthy activity among families while making communities more pedestrian friendly.

“I have two initiatives that fit in under StoryWalk: one is working with communities to adapt ‘Complete Street’ policies and implement them to make communities more walkable,” Blanchard explained. “And I’m working with local businesses and community-based organizations to adopt healthy food guidelines and activities, so I worked with the village and the Otego library … on the idea of a StoryWalk. Anne and the mayor both loved it and have been really involved.”

“The idea is, how do we get people moving to prevent chronic disease and take something everybody does – walking – and literacy and combine the two,” she added. “This is all about getting people moving.”

Plans for a local iteration, Ohman said, have been underway since she and met with Blanchard in February 2017.

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