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A new project highlighting the Meadville’s community gardens and public parks commences today with a walk that will lead participants past several such sites, each newly marked with decorative garden stones fashioned by local elementary students.

Walkable Meadville invites families to make their way from the Families Community Garden, 1190, S. Main St., to Meadville Public Library and then back to the new Walkable Meadville Children’s Garden at 1047 S. Main St. The event runs — or walks — from 9 a.m. until noon A similar walk will take place May 22 at the same time.

Retired art teacher Mike Marley worked with fifth graders from Second District Elementary last week to create the garden stones that are being sponsored by more than a dozen businesses and organizations. The students mixed concrete, poured it into forms created with salad bowls and cups, and topped the stones off with recycled pieces of stained glass windows , Marley said.

“The children were so proud to do something for their neighborhood,” Marley said Thursday as he and other volunteers installed the first of the garden stones directly across the street from Second District at the Families Community Garden. 

The stones will be visible from along the walking tour, according to organizer Jan Hyatt, and will help spark children and others to engage their senses as they make their way around the city. The eventual goal is to piece together a 5-mile network of accessible, fun and educational paths within the city.

“This is active learning,” Hyatt said, “active learning that encourages children to notice more and families to learn together.”

Children participating in the walk will receive a bucket of soil and a seed packet of their choice. Seeds can be planted at home or in the Children’s Garden.

In June, after the Children’s Garden is planted, Walkable Meadville will offer weekly Saturday morning sessions on gardening tips and creating garden sculptures.

Mike Crowley can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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