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Jan 31

Eastern Red Cedar

Posted to Ernie Miller Nature Center: Tracks Newsletter by Bryan Thompson

In the winter the Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is more easily seen. This evergreen is common through out our state. Many people see this tree as a weedy plant that invades the prairie, shading out grasses and flowers below. This tree is not a cedar nor is it red, at least not on the outside.

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May 06

Johnson County Library’s Walk and Read starts May 7 in Antioch Park

Posted to Explore JCPRD by Becky Burnside

Five JCPRD parks are part of a new outdoor Walk and Read project being offered by the Johnson County Library at a total of 20 sites throughout the county between May and October.
Walk and Read is a ten-day, traveling program consisting of a series of panel signs that provide an interactive reading experience for children and their parents or caregivers. Signs contain storybook pages from a popular children’s book, with one story on one side and another on the other side. 

“We try to pick stories that would be interesting for a large range of ages,” said Monticello Branch Lead Youth Librarian Carrie Lea Worth. “We choose one story that is a little easier than the second story so that families can choose what fits their family best, if they are only going to read one story. We try and choose books with beautiful art and often humor to keep the adults entertained, as well.”

While this program is for all ages, she said the stories selections are primarily for ages birth through eight years old. 

Each set of panels stays at the park site for 10 days. The program starts on May 7 in Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam, and will remain there until May 16. This site is co-sponsored by Shawnee Mission Parents as Teachers. The book titles are: “Families” by Shelley Rotner, and “Bailey” by Harry Bliss.

Other JCPRD Walk and Read sites will include: 
  • June 18  through June 27 at Meadowbrook Park, 9101 Nall Ave., Prairie Village,  with the titles “Families” by Shelley Rotner, and “My Cat Looks Like My Dad” by Thao Lam; 
  • July 30 through Aug. 8 at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa, with the titles “Dog's Colorful Day” by Emma Dodd, and You are a Lion” by Taeeun Yoo; 
  • Aug. 13 through Aug. 22 at Thomas S. Stoll Memorial Park, 12500 W. 119th St., Overland Park, with the titles “Forever Tree” by Donna Lukas and Tereasa Surratt, and “Summer Song” by Kevin Henkes;
  • Aug. 27 through Sept. 6 (includes Labor Day weekend) at Big Bull Creek Park, 20425 Sunflower Road, Edgerton, with the titles “Click Clack, Moo Cows that Type” by Doreen Cronin, and “Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band” by Kwame Alexander.
For a complete list of all Walk and Read sites listed day by day, visit jocolibrary.org. Titles and dates are subject to change due to weather or damage to the panels, so be sure to check the website for any updates. 

Worth said the first Walk and Read program was a weekend program presented in Gardner around 2015.

“The overall purpose was to bring families together to share a story while enjoying the great outdoors,” she said. “The purpose has changed a bit. We are still looking to bring families together to share a story and explore our local parks, but it also allows us to maintain social distancing. We make sure all trail loops are accessible, i.e. stroller- and wheelchair-friendly, and fairly wide for social distancing.” 

Worth has a request for those who visit the Walk and Read sites. 

“Because it is a passive program, we don't actually get to see the families enjoying the Walk and Read,” she said. “We would love to hear from families.”

To provide feedback on Walk and Read, go to jocolibrary.org.