FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties held a ribbon-cutting Wednesday afternoon for their new Born Learning Trail.
The Born Learning Trail is a national initiative in the United Way that started to engage children in physical activity while staying safe and learning interactively.
“It’s a really good tool for parents to use. I know sometimes we worry about our kids with screen time or sort of those frustrations of being cooped up in your house. This trail offers a really good socially distance way for people to be out and also learning,” said Community Impact Director Emily Swain. “I think it checks off a lot of the needs the parents, and the kids, have right now. They get to move their bodies and connect, and kids learn that way. They learn by movement and the world around them.”
The trail is one size fits all. Everyone from young children and their parents has seen benefits from walking the trail in the short four weeks it has been in place at Mary Lou Retton Park.
“The great thing about this too, is it’s not just okay kids here you go. You go through it and walk with them and you use the signs and your imagination together,” said MCPARC Executive Director Tony Michalski. “I have had adults tell me, ‘hey that trail I learned a lot about playing with our kids and imagination and creativity.’ Walking down the trail with your kids, and the best thing about it is it’s a family activity.”
Michalski said since March, the parks and trails in Marion county had been utilized much more frequently. He explained this early learning device adds the educational component while also encouraging kids to get outside and out from in front of a screen.
“It’s important to have a place to go outside where you can be socially distant, and a place where you can come out enjoy our parks. The more additions we have like this to them, the more people can enjoy at them,” said Michalski.
Several volunteers joined in putting the Born Learning Trail in place, including Mon Power, MCPARC, and Fairmont State students who came to paint the path.
United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties said it hopes to put another learning trail on the opposite side of Marion county so that every corner can enjoy the outdoor activity and educational experience.