Children follow story of Geoffrey the Goat at Storybook Trail

Published 8:27 am Friday, September 20, 2019

With a dip in temperature came a slight breeze Thursday morning, a perfect escape from the recent heat, and local schools took full advantage.

Though the goat himself could not attend the event as planned, second-graders from Harold McCormick Elementary still got to learn about his story Thursday morning, learning about good food and how to eat it in moderation.

Vickie Clark with the University of Tennessee Extension Office led students through the newest iteration of the Storybook Trail in Elizabethton, going through the story of Geoffrey the Goat and his adventures with food, both healthy and junk.

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“This was really fun for me,” Clark said. “We are always trying to teach healthy living.”

The trail has been in place for almost a year now, and every few months volunteers come out to replace the half dozen signs with a new story for children and their families to read together.

“We are so fortunate to have this trail,” she said.

The story is a little different this time around, however, in that it does not tell children to avoid junk or fast food altogether. Instead, it takes a different approach.

“This showed it is OK to eat in moderation,” Clark said.

The point of the trail, she said, is to teach children to make smart choices about their diet early on. If a child is willing to develop a taste for healthier food earlier in life, it becomes easier to maintain that lifestyle as an adult.

In particular, she said reading the story out loud for the children also has another benefit.

“It is important that we as adults model that behavior,” Clark said. “It shows them that we agree.”

Beyond the message behind the story, she said the story-telling itself is vital to children.

“Reading is so important,” she said.

The children seemed to agree, running from sign to sign that morning with youthful excitement.

“I loved seeing the kids that excited,” Clark said. “It felt so good to be outside.”

Clark said the book in question is also available at the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library should parents want to check it out for themselves.

The trail is a section of the Tweetsie Trail that runs the length of Elizabethton, and is free for anyone to enjoy at any time of day.