Harold McCormick students walk trail to learn about healthy foods

For children, getting excited about eating vegetables can be a tough task, but Grow Carter County and other organizations decided to use a local walking trail to accomplish this goal.

Harold McCormick kindergartners took a hike on the Storybook Trail Wednesday afternoon, along the way learning about fruits and vegetables and how they are healthy and good for you.

Grow Carter County, the Elizabethton/Carter County Library and the Carter County Health Department all met to showcase the new signs and plaques adorning the small section of the Tweetsie Trail.

“Our mission is to grow wellness in the community,” member of the Health Department and Grow Carter County Ashley Davies said.

The Storybook Trail debuted in December of last year, providing trail-goers and families alike the chance to get children outside and exercising in a fun and creative way.

Davies said the intent is to change the theme of the various signposts once a quarter, and spring transitions into summer. She said they were looking for a health theme.

“May is also our growing season, so we thought it was a great idea,” she said.

Dr. Mitchell Hackett, a registered dietician and Harold McCormick parent, led the kindergartners up and down the trail, each time stopping to showcase the health facts about fruits and vegetables that were on display at each sign, such as where vegetables come from and how they reach the store.

“We have a high obesity rate here in Carter County,” Davies said. “This risk decreases with fruits and vegetables.”

As children skipped from sign to sign with smiles on their faces, Davies said this level of engagement is mandatory in order to instill this health knowledge into children as they become adults.

“We want to make kids excited about it,” she said. “It was awesome. Everyone was engaged.”

She said the Storybook Trail is a collaborative effort every time. Beyond the organizations mentioned already, she said Lowes donated materials, Elizabethton Parks and Recreation gave their support and Elizabethton High School’s Bartleby program repainted the signposts themselves to reflect the new theme.

Davies said Grow Carter County’s next meeting is June 12 at 1:15 p.m., at the Medical Care building in Elizabethton, 1500 West Elk Ave.

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