Tomah Born Learning Trail gets a refresh

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 5:09 PM CDT
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TOMAH, Wis. (WEAU) - A Tomah trail received some maintenance Tuesday morning, but it’s not the type of trail you’d expect.

Great Rivers United Way and Toro partnered in 2017 to create a Born Learning Trail in Tomah’s Frank S. Andres Fireman’s Park.

United Way Development Director Katie Sparks says the trail consists of a series of signs describing different activities parents can do with their young children.

“Naming letters of the alphabet, listening to the sounds at the park, identifying animals,” Sparks listed. “Each sign walks you through a different activity, and just really helps you be in tune with nature, but you’re also learning at the same time.”

Sparks adds the goal of the trail is to improve language and literacy in children at an early age.

“The first few years in a child’s life are the most important, and so what these trails do is really give the parents and caregivers the options of how to communicate with their kids at the park, and how to teach them while they’re just doing something like a normal activity,” Sparks explained.

Volunteers from both the United Way and Toro gathered together Tuesday to tend to the trail for the first time since it was established.

Toro manager Aaron Curtis says the company was happy to partner with the United Way on the initiative, and is more than willing to maintain the trail.

“It’s one of Toro’s core principles to give back to the communities in which it operates, and so we’ve got a large operation here in Tomah, we’ve got about 700 employees, and many of them are very committed to the local communities,” Curtis expressed. “They live here, they work here, their families grow up here, and many of them have walked this trail.”

Trail work included repainting shapes along the paved walkway and fixing up the signs that detail the variety of unique activities.

The United Way has helped establish seven Born Learning Trails in total, including two in Monroe County, four in La Crosse County, and one in La Crescent, MN.

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