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Malika Gottfried '25 Brings the Story Stroll Back to the Outdoor Gardens


story stroll

Published May 15, 2024

Due to the success of last year’s inaugural story stroll that was on display in the gardens outside of Lyman as part of the Botanical Exploration summer exhibit, a story stroll will return to the gardens this year! Botanic Garden Student Educator (BoGSE) Malika Gottfried ’25 took this on as her spring student project, and it will be installed in the Systematic Garden within a couple of weeks.

“A story stroll is a fun and interactive way for people to enjoy books together,” Gottfried said. “Every page is on a different stake that will wind through the Systematics Garden, letting visitors feel more immersed in the book by activating all senses. While the book is targeted for kids, story strolls are meant to be enjoyed by everybody!”

This year's book is called "The Last Tree/El Último Árbol" by María Quintana Silva. The bilingual book is about a little boy named Goran and the trees in his city. It's a captivating children's book with gorgeous illustrations that lends itself well to be interpreted as a story stroll, especially one that is on display at a botanic garden.

In addition to the book, the stroll will also include an interactive componentpamphlets with prompts and activitiesthat visitors can follow along with. They will be available at the start of the stroll, which will be located near the front of Lyman Plant House.

Gottfried worked on this project under the guidance of Manager of Education Sarah Loomis, and with the help of Assistant Gardener and Assistant Curator Dave Dion in building the signs. “With Dave’s help I learned how to use many different power tools to build these signs, which was a really fun experience,” shared Gottfried. An unexpected educational component of taking on this project!

Part of the work of being a BoGSE is creating an end-of-the-year project that incorporates educational materials into the visitor experience. BoGSEs contribute to the educational projects at the botanic garden in order to help connect more people to botanic gardenwork which benefits from the contributions of a diversity of students.

“We had such a good response to the story strolls last year, so I knew it was a project I wanted to take on again,” shared Gottfried. “There are so many different ways to get people excited about nature and about learning, and I think the story stroll brings these two ideas together in a really special way. And it helps people be more intentional in this space and really recognize the beauty that is around them in a way by helping ground that connection in the story.”

Visitors can enjoy the story stroll throughout the Systematics Garden during the summer months.