GIRARD — Families can now enjoy the outdoors while building educational skills together. The Born Learning Trail officially opened today at Winston Park in Girard.

The trail is the product of a partnership between United Way, Live Well Crawford County, The Community Foundation of Girard and the City of Girard. Similar trails exist nationwide, and are part of an initiative through United Way.

“United Way provides the kit with signs and other things,” United Way of Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri Executive Director Duane Dreiling said. “Past that it was truly a community partnership that made this happen.”

The Girard location marks three Born Learning Trails in the area. There is currently one at Schlanger Park, in Pittsburg, and at Wildcat Glades, in Joplin. When Martha Murphy, who was at the time the Live Well chair, learned about the trails she decided to bring one to Girard.

“We saw it at Schlanger Park in Pittsburg and decided it was something we should work toward,” Murphy said. “We talked to the city council and they provided the labor for signs and concrete, and art students from Girard High School painted the sidewalk.”

The project was funded by the Community Foundation of Girard through a grant. The purpose of the trail is to get children outside and active, while still learning. It is painted with shapes, numbers and learning games and the signs along it contain educational facts.

“We need children to be outside more and be active,” Murphy said. “There’s an issue with childhood obesity, but there’s also an issue with nature deficiency in children.”

Murphy said the born learning trail will help to provide parents with guides so they can get active with their children, while still building educational skills to promote a healthy and intelligent future.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.