Cornelia Story Trail opens

Cornelia city leaders, volunteers, and members of Pebble Ministry, Inc. participate in Story Trail ribbon cutting on Sunday afternoon. (Jerry Neace/

The Cornelia Story Trail officially opened Sunday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the city park. Cornelia leaders joined members of Pebble Ministry, volunteers, and children’s book author Wanda Obermeier for the event.

Obermeier lives in Cleveland. The project committee selected her book “Mama Bird Papa Bird” to be the first featured book on the story trail.

An ‘exciting addition’

Nearly two dozen turned out on August 27 to celebrate this innovative community project. Cornelia City Manager Dee Anderson and commissioners Don Bagwell and Tony Cook were among them.

“It’s an exciting addition to a beautiful trail that we have that I know we’re really proud of,” said Bagwell.

Pebble Ministry Founder Troyce Simmons, whose volunteer organization spearheaded the project, says Cornelia’s new story trail is the only one in Northeast Georgia outside of Hall County. There are similar trails in other parts of the state.

“My wife and I were just in another city, Rome, on the west side, and they had a story trail there. The first one I had ever seen. I thought, what a unique idea. We ought to do that sometime. Lo and behold, if we didn’t get around to actually doing it, thanks to Troyce and Cristina, so it’s a great day.”

Pictured, from left, are Cornelia city commissioners Tony Cook and Don Bagwell, City Manager Donald Anderson, Pebble Ministry Board Member Jennifer Herrera, Pebble Ministry Founder and CEO Troyce Simmons, Board member Christine Ta, and Pebble Ministry Chief Financial Officer Cristina Simmons. (Jerry Neace/

Before Sunday’s ribbon-cutting, Pebble Ministry held a small reception at the Cornelia Community House for the volunteers who helped make the story trail a reality.

Obermeier was there selling and autographing her book.

The Northeast Georgia author says it’s an honor to have her book chosen to be the first featured on the Cornelia Story Trail.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be selected to be first. The fact that it’s bilingual, my hope is that it will help unite at least two cultures as they read about ‘Mama Bird and Papa Bird,’” she said.

Wanda Obermeier shows off her book, which is now on display on the Cornelia Story Trail. (Jerry Neace/
Pages from “Mama Bird Papa Bird” are displayed in the recently installed cases that line the walking trail at Cornelia City Park. For those who stop to read them, by the time they finish the trail, they’ve finished the book.


Obermeier has received public recognition for her work before.

Former Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal invited Obermeier to the Governor’s Mansion several years ago. The First Lady embraced her book and told her that she would read the book to children who visited the mansion. Deal also read the book to children during her school tours.

Pebble Ministry Board Member Christine Ta suggested the idea for a story trail. The ministry presented the idea to Anderson, who supported it.

The ministry secured $5,000 from AARP to buy a year’s worth of books to be featured on the trail. Organizers hope the story trail will foster a sense of fun and community as people walk and read together.

“You’re doing community — you’re reading this book together. So you get exercise, education, community, and family all in one setting,” Troyce Simmons said ahead of the ribbon-cutting.

Rylan Cannon (right) reads a page from “Mama Bird Papa Bird” to Traci Hodges (left) on the Story Trail. (Jerry Neace/Now

Pebble Ministry plans to change out the books every six weeks. They hope that by doing that, children will be encouraged to revisit the trail.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email