A new collaboration

Local children can get outdoors and learn about history at Playwicki Farm’s all-new ‘Trail Tales’

Fantastic four: Pictured are (from left) Ray Weldie, chairman of the Lower Southampton Township supervisors; Brittany Eastman, youth services librarian for the Township Library of Lower Southampton; Rose McMenamin, president of the Playwicki Farm Foundation; and Deborah Kaplan, a Lower Southampton Township supervisor. Source: Stu Coren

Playwicki Farm, located at 2350 Bridgetown Pike, Feasterville, is rich with fascinating history that can be traced back thousands of years.

For example, the grounds of the bucolic space, which was purchased by Lower Southampton Township in 1994, have turned up arrowheads, tools and pottery, which suggests it was home to the Lenape Village of Playwicky when William Penn owned the property in the 1600s.

In order to keep the story of these Native Americans alive in Bucks County, Playwicki Farm, in partnership with the Township Library of Lower Southampton, has launched “Trail Tales” – a brand new initiative to inform the next generation of the past in an enjoyable, interactive way.

The education collaboration, now open and free to the public, takes place along the scenic walking trail of the 110-acre farm. Along the route, participants encounter 16 posters, hand-crafted by Brittany Eastman, youth services librarian, that tell the story of a contemporary Lenape Indian child.

Based on the children’s book Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger and Susan Katz, the tale narrates how the young girl’s grandparents lived and how she lives today, and offers a way to connect that with the history of the farm and Bucks County in general.

“That’s really what it’s all about. It’s a wonderful story,” said Rose McMenamin, president of the Playwicki Farm Foundation. “I’m just grateful for the story itself, which is centered on the Lenape Indians that actually lived on our property at Playwicki Farm. That’s where they survived. They were there when William Penn owned the property. They’re still around, the tribe. They’re just part of our community now.”

“Trail Tales,” which takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, begins and ends at the on-site playground. Not only does it encourage literacy skills, it promotes healthy habits and exercise.

“From one poster to another, the children have to do something like skip, jump, whistle. They have to achieve something before they can get to the next poster,” McMenamin said. “It’s just a fun, interactive story.”

At the 16th and final poster, trail-goers are invited to sign a guestbook and take home a sticker for completing the tour.

According to McMenamin, Playwicki’s collaboration with the library is a prime example of its mission to incorporate the community into as many of its activities and offerings as possible. Other partnerships include the Lower Southampton Township Animal Control Advisory Board and the Feasterville Rotary, which helps the farm present the weekly storytime program “Just Like Old Times.”

“We’re just trying to partner with them to bring things to Playwicki Farm that fit into what we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to do,” she said, adding that the Township Library of Lower Southampton is a regular attendee at its 2nd Friday event series. “I think it’s just very good for the community.”

“Trail Tales” is open morning and night through the end of August. For young residents who attend, McMenamin hopes they return to school in the fall with some newfound knowledge about their town.

“I think the children out of it all will understand the history and learn a little bit more about Playwicki and the Lenape Indians and how they survived on our land,” she said.

For more information, contact the Playwicki Farm Foundation at 215-357-7300, Ext. 340 or email playwicki.farm.foundation@gmail.com. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com