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Missoula Children Map Town In Poems And Images - 6/4 - Missoula

May 31, 2018View for printing

On June 4, 2018, the Missoula Writing Collaborative will unveil the Missoula Children's Poetry Map, a digital map of the town that features more than 500 poems written by fourth-grade students about places in Missoula.

Accompanying the poems will be colorful drawings and recordings by the students. The poems cover well-known Missoula landmarks: the M, the L, the North Hills, as well as lesser-known areas, such as Skyview Park, Rainbow Hill or Moose Can Gully. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Missoula Public Library and will feature readings from participating young poets, demonstrations of the map, and a program featuring Mayor John Engen.

Although the children's poetry map was the brainchild of Caroline Patterson, executive director of the Missoula Writing Collaborative, its execution was collaboration between Patterson and Ken Wall, President of GeoData Services. Patterson's background as a Missoula native and writer compelled her to want to create a document that revealed "how kids see the town. What do they go? What do they like? Also, when kids write about places they love, they wrote with great passion, specificity, and detail." Wall engineered the project--from choosing the digital platform that could accommodate poems, illustrations, and recordings, as well as organizing project tasks and procedures. Greg and Chris Robitaille, of Xplorer Maps, worked with the team to create an artistic, illustrated map of the town that features 21 selected poems for the map's top layer. Paper copies of this map will also be available at a later date. Nick Littman, program manager, directed the classroom uploading sessions. The map was funded by a $25,000 National Endowment Our Town Grant as well as the Llewellyn Foundation.

With the help of librarian Michele Nockelby, the MCPS team launched their map at Hawthorne School in early December 2017. They then moved to fourth grades in nine other Missoula schools--Chief Charlo, Cold Springs, Franklin, Lewis and Clark, Lowell, Paxson, Rattlesnake, Russell, Sussex--helping students upload their poems and illustrations onto Arc GIS, a digital mapping platform. Students pinpointed the exact locations of their poems. This allows users to press on a poem or a landmark and have the accompanying poem, drawing, and recording pop up.

After the unveiling, the digital map will be housed on a computer in the children's section of the present Missoula Public Library. The public can access the map using their own computers or devices. The map's QR codes will be available at the library event.

Ken Wall

Geodata Services, Inc.

P.O. Box 8081, Missoula, MT 59807

(406) 203-4684 (office)

(406) 370-6438 (mobile)

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