• Guidelines for Big Backyard Nature Walks

    Nature walks provide the opportunity for children to enjoy fresh air and exercise, and to learn about the natural world.   You can help your child enjoy the outdoors safely by teaching them some of the basic health protection measures outlined below.

    If you have any specific questions about children’s health and the environment, contact the Lexington Health Department.

    Wear Sun Protection

    Protect children from the sun’s rays with sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), clothing, and hats.

    Keep the Bugs Away

    Mosquitoes and ticks can carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease. While these diseases are not a common problem in Lexington, you can help to protect your child from tick-and mosquito-borne diseases with simple prevention measures. To keep insects and ticks away, apply an insect repellent containing 15% DEET to your child before she/he leaves home.

    Bees, wasps and related insects may cause allergic reactions. Talk to your doctor and school nurse about Epi-pens if your child has any known allergies to insect bites.

    People typically pick up ticks, both the tiny deer tick and larger dog ticks, by walking through brush or long grasses. Ask children to wear light colored long sleeves and pants when walking in woods and fields (tuck pants into socks), In addition to the basic precautions described above, check your child each evening for ticks. For more information see: www.cdc.gov/health/default.htm

    Watch Out for Water

    Children enjoy exploring streams and ponds. In most cases, the water in these areas will be safe. However, most bodies of water are not tested regularly (except swimming areas). Instruct children to wash hands carefully before eating to prevent illness from contaminated water.

    Learn How to Identify Hazardous Plants

    Help your child avoid rashes by teaching them how to identify poison ivy, and other plant species that might be hazardous.




    The Big Backyard is a program designed to introduce children to many aspects of the natural world, while also enhancing skills of scientific inquiry such as question formulation, observation and deduction. Each class will go out on 1 to 3 nature walks during the year. While on the walks, which occur during the school day, classes will explore fields, woods and other habitats on and off Bowman School property. The walks are guided by parent volunteers following prepared curriculum.

    GRADE/SEASON                 TOPIC                                                LOCATION           


    Fall:   Plants in Fall                                         School property

    Winter: Seasonal changes                               School property            

    Spring: Flowers/Seeds                                    School property            

    Grade 1

    Fall:   Animals and Animal Habitats                  School/Town property            

    Winter: Animals in Winter                               School/Town property

    Spring: Insects/Birds                                      School/Town property

    Grade 2                  

    Fall:   Insects/Butterflies                                 School/Town property            

    Winter: Properties of snow/Ice                        School/Town property

    Spring: Soil composition                                 School/Town property

    Grade 3

    Fall:   Colonial Plant Usage                             School property            

    Winter: Watershed                                        School/Town property

    Spring: Who Lives in the Stream                    School/Town property

    Grade 4

    Fall/Spring: Geology of Whipple Hill                Town property            

    Grade 5

    Fall:   Plant Parts/Photosynthesis                    School/Town property            


    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    (Please return completed slip to your child’s teacher)


    BIG BACKYARD PERMISSION FORM:   Grade_____   Teacher___________________


    My child, (print) _____________________________________, has my permission to participate in the Big Backyard nature walks during the 2014-2015 school year, according to the schedule for his/her grade as listed above. I understand that he/she will be visiting school grounds as well as going off school grounds as outlined above. I understand that the walks are led by parent volunteers.


    I will contact the school nurse about any changes in my child's medical condition that might need to be considered on a nature walk.



    Parent’s signature: ________________________________ Date ________________