The Douglas School Nature Walk Program was developed in 1996 by Bev Morrison, a professional naturalist. Since then, volunteers have administered the program for classroom teachers. The Nature Walk Program is designed to help students better understand the relationship between the classroom and the natural environment outside. The program ties directly into our science curriculum and involves students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Each grade explores a different aspect of the natural world, focusing on birds, plants, insects, trees, etc. The concepts taught outside are reinforced in the classroom with follow-up projects, and are built upon from one year to the next.
The program is especially exciting because it is one of the best opportunities for parents to be included as active members of the "teaching team." Parents act as leaders for small groups of children to observe selected study sites. Depending on the grade, a class goes out 2-3 times during the year to observe the seasonal changes of its study area. Students of all grades get an opportunity to learn about the wetlands, seasonal changes, and bird nesting habits from the boardwalk.
Nature Walk Program Leaders Karen Pierce and Nancy Stillman (firstname.lastname@example.org) facilitate program operations, provide training to other parent volunteers, and improve the program with new scripts and Web postings.