Big Backyard

Welcome to the Big Backyard Program

The Big Backyard Program is a series of nature walks on school property and adjacent lands that enhances the existing science and social studies curriculum in each grade.

Observation, learning to ask good questions, problem solving, and respect for the natural environment are emphasized throughout the program.

Bowman K-5 Big Backyard Program Permission Form

The subject for each season for each grade is:

Fall, Winter and Spring: Focus is on the senses and seasonal changes in plants

Grade 1
Fall, Winter and Spring: Focus is on animals, what they need to live and grow and how they cope with seasonal changes, especially bugs and birds

Grade 2

Fall: Soil composition

Winter: Using thermometers and exploring snow

Spring: Insect Detectives

Grade 3
Fall: Native American Needs

Winter: Watershed

Spring: Food Chains: who lives in the stream?

  • Old Reservoir – Ponding Trip (June 3, 2020 / June 10, 2020-rain date)

Grade 4

Fall or Spring: The Geology of Whipple Hill
*starting next year there will be no sign ups.

Grade 5

Fall: Ecosystems and Food Chains


Spring: Plant Parts and Photosynthesis


All parents are invited to participate in Bowman’s Big Backyard, a nature education program, by leading small groups of children on seasonal explorations of Bowman’s natural environment. The program supplements the science curriculum in each grade and is a wonderful chance for you to share in your child’s education. NO experience necessary! Training will be provided prior to each walk, as well as general training on conducting nature education/exploration walks with children. Sign up using the links for each grade above. Contact your classroom Room Parent or the Bowman PTA Big Backyard Coordinators at


The walks are written to be self explanatory, but for those who are interested, there are some training courses that are well worth attending:

  • Overview Training
    Karen McCarthy, School wide program coordinator and Science curriculum specialist, presents the general philosophy behind the program. Dates and location are announced in the Broadside, on the listserv and to the right side of this page.
  • Walk Review Training by Grade Level
    Volunteers should plan to attend a 45-minute pre-walk training that is provided for each walk.  This training will review the information in the walk guide and help familiarize volunteers with key locations to visit.


Walk Guides and other documentation

Use the links to the right to find the walk guides and other documents for each walk. Every document is in PDF format so you will need Acrobat Reader to access them. You may then print them off or simply review them online as you wish.

Please read the walk guides before the day of the walk to ensure you are acquainted with the topic and walk objectives. For some walks, an online video is also available at

We hope to see you in Bowman’s Big Backyard this year!


Useful information to download 
Guidelines of Big Backyard Walks
Tips for Walk Leaders
Environmental Basic Handbook


BBY PTA Coordinators
Victoria Moule, Ming Tregay, Danielle Olivier, Lori Wright at



Grade K-3 and Gr 5:
To be scheduled for October – mid November.  BBY classroom coordinator to contact teacher to arrange suitable walk and rain date.

Parent Volunteer Training
Grades K-3 and Gr 5:
Training to be provided 30-45 mins immediately prior to walk so volunteers do not need to come separately for training and actual walk. Please read walk guides prior to training so you’re prepared to lead student groups.