Enjoy the Outdoors Safely (WSJCANC)


This lesson raises awareness of common hazards in nature and techniques for prevention and treatment. Topics include emergency first aid, hypothermia, heat exhaustion, basic survival rules, insect, plant, and animal identification, how to avoid getting lost and treatment and prevention of stings and bites.

Grade Level:

4 - 12, adults

Recommended Setting:

Indoor and outdoor classroom

Outdoor Activity:



Witt Stephens Junior Central Arkansas Nature Center, Little Rock


Education Coordinator, 501-907-0636


45 minutes

Suggested Number of Participants:

10 - 30


  • Understand that being outdoors involves manageable risks.
  • Recognize the importance of planning for outdoor excursions.
  • Identify common outdoor hazards in Arkansas.
  • Learn basic remedies and emergency treatment for common outdoor injuries.

Key Terms*:

Amendment 75 of 1996

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC)

Central Arkansas Nature Center (CANC)


First aid


Heat exhaustion


Layered clothing

Lyme disease

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


Survival kit



*See glossary for definations


“Arkansas Snake Guide” booklets

Film canister first aid kit materials (from Hunter Ed manual)

GPS unit

JAKES compass activity kit

Survival kit

Topography maps of Camp Robinson, WMA and downtown Little Rock

Outdoor safety handouts

Venomous snakes poster


Thousands of people enjoy Arkansas’ woods and waters each year. However, excursions in Arkansas’ woods and waters are not without risk. Perils range from twisted ankles and broken bones to insect bites and sunburns. Yet with a little awareness, discipline and common sense, people can enjoy the outdoors safely.


  1. Introduce yourself and the CANC. Explain that it is owned and operated by AGFC and showcases the agency’s mission. Also tell how Amendment 75 of 1996 funds paid for the facility and allow free admission.
  2. Ask if anyone has been lost while driving. Transition into how a similar experience outdoors could be more serious. Ask how to prevent getting lost, either on the road or outdoors. Use the topography maps, GPS unit, and JAKES activity kit to show how these tools are valuable, especially when outdoors.
  3. Ask how many types of snakes live in Arkansas and how many are poisonous. Use the snake poster to illustrate that only six of 36 species in Arkansas are poisonous. Distribute the “Arkansas Snake Guide” booklets and show where to find information on individual species. Point out the physical distinctions between venomous and nonvenomous snakes. Note the visual similarities between certain species. Discuss treatment for venomous snake bites.
  4. Discuss insect and spider stings and bites. Stress how to recognize and avoid poisonous species and treatment for each.
  5. Cover other dangers such as sunburn, heat exhaustion, hypothermia and accidental injuries. Describe how to treat them.
  6. Pass out the materials to assemble the film canister first aid kits.
  7. Ask for questions, then review key terms.


Contact the Arkansas Health Department (www.healthyarkansas.com) and the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) for the latest statistics on injuries and deaths due to various causes. Compare how those covered in this lesson rank against other causes. 


  • As you walked to the building, did anyone notice any potential outdoor dangers?
  • What could you use to avoid getting lost? (Maps, compass, GPS)
  • What is the best way to avoid outdoor dangers? (Preparation is the key.)
  • What are your chances of being bitten by a venomous snake in Arkansas? (minimal)
  • What is the most dangerous animal in Arkansas? (Deer: auto collisions)


Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) – the state agency responsible for managing fish and wildlife


Compass – a hand-held navigational aid that uses the earth’s magnetic field to provide direction


First aid – treatment procedures for various injuries; all people venturing outdoors should be familiar with basic first aid procedures and carry appropriate materials


GPS – Global Positioning System; a hand-held receiver that uses satellite signals for navigation


Heat exhaustion – a condition marked by weakness, nausea, dizziness, and profuse sweating resulting from physical exertion in a hot environment


Hypothermia – dangerously low body temperature resulting from exposure to cold air or water


Layered clothing – dressing in multiple garments to maximize heat retention and prevent hypothermia


Lyme disease – an acute inflammatory disease transmitted by certain ticks; usually characterized initially by a spreading red skin lesion and by fatigue, fever, and chills; if left untreated may later cause joint pain, arthritis, and cardiac and neurological disorders


Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – an acute disease transmitted by ticks that is characterized by chills, fever, prostration, muscle and joint pains, and a red to purple eruption


Shock – a state of profound depression of vital body functions associated with reduced blood volume and pressure; usually caused by severe crushing injuries, blood loss, or burns


Survival kit – an emergency kit containing items necessary to sustain life and communicate to or signal others if one is stranded or isolated


Topography – graphic details on maps or charts of natural and man-made features of a place or region that shows relative positions and elevations


Venomous – having a venom-producing gland and able to inflict a poisoned wound; Arkansas has six venomous snake species