Nature Hiking (FBCEC)

Summary:

Nature hiking is a favored pastime bringing hours of pleasure, exercise and learning. Fred Berry Conservation Education Center’s watchable wildlife trails let hikers enjoy local plant and animal life and see the beauty of the area. Participants will learn about hiking etiquette and safety then will hike one or more trails with a guide.

Grade Level:

Pre K - 12

Recommended Setting:

FBCEC trails

Outdoor Activity:

No

Location:

Fred Berry Conservation Education Center, Yellville, AR

Contact:

Education Program Coordinator, 870-449-3484

Duration:

45 minutes - 1 hour

Suggested Number of Participants:

Up to 15

Special Conditions:

Weather permitting

Objectives:

  • Practice hiking etiquette.
  • Hike safely and comfortably.
  • Refine observation skills while enjoying the trails.
  • Develop a healthy and educational outdoor pastime.
  • Consider enriching the experience through photography or journaling.

 

Key Terms*:

Hiking etiquette

 

*See glossary for definations

Materials:

Binoculars, camera, sketchpad or journal (optional)

Brochure(s) with hiking and wildlife viewing tips

Trail maps 

Background:

It is important to be prepared before hiking. A successful hiker will know where he/she is going, how long it will take, what equipment will be needed, the layout, the dangers and safety precautions to take. Practicing hiking etiquette shows respect for wildlife and other hikers, and it is essential to keeping trails natural and open.  

Procedure:

  1. Share some memories of hiking and allow two or three participants to share theirs.
  2. Discuss some benefits of nature hiking. (It’s healthy. It can reduce stress. Enjoy new sights, particularly those that cannot be reached by a vehicle.)
  3. Discuss hiking etiquette and safe hiking tips including:
    • Tote your trash; keep it until you find a trash can.
    • Keep it down; you will see wildlife if the animals don’t hear you coming.
    • Stay on the path; you could damage habitat or get into poison ivy.
    • Take only memories (or photos), leave only footprints; please do not pick flowers or remove plants or animals from the trail.
    • Give wild animals plenty of space; use binoculars.
    • Drink plenty of water and use sunscreen.
  4. Display a trail map and designate the route.
  5. Encourage the participants to ask questions or point out interesting sights.
  6. Allow participants to discuss the experience. What did they learn? What did they like or dislike?

Modifications:

  • Binoculars can enhance wildlife watching experiences. Participants may require some instruction before taking them on the trail.
  • Sketching, journaling or photography can get participants more involved in their observations. Journaling guidance or photography tips are available if requested. A separate digital nature photography lesson is also available.

Review:

  • List at least five hiking etiquette practices.
  • What are some safety steps in hiking?
  • What are some of the “don’ts?”

Resources:

  • Duda, Mark Damian (1995). Watching Wildlife. Falcon Press Publishing Company.
  • Jones, Janie and Wyatt (2004). Hiking Arkansas. The Globe Pequot Press.
  • Sutton, Keith, et.al. Arkansas Watchable Wildlife Guide. University of Arkansas Printing Services. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
  • “Trail Tips” are listed on a downloadable trail brochure at www.fredberrycec.com and can be found on Arkansas Game and Fish’s watchable wildlife web page at
    http://www.agfc.com/education-class/programs/watchable-wildlife/tips-ethics.aspx

Glossary:

Hiking Etiquette – a set of outdoor ethics followed by conscientious hikers, including knowing where it is he/she is going, how long it will take for the hike, what equipment or other items will be needed while hiking, the layout of the area, the dangers that might be faced while hiking, and safety precautions to take for situations that could arise during the hike