CAMBRIDGE — Kathy Pike and Howard Romack want kids to put down the electronics and go explore their backyards.
Pike, a former Cambridge principal, and Romack, a former Cambridge middle school science teacher, have teamed up to write and self-publish a book, “In Your Backyard: A Family Guide to Exploring the Outdoors.”
“Howard has always been the pied piper of science,” Pike said, adding later, “so people have always been asking him about things they can see in their backyard.”
The book features 40 topics of interest in the backyard, from insects and mammals to plants and fungi. The book also touches on global warming.
Pike, a reading specialist, teamed up with well-known science guru Romack, who used to write environmental columns for a newspaper. The two live on the same street in Cambridge, along with the artist who designed the cover of the book.
The 300-page book with color pictures is broken into sections on insects, arachnids, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, fish, plants and fungi. There are also special sections like “How to tell Spring is Right Around the Corner,” and “The ‘scoop’ on ‘poop.”
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“We started off with critters,” Pike said, “and then we ended up with issues like mimicry and melanism and albinism and winter and parasites and so forth.”
The book also includes activities for the family. The goal is to make the environment part of children’s education.
“Really, his goal is to make the environment part of children’s education,” she said, “and to appreciate the environment and to have a love of the environment.”
The books are available for $38.50 plus tax and $6 shipping by emailing either author at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The book is for sale at Battenkill Books in Cambridge and will be stocked at Northshire Bookstores in both Saratoga and Manchester, Vermont, in December.
They both want kids to turn off the television, their iPhones and iPads and get outside to enjoy some fun, free activities.
“Nature can offer a lot of things, and we also have an obligation to nature,” Pike said. “We need to preserve it and take care of it. Because we have generations to come following us, and if people realize how valuable it is and enjoy it, perhaps they’ll take better care of it.”