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Barnum Wood's 'Walk in the Woods' goes virtual


Every year, on Flag Day, the students of Barnum Woods Elementary School have sported red, white and blue as they waved flags and walked a mile through the community for Walk in the Woods.

The school’s annual health walk continued this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic. From June 1 through 5, students and staff members participated in the first virtual Walk in the Woods by walking at their own time and pace and recording their progress — while practicing social distancing and wearing a mask.

Some walked around the neighborhood, while others took to their favorite hiking spots across Long Island.

Fifth-grade teacher Gene Vassel and nurse Daryle Abeshouse started the walk in 2013 and the Barnum Woods Planning Management Team has hosted it each year.

Melody Schiller, the PMT president, said that the first virtual event was “a resounding success.”

“People got a chance to remember that, especially during these unprecedented times of great stress, we can hopefully still get outside and enjoy exercise, walking and our beautiful local environment,” she said.

Abeshouse brought the idea of holding the walk virtually to the PMT, which was committed to continuing the event as a way to promote health and exercise.

Teachers posted the flyer on their Google Classroom pages. Students, parents and community members then posted their goals, pictures and signs across social media.

The PMT and Parent Teacher Association also continued the tradition of the Barnum Woods Field of Flags, created by the Skoros family last year, to provide comfort for walkers and passerby at the school.

“With the support of our Principal Gregory Bottari, Assistant Principal Harriet Alfano, Central Administration, the School Board,Teachers, Staff and Parents working together we were able to emphasize that a simple neighborhood walk is a wonderful thing,” Schiller said.