Nature's Book Nook For Kids:

Wonder of Nature Golden Book (For ages 3-7)
A timeless classic for small children, inspiring a child's awe and love for the natural world.

The Best Book of Bugs by Claire Lllewellyn (For ages 5-8)
Life cycles, habitats, and amazing diversity of insects and spiders. Eye-catching illustrations.

The Longest Day by Wendy Pfeffer and Linda Black (For grades 1-4)
Celebrates the traditions surrounding the longest day of the year, blending science and social studies. Open, bright spread appeals to younger kids.

For Adults:

Children and Nature: Making Connections by Richard Louv
Inspire adults in guiding young people to discovering the wonders in their own backyards, local parks, the wonder of nature everywhere.

Kids and Families
June/July 2015
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In
Elkhorn CreekButterfly Festival is Back! Saturday, July 25th, 2015, 1-5 p.m.

This fun and family-friendly afternoon is a big favorite for Audubon members and community friends and families. Butterfly tours are guided by Audubon leaders who take great enjoyment in seeking out, capturing, identifying and releasing the many butterflies found at Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve. They let everyone join in the fun of the hunt by providing butterfly nets and fun technique ideas for romping over the prairie and carefully catching these elusive winged friends.

From 1—5 p.m., you can join guided butterfly tours or look on your own for these winged beauties. Tours will begin at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m.

A special feature is a free copy of the “Illinois Butterflies and Moths” pocket guide for as long as they last. We’ll have a shady rest area with chairs as well as a restroom, cold beverages and snacks. If weather is a bit questionable, call the Blackmores at 815-938-3204 before 10:00 a.m. on July 25th.

Explorers at previous Butterfly Festivals have found 29 species of butterflies and skippers, among them Tiger Swallowtail, Meadow Fritillary, Buckeye, Comma, Peck’s Skippper, Silver Spotted Skipper and Milbert’s Tortoiseshell.

The preserve is located about 3 miles southwest of Forreston in the southeast corner of West Grove and Freeport Roads. The parking lot is off of West Grove Rd. Grab the kids, the sunscreen and sunhats, and head to Elkhorn Creek for a fun afternoon learning about nature in a beautiful environment!

Beginning Birder

Dolichonyx oryzivorus

Bobolink Have you ever seen a Bobolink? Some people give them the nickname “skunk blackbird.” The males look very distinct when they are breeding because they are the only bird wit a black front and a white back! They have two other nicknames, both food-related, in their migration and wintering grounds. They are called ‘butterbirds” in Jamaica and in South America, where they feast on fields of grain, they are called “ricebirds.”

Here are some fun facts:

  • They molt their feathers twice a year, which is unusual for a songbird. One molt occurs after breeding and before migration; the other molt occurs on the wintering grounds. Males change the way they look quite a bit. They go from the striking “skunkbird” black and white to more muted coloring that looks more like the female bird.
  • What do you think they call a group of Bobolinks? They are called a “Chain” of Bobolinks!
  • The Bobolink has been celebrated by several American poets.

Here is a verse from William Cullen Bryant’s Robert of Lincoln:

Robert of Lincoln’s Quaker wife,
Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
Passing at home a quiet life,
Broods in the grass while her husband sings:
Bob-o-link, bob-o-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Brood, kind creatures; you need not fear
Thieves and robbers while I am here.
Chee, chee, chee.

(Fun Bobolink Facts taken from

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Children, Nature and You Resources to help you give the children you influence the awe and wonder that only the natural world can inspire

Freeport Park District Information on all the Freeport parks

Freeport Public Library More than books on a shelf...visit the Freeport Public Library

Freeport Outdoor Experience Events located in Freeport and Stephenson County

Getting Kids Involved (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology) Includes bird information, tips, and more for kids and families

Jane Addams Recreation Trail Ride or Hike the beautiful Jane Addams Trail

Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots A program of the Jane Goodall Institute offering a variety of programs and resources

NASA Climate Kids to tell the story of our changing planet through the eyes of NASA missions studying Earth and provides games, activities, and articles that make climate science accessible and engaging for children

National Audubon for Kids provides resources for classroom curriculum, DIY activities, and bird activities for children at home

National Wildlife Federation Many family-friendly articles; Ranger Rick family magazine

Resource Guide Supplement to Last Child in the Woods Designed for parents, teachers, and community leaders to help them encourage children’s enjoyment of the great outdoors.

Severson Dells Nature Center Located near Rockford, IL.

Sierra Club Outdoors The program's goal is to give every child in America an outdoor experience.

World Migratory Bird Day Learn about the importance of migratory birds and how to celebrate birds any day of the year!

Family Activity

Start a Nature Journal

Get a small notebook that can easily be carried along on your nature adventures. Have one for each child.

Date each entry: Note whether it is sunny or cloudy, rainy or snowy: note the time and temperature. It is fun to go back later to an entry about a place you have been before; compare and contrast how it was then and how it is now.

Possible entries:

  1. Find a peaceful backyard spot and just sit, watch and listen. Have each child jot down (or do it for those who can't write quickly enough) what s/he sees, hears, smells. Have the child draw what s/he sees or any part of it or any object. Even a very young child can scribble a color.

  1. You and your child choose a flower or leaf, observe it closely, then draw it – without looking at it. Then look – did you forget anything? Do you see now details you didn't pay attention to the first time you looked?
  2. Now for a little more action – Catch some bugs! Get some inexpensive bug catchers or use simple plastic boxes with lids. Watch the bugs – describe them: draw or sketch one or more.

  1. When observing a bird, have each person just look – with or without binoculars, depending on the circumstance. Look first. The quietly compare notes – anything anyone noticed: size, beak shape and color, tail size and shape, wing bars, any behavior. By that time, the bird will probably be long gone – ”There it goes!” – try drawing what you saw; if you don't know the bird, try to identify; compare your drawing with a picture of the bird.

The quality of the drawing is not important. The value of sketching/drawing is that it greatly sharpens awareness. “Oh, I forgot to put that in” or “I didn't see that before!” are common responses.


and Events

Check out our full calendar of activities, events, and educational opportunities. You're sure to find something to interest you. Please join us!

Events include:

  • Monthly educational programs and issues discussions
  • Local bird walks
  • Field trips
  • Preserve work days

For more details, see the current newsletter.


Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023
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Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024
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