Nature's Book Nook For Kids:

For preschool — grade 2::

Apples for Everyone
Jill Esbaum

National Geographic photography of apples from buds to overflowing baskets of apples. Text with sensory detail — “Bite the apple—crunch!”

For kindergarten — lower elementary:

A Tree for All Seasons
Robin Bernard

National Geographic photography with vibrant pictures. Eye-catching large format for the very young.

For ages 5—9:
The following two have been reviewed before but are so good they deserve an encore.

Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Betty Maestro,
illus. Loretta Krupinski

Simple but complete and clear explanation, with more developed sections for older kids. Vibrant pictures.

A Log's Life
Wendy Pfeffer
illus. Robin Brickman

What good is a rotting log? It's a treasure for many living things — and a home for many, especially in winter. Read and then follow with a walk to find a log — just be sure to put it back in place.

For Adults:

Autumn Across America
Edwin Way Teale

Part of the American Seasons series, an enduring classic with passages of lyrical beauty and the best of scientific information gleaned from Teale's account of Edwin and Nellie Teale's 20,000 mile journey through autumn in America.

Kids and Families
October/November 2015
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

Wildlife Wednesdays

At the Freeport Public Library, Audubon board member and Education chair, Juliet D’Souza is hosting a monthly series called Wildlife Wednesdays. During the program she will provide a special story time with activities related to the theme that month. She will also bring specimens of critters. Appropriate audience is two– to seven-year olds.

A Night of Exploring the Milky Way

On Saturday, October 10, 6 - 8:00 p.m., we will host this evening event at the Doug Firebaugh Observatory, Park Hills Gold Course, 2892 W. Stephenson St. This event is open to all ages. In case of inclement weather, the event will still be held, but with a modified program in the observatory. Come gaze at the stars with us!

Kid’s Fall Nature Walk at Oakdale Nature Preserve

On Saturday, October 17, 9 - 10:30 a.m., this popular hike around Oakdale focuses on looking for birds and other fall creatures. We will have binoculars for the kids to use and nets/jars to collect any critters we can find. Meet in the parking area of the Newell Tract, the part of Oakdale on the west side of Crane’s Grove Road. Group leaders are Juliet (201-233-0946) and Carol Redmore.

Kid’s Fall Nature Walk at Oakdale Nature Preserve

Stay tuned for the Dec./Jan. edition of the NWIL Audubon newsletter for holiday gift ideas!

Beginning Birder

Tundra Swan
Cygnus columbianus

Tundra Swan This snowy white tundra swan breeds in the Arctic and migrates many miles to winter on North America’s Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, bays, and lakes. These animals fly some 3,725 miles round-trip between their distant habitats, and make the journey twice each year.

Cool Facts

  • Tundra swans are often confused with trumpeter swans, and indeed the two species are very similar in appearance. They are most easily distinguished by their calls.
  • Tundra swans winter on the water and sleep afloat. They are strong and speedy swimmers that take to the air with a running start, clattering across the water’s surface with wings beating. In flight, the rhythmic flapping of the swan’s wings produces a tone that once earned it the name “whistling swan.”
  • These large birds feed by dipping their heads underwater to pluck aquatic plants, tubers, and roots. They also eat shellfish and are developing an increasing taste for grains and corn found in farmland areas. The bird’s tundra nests are large stick dwellings lined with moss and grasses. Ideally, they are situated close to a pond or other water source.
  • Tundra swans are nasty when aroused, and the birds may even be able to fend off predators like foxes and jaegers. (Why not look up the term ‘jaeger’ and learn more about this predator?)
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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

Autumn Activities

Begin with a scavenger hunt and/or photography hunt for the signs of autumn. You can have a checklist — or actually collect the objects as long as they are common objects like colored leaves and nuts (but no flowers/plants from nature preserves or state parks).

With photography you might emphasize the array of colors, print the pictures and make a collage of the color variations.

You can also photograph signs that show evidence of animal homes, including scat. Perhaps you can capture a picture of a squirrel with nuts, with great luck perhaps migratory birds passing through, along with pictures of year-round bird residents.

Do an autumn texture collage. On a walk feel the textures and notice the colors of the signs of autumn you can collect — the leaves, the acorns or other nuts, berries, tree bark, a sprig from an evergreen for contrast. Arrange on construction paper in a collage; glue or tape — and you can cover with clear Contact color. The nuts and bark may make it all a big knobbly and the berries may squirt a bit, but that makes it all the more exciting!


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.


Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2023
40th Annual NIAS Banquet: Feathers to Fur... >

Saturday, Apr. 1, 2023
4-H Wee Naturalists- April Showers... >

Saturday, May. 6, 2023
4-H Wee Naturalists- Insects... >