Nature's Book Nook

Many of these books can be found on PrairieCat; many are available for as little as 1 cent or 99 cents from booksellers on Amazon (with $3.99 for postage and handling).

For Kids:

For pre-school to grade 2:

Outside Your Window:
A First Book of Nature

Nicola Davies

Observations, reflections, suggestions to help children enjoy nature. Sprinkled with facts and fun things to do.

And Then It’s Spring
Julia Fogliana/Erin E. Stead (illus.)

Hopefulness and anticipation as the first seeds are planted in the dark soil of winter. Then there is waiting-checking-waiting- imagining all that could have gone wrong—and then the seeds sprout.

For older children, grades 4 to 7 – and even for adults:

Sara Pennypacker

A novel about the powerful relationship of a boy and his red fox.

For Adults:

The Forest Unseen
David Haskell, professor of biology and environmental studies, University of the South; a Guggenheim fellow

From the Kirkus Review: “An extraordinary, intimate view of life. Exceptional observations of the natural world.”

Get Linked In

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!

Kids and Families
April/May 2017
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In


Wildlife Wednesdays, 10:30 — 11:00 a.m. at the Freeport Library

Appropriate audience is two– to seven-year-olds

An Audubon member hosts this monthly series at the Freeport Public Library. Baby Animal Survival During the program, there is a special story time followed by an activity related to a theme.

Earth Month Children’s Cleanup

April 14, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Meet at the Freeport Public Library, 100 E. Douglas Street, Freeport

Earth Month Children’s Cleanup

Juliet and Anna from the library will lead a children’s cleanup. We will start at the library and walk around the downtown area to safely pick up trash. The goal is to teach children about not littering and to set examples for others.

Environmental Film Series – Month of April

Environmental Film Series

April 13, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Freeport Public Library

Born to Be Wild (Rated G)

A short nature documentary that examines the lives of orphaned orangutans and elephants affected by poaching and habitat encroachment and follows the efforts of individuals who work to rescue, rehabilitate and return the animals to the wild. 40 minutes (2011).

April 20, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Freeport Public Library

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

An animated film that occurs far in the future after an apocalyptic conflict has devastated much of the world’s ecosystem. 1 hour and 58 minutes (1984).

April 27, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Freeport Public Library

Before the Flood (Unrated)

A documentary presented by National Geographic featuring Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Topic: Climate Change. 1 hour and 36 minutes (2016).

Be the Change – Third Annual Super Cleanup

Be the Change – Third Annual Super Cleanup

Saturday, April 29

The kickoff will be at the west end of Read Park at 10:00 a.m.

For more information, contact, 815-990-2376, or visit

Audubon Earth Day Event

Audubon Earth Day Event

April 22, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., Krape Park

Event is FREE and open to the public – rain or shine. See the huge variety of activities listed in our April/May newsletter (page 5). Many participating organizations will be helping to make this an exciting day for children and families.

NIAS Monthly Meeting

NIAS Monthly Meeting

May 2, 6:00 p.m. Potluck (bring a dish to pass and your own table service)
Meeting and Program 7:00 p.m., St. John United Church of Christ, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport

“Experience with Falconry” – Hannah Badgett

This program will be a good time to hear more about falcons, which is the bird species highlighted on our Beginning Birder this month!

Beginning Birder

American Kestrel
Flaco sparverius

American Kestrel This little bird is America’s littlest falcon. Even though it has a small body, it is a fierce hunter. It is also one of the most colorful of all raptors. The male has slate-blue head and wings, which show up nicely against his rusty-red back and tail. The female has the same reddish color on her wings, back and tail. You might have spotted one of these little falcons on telephone wires or poles, or even hovering facing into the wind.

Cool Facts*

  • Sometimes at night games like baseball or soccer, kestrels will perch on the big lights watching for moths and insects and catching these snacks on the wing.
  • It can also be tough to be one of the smallest falcons. They can end up as prey for larger birds such as Red-tailed Hawks, Barn Owls, and American Crows.
  • Unlike humans, birds can see ultraviolet light. This helps the kestrel to make out the trails of urine that voles leave as they run along the ground. Like neon diner signs, these bright paths may highlight the way to a meal.
  • Kestrels have been known to hide extra food in grass clumps, bushes and tree limbs to save it for times when they need food or to hide it from other animals that might steal it.
  • You can spot these birds in towns and cities, especially parks, and also around farm fields.
  • Common foods include grasshoppers, beetles, dragonflies, spiders, butterflies, moths, moles, shrews, bats and even small birds.
  • They often nest in old woodpecker holes, natural tree hollows, rock crevices and nooks in buildings.

* Information adapted from Cornell Lab of Ornithology site All About Birds.

Family Activity

Be a Spring Explorer

As you go on a spring walk in your yard, around your neighborhood, at a park, or anywhere, list the colors you see, the smells, the sounds (an adult can jot these down on a phone or small notebook).

Back home, make a chart that lists these.

For older children: identify as well as you can what it is you see, smell and hear, and chart that at home.

Look at the trees and point out buds: ask if they will become blossoms or leaves.

Spring Blooms

Have each person, big and little, sit next to a flower: you can take along sit-upons in a backpack.

Observe very closely: How many petals? What color(s)? Shape of leaves? Are they even on the stem or staggered?

After looking carefully, close your eyes and picture the plant. Open your eyes – did you remember everything?

Now, looking away from the flower, draw it – colored pencils, paper, and cardboard backing can also be taken along by an adult in a backpack.

Look at what you have drawn – did you forget anything? Did you remember just how it was?

It doesn’t matter how “primitive” the drawing is – it’s just a matter of sketching what each person can remember.


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
Program: Hidden Prairie: Photographing Life in One Square Meter... >

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023
Christmas Bird Count... >

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023
Beginning Birder Club- Bird Movement - REGISTRATION CLOSED - Contact for waitlist... >

Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024
Program: Birds and Beauty in Arizona... >