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:

Winter Dance
Marion Dane Bauer,
Richard Jones, illus.

A gentle tale of the coming of winter in the forest.

For ages 3 to 7:

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder
Mark Cassino

For ages 4 to 8:

Over and Under the Snow
Kate Messner

“Follow the tracks,” Dad says, and in so doing, Dad and Daughter find a “whole secret kingdom where the small forest animals stay safe and warm.”

For ages 8 and up:

The Secret Life of a Snowflake
Kenneth Libbrecht

Written by a scientist who has extensively studied snowflakes.

For Adults:

A Year in the Wilderness: Bearing Witness in the Boundary Waters
Dave and Amy Freeman

The Driftless Reader
Curt Meine and Keefe Keeley, eds.

Readings and illustrations from the region’s Native people, explorers, scientists, farmers, journalists, poets and artists, including Black Hawk, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frank Lloyd Wright, Aldo Leopold and David Rhodes.

Kids and Families
December 2017/January 2018
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

Audubon in the Library

Wildlife Wednesdays, 10:30 — 11:00 a.m. at the Freeport Library, 100 E. Douglas

Appropriate audience is two– to seven-year-olds

Ms. Juliet hosts a monthly series called Wildlife Wednesdays at the Freeport Public Library. Each month has a different theme related to nature and wildlife. She will read various books related to the theme and then show the children specimens that they can touch. There are also activities that can be done at home to continue the learning!

Wintering Birds

Christmas Bird Count

It’s time again for the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society to participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count. You might want to be part of this count with a family member by being a feeder counter. You need to be sure your bird feeder is within the official count circle, a 15-mile diameter circle with Read Park in Freeport as the center. On the count day, Saturday, December 16th, simply watch your feeder for four hours and record the largest number of each species present at any one moment. For more information, check out our newsletter on this website or when it arrives in your mailbox. You can become a citizen scientist!

Christmas Bird Count

Beginning Birder

Blue Jay
Cyanocitta cristata

Blue Jay The Blue Jay is a common large songbird that has a perky crest on top of the head. It is seen year-round in the Midwest and is often seen at feeders, although it prefers tray feeders rather than hanging feeders. If you join the Christmas bird feeder count, you might even see one or more of these beautiful blue birds. It has blue, white and black plumage and very noisy calls!

Fun Facts

  • The Blue Jay is very fond of acorns and because of this, many people think it has helped to spread the growth of oak trees!
  • The Blue Jay has a long tail and a white underside.
  • The diet of the Blue Jay is mostly insects and nuts. If you feed birds, offer nuts, sunflower seeds and suet to attract the Blue Jay.
  • The crest on the head of the Blue Jay is almost always up when the bird squawks or is upset and showing aggression.

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/Stephenson County Convention and Visitors Bureau Events located in Stephenson County, IL

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

The Great Backyard Bird Count for Kids Sponsored by the Audubon Society and other partners

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

National Audubon website Use “Get Outside” and “Family Time” prompts

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

Paddle the Pecatonica River Water Trail Enjoy Illinois’ “Friendliest Paddle” on the Pecatonica River

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.

Family Activity

Winter Stroll

Take a winter walk around the yard, around the neighborhood, at a park or nature preserve.

Make a list of wintering birds, berries, tracks, tunnels – and be sure to look under logs to see what is sheltering there. (Replace log.)

For very young children: hide stuffed animals in the yard and go on a safari to hunt for them; along the way, note real animals, birds, and signs of winter.

Afterwards, go in and have hot chocolate and talk about what you saw. Talk about birds like the chickadee and cardinal who stick around all winter; perhaps you can cut out pictures of some of these and paste onto construction paper to make a little book.


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.


Saturday, Apr. 17, 2021
Annual Crane Count... >

Thursday, Apr. 22, 2021
Bird Walk: N. Jane Addams Trail and Orangeville Wetlands... >

Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2021
Bird Walk: Newell Tract, Oakdale Nature Preserve... >

Tuesday, May. 4, 2021
Zoom Program: Forest Park Owls: Hiding in Plain Sight... >