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:


The Mitten
Jan Brett

This classic story starts with Nicki losing his mitten on a wintry walk. He doesn’t notice it missing at first, but the other creatures in the forest do. As Nicki wanders the borders of the pages, the other animals slowly try the mitten on from a small mole and a rabbit, to a big brown bear. The mitten gets larger and larger until the tiny mouse at the end. This is a beautifully illustrated and pleasantly playful book that belongs on every winter shelf.


Leo Lionni

Winter is coming and all of the mice are gathering food and making preparations except for Fredrick. Fredrick is lying in the sun, eating food instead of storing it, and generally ignoring his responsibilities before winter comes. When winter does settle in, though, the rest of the field mice realize that Fredrick was preparing for winter, but in a different way. In the long, cold nights of winter, food and shelter are important, but it’s important to share warm stories as well.


Kenneth Oppel

Shade is a young Silverwing bat, the runt of his colony, who is determined to prove himself on the long, dangerous winter migration. He gets lost during a storm and must complete the journey on his own to see his family again. Along the way, Shade meets Marina, a Brightwing bat with a strange metal band on her leg; Zephyr, a mystical albino bat with an unusual gift; and Goth, a gigantic carnivorous vampire bat. Some of these newcomers are friends; others are more treacherous than they appear. It is a wild adventure through the eyes of a bat as Shade searches for his lost family.

For Adults:

Toxic Communities
Dorceta Taylor

This book analyzes the long history of segregation along race and socioeconomic class lines and how that ties in with exposure to environmental hazards. One of the most difficult parts of the environmental justice conversation is that the people in power don’t live directly in the path of the effects. Toxic Communities traces why that is and how meticulously zoning laws and government regulations have fought climate change, but only for some.

Kids and Families
December 2019/January 2020
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

Join the Christmas Bird Count!

On Saturday, December 14, 2019, the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society will participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count! People will travel all over Freeport, but we also need people to help with the “Feeder Counts” portion.

On that day, watch your bird feeder anytime throughout the day for at least four hours (you don’t need to be glued to the window!) and keep track of the total number of each species you see that day. Make sure you record the time that you saw the bird and the total of that particular species.

For full instructions or if you have questions, contact Richard Benning at 815-865-5279.

Help out with the Christmas Bird Count!

Beginning Birder

Canada Goose
Branta canadensis

Canada GooseTake a walk to the closest park near you or body of water. What types of birds do you see? You are most likely to see a lot of geese! You probably hear their honking too!

Canada Geese are one of the largest geese that belongs to Family Anatidae, which include ducks, geese, and waterfowl. When they fly, they fill the sky with long V formations, with the more experienced geese in the front. The V formation improves aerodynamics and saves energy for most of the flock as they take turns as the lead.

As human populations are growing and creating more development such as homes that include front lawns and town parks, the Canada Goose population tends to increase as well. They tend to accumulate on lawns because they can digest grass and can see predators easily as well. They are staying year-round in these suburban and urban areas. They can also be found in harvested corn fields foraging for food.

Canada Geese can be aggressive. It is best not to approach them, especially during breeding times.

Fun Facts*

  • Canada Geese mate for life. Both male and female guard the nest.
  • The oldest known wild Canada Goose was a female, at least 33 years old.
  • There are 11 subspecies of Canada Geese. As you move northward, the geese get smaller in size. They also get darker as you move westward.

* Thanks to

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!

Family Activity

Fun in the Snow

A fun activity you can do with your family and friends as it starts to snow is to go sledding! Bundle up with all your buddies, grab a sled, and find the biggest snowy hill outside to sled down!

As we go into winter and get closer to Christmas, a fun project you can do with your family and friends is to make reindeer food! You’ll need a bowl, something to store your food in, oats, bird seed, and peanuts. Mix two cups of oats, one cup of bird seed, and one cup of peanuts in your bowl. Save your reindeer food until Christmas eve, then sprinkle it in the yard for when Santa and the reindeer come, so the reindeer will have a snack, too!


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... >

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