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 Three Snow Bears
by Jan Brett

This board book is a retelling of the classic "Goldilocks" story but told in the viewpoint of a young Inuit girl named Aloo-ki who explores the igloo home of Papa, Mama, and Baby polar bear. This book has beautiful artwork and is a great opportunity to learn about traditional clothing and imagery.


The Wolf-Birds
by Willow Dawson

This book demonstrates the real mutualistic relationship that occurs between ravens and wolves. The reader will be introduced to concepts of predator and prey relationships and survival in the wild. The most interesting part is how wolves have evolved to listen to ravens where there is easy prey, but the ravens benefit by scavenging on the leftovers of the wolf hunt. The artwork is beautiful and the story is simple, allowing for an easy transition into tough concepts of life and death.


Ultimate Predatorpedia: The Most Complete Predator Reference Ever (National Geographic Kids)
by Christina Wilsdon

This National Geographic Kids book is full of information and photographs to teach kids about predators. This book contains over 270 pages about mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. It covers the smallest mites and spiders to the large extinct Tyrannosaurus Rex! It covers predators from every habitat on earth, providing a lot of fun facts for the curious reader.

For Adults:

Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
by Bernd Heinrich

If anyone is curious about the intelligent Corvid family of birds (crows, ravens, and jays), this book is a good one for you. The author became a "raven father" for this book, conducting daily observations of ravens in their natural habitat in multiple locations. Ultimately, the reader will learn about animal behavior, including the relationships of ravens with other organisms, such as wolves.

Kids and Families
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

January events throughout Freeport!

Field Trip: Tracks, Trails, Signs, and Scats
Thursday, January 20, 2022
10a.m. to 12p.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Richard Benning, 815-865-5279
Join us for a walk to look for tales left in the snow, mud, leaves, or whatever medium is present at the time. Dress appropriately for outdoor weather, especially with waterproof, insulated footwear. Call to pre-register. Meet at the parking lot by the Mogle Center.

Tracks, Trails, Signs, and Scats

Field Trip/Demonstration: To Build a Fire
Saturday, January 22, 2022
10 – 11 a.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Adam Moderow
Learn the strategies for building a fire in the winter and how to manage it properly to keep you and the nature around you safe. We will spend time learning the important survival tips of building a fire and enjoy a nice winter morning at Oakdale. Dress appropriately for outdoor weather. To register, contact Adam at 815-541-5842 or by email at Meet at the parking lot by the Mogle Center.

To Build a Fire

To register for either of these events, contact Adam at 815-541-5842 or by email at We anticipate not needing masks but please have one with you should guidelines change.

Beginning Birder

Snowy Owl
(Bubo scandiacus)

Snowy Owl Snowy Owls are large, white owls with yellow eyes. The male owls tend to be pure white with a few dark spots while the females or immatures have darker bars along the body. These owls are normally found in the high arctic tundra and have thick feathers to survive the very cold temperatures. They are North America's heaviest owl, weighing four pounds! Contrary to most owls, Snowy Owls are diurnal and hunt for prey during daylight (in the arctic, daylight exceeds 20 hours!). Their common prey includes lemmings, voles, and other rodents but can also be observed to hunt squirrels and other birds including ducks and geese.

Snowy Owls are observed to sit, a lot! They remain mostly motionless, but swivel their heads to see their surroundings and hear any prey. They have extraordinary vision and like other owls, extraordinary hearing, and can hear prey scurrying beneath the snow.

Although Snowy Owls are not normally found in our area, it is possible for you to spot a migrating owl in our area in the winter. During "irruptions," when there is a boom of the prey of the owls, the Snowy Owls migrate further south out of their normal range and can be found in our area, especially in open agriculture fields. If you ever get the opportunity, you will not forget it!


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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


Winter is a great time to bundle up, take a hike, and use your senses. Go out with your family and explore together.

Listen to the crunch of the snow and ice under your feet.

Listen for birds and mammals around you in the snow.

Hear the trickling of water that is not frozen or the drips of melting snow and ice.

Feel the cold air against your face.

Stand under a grove of evergreen trees and feel the snow fall off of the branches onto your face.

Open your mouth and taste some of the snowflakes that might be falling from above you.

Feel the mist of snowflakes blowing against your face.

Look for animals that may be more obvious against the white snow.

Search for animals that are camouflaged with the white snow.

Look for animal tracks and scat in the snow or mud and identify them.

Touch a tree trunk. Feel the leaves of an evergreen tree.

Smell the leaves of an evergreen plant.

Lay down in the snow. Look at the blue or gray sky above you. Close your eyes and listen. Feel the cold snow underneath you.

Find the colors of the rainbow around you. Do you see red? Maybe there are some red berries that provide food for wildlife (do not eat these; they may not be safe for human consumption). Do you see yellow? Perhaps an animal urinated in the snow. Do you see any green? Look for evergreen trees and plants? What other colors do you see?

Smell the air. Can you smell a fire from a campfire or fireplace nearby?

Enjoy the beauty of the winter around you.


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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