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:


Nature Stories: Little Acorn
by Igloo Books

Follow the life of a little acorn as it becomes a big oak tree. The cute illustrations and sweet rhymes will delight the child and adult. It is a great book to introduce the young child to simple concepts of nature.


Leaf Man
by Lois Ehlert

This delightful book will stimulate the imagination of young children. As the reader follows the story of leaf man, they will see that the leaves embark on a journey through many different landscapes and animals. The reader will enjoy trying to figure out what the leaf characters are and where the leaves end up next. It will also likely inspire the child to create some leaf art for themselves.


Trees, Leaves, Flowers and Seeds: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Plant Kingdom
by DK Smithsonian Institution

This extensive book is full of images and facts to educate the young adult about the amazing world of plants. It is great for home-school learning or for anyone curious about the plant world. The book provides accurate scientific evidence about fossil records of plants, their evolution, and how plants are related to each other. This will be a great resource for any budding nature lover.


Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest
by Suzanne Simard

The author is a professor of Forest Ecology in the University of British Columbia and uses her extensive knowledge and experience to provide personal but factual information. This book will captivate the reader into the world of trees and their roles in the larger ecosystem. It will likely cause the reader to look beyond the forest for its trees, but looking at the bigger picture of how they interact with many other organisms around them, including humans.

Kids and Families
October/November 2022
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October and November events throughout Freeport and surrounding areas!

Oaktober at Oakdale
Saturday, October 8
9:00 – 10:00 am
Oakdale Nature Preserve
4433 S. Cranes Grove Road, Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Adam Moderow

We love oak trees and we love October, so let’s celebrate Oaktober! We will take a hike and learn how to identify oak trees, learn about how they have adapted to and shaped our environment and discuss their role as a host species. Remember to dress for the shifting temperature of October. Meet by the Mogle building, just off of the parking lot.

Use the information below to register for this event.

A Walking Sense Journal
Saturday, November 12
4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve
4433 S. Cranes Grove Road, Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Adam Moderow

We will do a guided journaling exercise using our different senses and focus on how our individual senses interpret the natural world around us. Getting out into nature as it shifts and quiets in preparation for winter can be a wonderful tool for reflection as we do the same. Feel free to bring your own notebook and writing utensil. Remember to dress warmly. Meet in the shelter/parking area of the Newell Tract (the part of Oakdale on the west side of Crane’s Grove Rd.)

To register for either of these events, contact Adam Moderow at or at 815-541-5842.

Beginning Birder

Red-bellied Woodpecker
(Melanerpes carolinus)

WoodpeckerRed-bellied Woodpeckers are year-round residents of Eastern United States and a favorite among many backyard birdwatchers. They are frequent visitors of bird feeders, especially if the feeders provide suet, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are among the larger woodpeckers in Illinois. The male and female woodpecker are similar, but the male will have a full patch of red from the top beak to the nape of the head, while the female lacks the red on her crown. These birds have a distinct “kwirr” or “churr” sound that is fun to hear. Although their name states otherwise, the red belly is not very obvious to see, especially when moving or high in trees, so you’ll likely identify them by their sound and when closer in view.

Like most woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers are primarily insect eaters. They tap the wood to hear where the insect might be and then peck the wood to extract them with their sticky tongues. They also consume plant materials, such as acorns, nuts, pine codes, and seeds from plants.

To attract these woodpeckers to your area, keep dead trees in your yard if you can. These woodpeckers are cavity-nesters, so dead trees can provide this precious habitat. Be prepared for competition with nonnative species such as European Starlings though. You should also plant native plants and provide suet and seeds in your feeders.

* Thanks to

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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

October/November 2022

Family Activity

Learn about leaves!

You will likely be surrounded by leaves at this time, so why not learn about leaves while doing some art.

First, go on a hike where there are different tree species and collect as many different leaves as you can. What colors leaves do you find? Why are the leaves no longer green? Compare the leaves to each other. Do they have pointy edges or round edges? Are they smooth or serrated? Smell the difference between old leaves and new leaves. Crumble some of the leaves. Do they have different textures? If you have a tree identification guide, see if you can identify what species these leaves belong to.

Now do some leaf art! Create birds or other animals using the different leaves you have in front of you. Many leaves resemble the wings or tails of a bird. You can even glue them onto paper and share your leaf art with others.


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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