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).


Ruby’s Birds
by Mya Thompson

This book shares a story about Ruby who lives in New York City. She is a typical active, rambunctious child, but when her grown-up friend teaches her about bird-watching in Central Park, she soon learns about the importance of being quiet in nature. The book has hidden birds on every page. This book is one that the young child can grow into when learning to read, first starting off with pictures but eventually reading and enjoying the story themselves. Finally, this book shares information about where to find birds in real life, tips for nature outings, and connecting with Celebrate Urban Birds with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


Bird Boy
by Matthew Burgess

This inclusive book shares a heartwarming story about a new boy at school who felt the safest in nature. He follows his true love of the outdoors, which of course includes birds. As he sat in the grass, birds began to visit him and he soon became known as “Bird Boy.” Taking that nickname to be a compliment, he imagines himself as different birds and develops confidence. Other kids recognized his kindness as well. The subtitle “Be true to who you are” is shown throughout this book and encourages kids to be confident in who they want to be.


A Youth’s Look at Black and Brown Faces in American’s Wild Places
by Dudley Edmonson

This book is included with the full book recommended below for Adults. Dudley Edmonson hopes to present a set of outdoor role models to young African Americans and regard nature as a safe place for them to explore. He hopes to inspire youth to learn about the environment, share their new knowledge with others, and perhaps go into careers in the outdoors.


Black and Brown Faces in American’s Wild Places
by Dudley Edmonson

Dudley Edmonson is a photographer, author, filmmaker, and presenter. He wrote this first-of-its-kind book to highlight the involvement of African Americans in the public lands system. He interviewed 20 other African Americans and showcase their connections and contributions to the natural world. People of color often face adversity when out in nature and this book hopes to inspire other people of color to enter the field of environmental conservation and carry it further for future generations.

Kids and Families
February-March 2023
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

February & March events throughout Freeport and surrounding areas!

Winter Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, February 18
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Oakdale Nature Preserve
4433 S. Cranes Grove Road, Freeport, IL

Meet by the Mogle building, just off of the parking lot. We will have a winter-focused scavenger hunt through Oakdale to take note of the winter aspects of our environment. Dress appropriately for weather.

Springtime Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, March 18
10:00 – 11:00 am
Oakdale Nature Preserve
4433 S. Cranes Grove Road, Freeport, IL

Meet by the Mogle building, just off of the parking lot. We will have a spring-focused scavenger hunt through Oakdale. At this time, we expect to see plants and notice more activity from animals. We will discover what spring changes are taking place. Dress appropriately for weather.

The coordinator for both of these events is Adam Moderow. Please call 815-541-5842 or email register in case of cancellation.

Beginning Birder

Pied-billed Grebes
(Podilymbus podiceps)


Pied-billed Grebes are a type of aquatic diving bird. Although they look like ducks, coots, or loons, they are most closely related to flamingos. Often described as “part bird, part submarine,” they are known for their amazing diving skills. The genus in their scientific name, Podilymbus, means “feet at the buttocks” because their feet are close to their backside to help them propel through the water. They have lobed feet instead of webbed feet like ducks. They sure do move fast! Grebes have dense and waterproof feathers that they can adjust to change their buoyancy in the water. This allows them submerge most of their body underwater.

Pied-billed Grebes are small and chunky with a compact body and blocky head. They have a short, thick yellow-brown bill during nonbreeding season, but during the breeding season, the bill is white with a vertical black band, giving the descriptor “pied” to their name.

Pied-billed Grebes eat mostly crustaceans and small fish, but will also eat crabs, shrimps, snails, mussels, and aquatic insects and/or their larvae. A unique behavior with grebes is that they eat their own feathers and feed them to their young; the feathers act as sieves the prevent parts of their prey from passing too far into their digestive tract. Like birds of prey, they will regurgitate a pellet.

Look for these birds in freshwater areas but look fast – they dive down and swim away quickly!

* 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

February-March 2023

Family Activity

February or March can seem dreary, so looking for the gift of colors can help!

Go on an adventure with others. Bring a notebook and colored pencils or markers. Look for all different shades of color as you explore and take note of them in your notebook.

Look for BLACK – Such as the black feathers of an American Crow or the black scat of a mammal.

Look for BROWN, such as mud emerging from the melting snow, the tree trunk, or the Brown Creeper eating insects on the tree trunk!

Look for RED – The red coloring found in the Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpeckers, or male Downy Woodpeckers.

Look for ORANGE – Sometimes fungi are orange or maybe you’ll spot a Baltimore Oriole.

Look for YELLOW – Like in the American Goldfinch or the rays of the warming sun that is now out longer!

Look for GREEN – The needle like leaves of evergreen trees or some mosses emerging from under the melting snow.

Look for BLUE – Blue Jays and American Bluebirds are common and easier to see against some snowy WHITE backdrops.

What other colors can you find? The world really is a colorful place!


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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