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:


There's a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake
by Loren Long

This book is based on a classic children's song and is fun to read with young baby and toddler and eventually have them read it to you. It has great illustrations that can start early education about aquatic animals. In addition, the extra humor of the side conversation of a turtle and snail alongside each verse is enjoyable.


The Salamander Room
by Anne Mazer

A child finds a salamander in the woods and wants to bring it home. It is fun to read the elaborate habitat the boy describes to recreate his bedroom. He wants to bring mosses, mushrooms, and trees to line the room, plus a lot of insects to feed his new salamander friend and birds to eat the excess insects. We know the habitat he imagines is something the salamander already has if left in the wild, so it is a good lesson for any child who wants to bring an animal home. It is a sweet book that shows the pure love a boy has for an animal.


Making a Splash (The Nature Club Book 4)
by Rachel Mazur

This is the fourth book of the Nature Club Series, which is an excellent and educational series for older children to keep up their love of nature and learning. This particular edition describes how a middle-school boy has broken his arm and feels like he is missing out, but then finds a Pacific chorus frog who is also suffering from a hurt arm. The Nature Club soon finds that the habitat is being polluted by nearby industrial buildings and home. This book is an excellent reminder that human choices can harm wildlife and can educate children on ways to protect wildlife.

For Adults:

Superman's Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It
by Erin Brockovich

Environmental activist and advocate Erin Brockovich continues her quest to expose unsafe practices and ensure that people can live in environmentally healthy communities. She uses her powerful voice to discuss our national water crisis and gives us the information that we need to become activists to keep our water clean. She shares true stories of people around the country fighting for clean water. All of us need to know who to communicate with our legislators and know how to ensure that we have the important laws and regulations to keep humans, wildlife, and our planet safe.

Kids and Families
August - September 2021
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

August and September events throughout Freeport!

Saturday, August 21 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Road
Freeport, IL 61032
Leader Adam Moderow will discuss and demonstrate different strategies for getting safe water and describe how our animal friends obtain water for survival as well. We recommend wearing waterproof shoes or bringing an extra pair! Meet by the Mogle building, just off of the parking lot.


A Walking Sense Journal
Saturday, September 18 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Road
Freeport, IL 61032
Leader Adam Moderow will lead a guided journaling exercise through Oakdale to focus on how nature appeals to our different senses. Feel free to bring your own notebook and writing utensil. We should be done before dark but you may want to have a flashlight. Meet in the shelter/parking area of the Newell Tract (the part of Oakdale on the west sideof Crane's Grove Rd.)

A Walking Sense Journal

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

Beginning Birder

American White Pelican
(Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

American White Pelican The American White Pelican is a large, majestic bird that is always a thrill to see when they soar overhead. It is primarily white, but in flight, you can see black secondary wing feathers. They are one of the largest birds found in North America and are typically found near water, such as lakes, rivers, and coastlines. The pelicans that you can find in Northwest Illinois often migrate along the Mississippi River to their breeding and nesting grounds every year.

They use their large bill to scoop up water and food, which consist primarily of small fish but can also include amphibians and crayfish. Contrary to cartoons and comics, they do not store food in their bills. Pelicans often use cooperative feeding behavior to catch their prey. A group of pelicans form a circle on the water to trap fish within or to move fish to shallower waters, so they can scoop up the fish in their bills. You can also find pelicans near lock and dams where fish tend to be trapped or disoriented by the machinery.

It is often surprising for some to hear pelicans can be found in Northwest Illinois as they often associate pelicans to be found near the ocean, such as the Brown Pelican. Brown Pelicans are smaller and only found along the southern coasts of the U.S. To find pelicans in our area, travel near water and look up in the sky often during the late spring and summer. They can be seen flying over your playground or home as they travel to their next spot.


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


Summertime is a great time to explore aquatic ecosystems! On hot days, what better way is there than to cool off from the hot sun by playing in water. Go with a parent or other adult to a pond or creek and learn how to play safely near water. Bring a bucket, fish net or sandbox sifter, and large white bowls or plates when you go. If you have a magnifying lens, bring that too!

Wade into the water carefully, scoop out some water with the mud from the bottom (that will get you some fun creatures) and dump it into your white containers. The white background will allow you to see specimens better. Look for water bugs, larvae of dragonflies, damselflies, and mayflies, snails, mussels, crayfish and much more! Don't forget to put them back into their home in the water when you are done!

For younger children - learn about the properties of water by using a big bowl of water and placing objects into it. For example, discuss how objects float and sink by placing rocks, flowers, leaves, and other things in nature.

Reading outside


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, Sep. 25, 2021
Stewardship: Prairie Seed Collecting @ Elkhorn Creek Biodiverisity Preserve... >

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021
Program: Photo Tour of Isle Royale National Park... >

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021
Event: New Moon Campfire at Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve... >

Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, to Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021
Annual Bird Seed Sale Alert!... >

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