The 17th annual Snow Goose Chase, organized by the Edmonton Nature Club and the town of Tofield, Alberta, is Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24, 2016, in the Tofield/Beaverhill Lake area, east of Edmonton.
Part of the Snow Goose Chase is the Young Naturalists’ Corner, with information for kids and their families. Are you interested in nature, want to explore the great outdoors, and learn more about the environment? Do you want to meet other kids who like nature, animals, rocks, and planets? Come visit us at the Young Naturalists’ Corner at the Snow Goose Chase on Saturday, April 23!
This is the banner for the Young Naturalists’ Corner,
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It’s important to remember that you don’t need a farm or even a big backyard to enjoy nature and become a naturalist. My mom grew to love natural history growing up in a small New York City apartment!
I’ll keep adding to the list of links and books below as I can.
Links for families, young naturalists, and young would-be naturalists:
:: Nature Alberta’s Young Naturalist Club: “YNC is a nature focused program with the goal of teaching children (primarily aged 5-10) and their families about nature. YNC membership kits and Explorer Days provide educational resources and opportunities for activities that promote being outdoors, observing nature, scientific investigation, environmental stewardship, and healthy living.”
:: YNC is on Facebook, too.
:: John Janzen Nature Centre, Edmonton
:: Wildbird General Store, Edmonton: if you want to start feeding birds, or gardening to attract birds and butterflies to your yard, the Wildbird Store is a wonderful resource. They also sponsor various birding and nature events at the store
:: Ellis Bird Farm near Lacombe, Alberta (open Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day weekend); EBF offers a variety of programs for kids and families, including Knee-High Naturalists (for ages six and under), Nature Day Camp, and a Bug Jamboree.
:: Citizen science projects at NatureWatch Canada: FrogWatch, IceWatch, WormWatch, PlantWatch
:: David Suzuki’s “Connecting with Nature” education guide for grades 4-6 (free to download)
:: Rosemary Mosco’s “Bird and Moon” website featuring her nature comics, including charts and posters you can buy or print out. New for Spring 2014 is her Western North American Birds/Bird Sound Mnemonics chart. Her comic strip series “Wild Toronto” is wonderful, all about nature in the city (and many of the plants and animals can be found in Edmonton/Alberta as well). Rosemary is an artist and field naturalist who is especially interested in environmental outreach projects.
Some great books & dvds for young naturalists (we have many of these books at home or have borrowed them from the library, and recommend them all); check your favorite bookseller or your library (and if your library doesn’t carry something, try interlibrary loan or ask your librarian to please add it to the collection):
Look Up!: Bird-watching In Your Own Backyard, written and illustrated by Annette Leblanc Cate
The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things To Do In Nature Before You Grow Up by Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer
Peterson First Guides (to Birds, Rocks & Minerals, Clouds & Weather, Butterflies & Moths, Insects, Caterpillars, Reptiles & Amphibians, Wildflowers, Mammals, and more)
Peterson also has the Young Naturalists Guide series, aimed at kids for ages 8-12
Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide by Myrna Pearman
It’s a Jungle Out There!: 52 Nature Adventures for City Kids by Jennifer Ward: “Just because you live in the city doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy nature.”
Lone Pine Press nature and field guides, which are especially good for Alberta species. Some I especially like and recommend are Birds of Alberta by Chris Fisher and John Acorn; Mammals of Alberta by Don Pattie and Chris Fisher; Bugs of Alberta by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon; Butterflies of Alberta by John Acorn; Alberta Wayside Flowers by Linda Kershaw; Plants of Alberta by France Royer and Richard Dickinson; Animal Tracks of Alberta by Ian Sheldon and Tamara Eder
The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: A Birder’s Journal by Sallie Wolf
Let’s-Read-and-Find Out series, available at most libraries: “Sunshine Makes the Seasons” by Franklyn M. Branley, “What Lives in a Shell?” by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, “Animals in Winter” by Henrietta Bancroft, “Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints” by Millicent E. Selsam
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
The Backyard Birdsong Guide: Western North America by Donald Kroodsma: a very nifty book, which features a built-in digital audio player that showcases each bird’s song. From the publisher’s website: “Discover seventy-five unique species from Western North America as you enjoy their sounds at the touch of a button-reproduced in high quality on the attached digital audio module-while reading vivid descriptions of their songs, calls, and related behaviors.”
Birdscapes: A Pop-Up Celebration of Birdsongs in Stereo Sound by Miyoko Chu, with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, illustrated by Julia Hargreaves: “For the eyes: seven elaborately engineered, full-color pop-ups portraying dozens of bird species in diverse North American habitats, from the Alaskan Tundra to a Southeast swamp. For the ears: extended recordings of the birds’ calls and songs in stereo from the collection of the world-renowned Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For the serious birder: scientifically accurate illustrations of the birds and moving text about their fragile ecosystems.”
Birds of a Feather by Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais; from the publisher’s website: this “oversized book about birds features a variety of interactive guessing games and special features, including more than 40 lift-the-flaps and more than 15 pop-ups, plus intriguing facts about each bird, providing readers with hours of educational entertainment.”
Jane Kirkland’s “Take a Walk” series: Take a Tree Walk, Take a Backyard Bird Walk, Take a Winter Nature Walk, Take a City Nature Walk, and more
“One Small Square” series by Donald Silver and Patricia Wynne: Backyard, Woods, The Night Sky, Seashore, Pond, Arctic Tundra, Coral Reef, Cave, Swamp, and more
The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science & Nature: we didn’t like a lot of the Berenstain Bears books when we were growing up, but the three books included in this collection are very good!
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie
Winter Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide by Myrna Pearman; out of print so check your library
The John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers, a good list of books for kids; the JB list “recognizing outstanding natural history books for children that contain perceptive and artistic accounts of direct experiences in the world of nature, was established in 1988 to recognize Burroughs’ efforts to awaken interest in young naturalists”.
Gardening books for kids, lists from the American Horticultural Society
Fandex Family Field Guides — similar to flashcards but compiled in a deck to fan out, and fun to take on along outdoors or in the vehicle: Wild Birds of North America, Bugs, Butterflies, Trees, Wildflowers
“Sibley Backyard Birding Flashcards: 100 Common Birds of Eastern and Western North America” by David Sibley — beautiful pictures!
Books for older kids and adults:
Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
City Birding with stories by birders and nature writers including Kenn Kaufman and Julie Zickefoose
The Urban Naturalist by Steven Garber
The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose
NatureScape Alberta: Creating and Caring for Wildlife Habitat at Home by Myrna Pearman and Ted Pike (more information here at the Nature Alberta online shop)
Sibley’s Birding Basics by David Allen Sibley