Outdoor Listens for the Great Indoors(wo)man on hoopla!

After an unusually cooped-up spring, the longed-for season of the great outdoors is here! If the balmy weather is stirring up long dormant wanderlust, the Abbot Public Library is here to help you with your “itchy feet”! You’ll find a library-curated, one-stop adventure guide on hoopla.

If you’d really prefer just to ponder the wonders of nature from the comfort of an easy chair placed squarely in front of your AC, you can pop on your headphones, close your eyes, and tune in to a series of three NPR Soundtrek audiobooks. Adventures will help you shake off the dog-day doldrums with “whitewater rafting on the Hudson River, mountain climbing in the Himalayas, kayaking in Alaska, air boarding in Oregon’s Cascade mountains, or bungee jumping in Australia”–take your pick, or try them all! Get up close and personal with the world’s feathered folk in Birds, which interweaves colorful stories from ornithological experts with sample bird calls. Or listen in on a plethora of creatures in their natural habitats as they communicate and go about their daily lives in Animals.

For the armchair philosophers out there, take a dive into Izaak Walton’s classic, 17th-century The Compleat Angler. Far from just a fishing handbook, this delightful text brings to vivid life the joys to be found at the riverside, from baiting the hook to cooking the catch (yes, there’s a recipe involved!)–as well as the glory of British landscapes.

If you really do want to get out there but just don’t quite know how to do it (and are too embarrassed to ask your outdoorsy friends), you can get expert advice and learn vital basic skills from the comfort of your earbuds. First stop: How to Survive Your First Trip in the Wild: Backpacking for Beginners. From the basics of tent set-up to the nitty-gritty of what–and what not–to pack, seasoned outdoorsman Paul Magnanti has the answers. 

Worried that your kids aren’t getting outside enough but unable to commit to a full-on camping trip? Angela J. Hanscome’s Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children can be your playbook for creatively and intuitively improving that connection to nature on a daily basis. Get your own nature fix in a low-key fashion with a similar offering for adults who feel trapped in a concrete jungle–Sue Belfrage’s Down to the River and Up To the Trees: Discover the Hidden Nature on Your Doorstep.

So whether your idea of an escape into nature’s paradise is literal or virtual, you’ll find plenty on this audio bookshelf to aid you in your quest! 

If you’re new to hoopla, have a look at the FAQs page. If you need a library card, you can get started here.

*Quoted material from publisher description via hoopla.

For more about nature, find out how to go on a backyard safari and connect with nature during difficult times.

We’re Going on a (Backyard) Safari!

Spring has finally sprung! In New England, that means that nice weather is (hopefully) here to stay and we can all enjoy the great outdoors. It also means that you can observe wildlife galore enjoying the spring sunshine, too. Luckily, our friends over at the Museum of Science, Boston Children’s Museum, and Zoo New England have created some fabulous resources for your family’s flora and fauna explorations.

A great place to start your backyard safari is by listening to the Museum of Science’s Pulsar: A Podcast episode on “Observing Wildlife in Your Backyard.” Biologist Colleen Hitchcock of Brandeis University offers tips and tricks for observing and identifying wildlife that you may see around your house. It is also particularly helpful for observing nature in more urban or highly populated areas, as this episode was originally broadcast as a resource for the City Nature Challenge at the end of April. Be sure to also check out some of their fantastic Family STEM Activities, especially Outdoor Explorers and Ecosystem Exploration, and the Museum’s guides to bird flight pattern identification and butterfly watching for more great activities and ideas for exploring nature in your backyard!

The Boston Children’s Museum also has some wonderful activities designed to get kids outside and in touch with nature. In their Activities Archive, you can find resources for getting creative and going on a National Geographic Neighborhood Safari or Nature Scavenger Hunt. The Museum’s Beyond the Chalkboard educational resource site also includes many great ideas for exploring nature, including how to figure out what wildlife shares your habitat.

Finally, head over to Zoo New England for a wide-array of ideas to connect with nature. Learn how to turn your backyard into a certified wildlife habitat or build a habitat for your favorite animal (if your favorite creature is a butterfly, use their guide to creating a butterfly garden). For the birdwatchers out there, check out the Zoo’s guide to birding in your own backyard, and how to make a bird feeder for your feathered friends. For even more fun, their Kid’s Corner site has lots of awesome nature-inspired activities, including instructions on how to identify trees through touch!

And, of course, we’ve got you covered for all of your bird-watching, butterfly-garden-building, and backyard-exploring reading needs — all free, with your library card, through our Overdrive/Libby and hoopa e-collections:

Pamela Hickman’s Nature All Around series: Trees, Plants, and Bugs

Counting Birds by Heidi E.Y. Stemple

My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valério

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jaqueline Davies

Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons

Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer

Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson

Can You Hear the Trees Talking? by Peter Wohlleben

Winged Wonders by Meeg Pincus

Common Critters: The Wildlife in Your Neighborhood by Pat Brisson