Remembering that it's National Parks Month (the National Park Service is celebrating it's 100th birthday on August 25th), and that there aren't too many national parks nearby, there are several wonderful state parks and trails that offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature with hiking, biking, and just being outdoors. Here are a few more wildlife and wildflower settings that are relatively close to us:
Starved Rock State Parkis about an hour west of New Lenox. Starved Rock has an interesting history along with beautiful geological formations featured on the many hiking trails.
From the East (via Ottawa): I-80 W to IL Rt. 23 S (exit 90) to IL Rt. 71 W
From the East (Bypassing IL Rt. 178 at Utica):
Continue on I-80 W to I-39 S (Exit 79A) to IL 71 E
The historical I & M Canal is also in our area. The actual canal starts at the Chicago River and runs close to 100 miles, ending at LaSalle. Access near us would be in Rockdale, Channahon, or Morris. You can step back in time to see how travel along the towpath was conducted in the mid-1800's. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources highlights some of the state parks and historical sites along the towpath trail.
As always, we have books for you to learn more about these sites and their history in the 977's of our non-fiction section area:
As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to write about special days or holidays each month. It's enjoyable to look for little (and big) things to celebrate while maybe learning a fun fact or two along the way. While I have already listed a few things about August, I just read that August is also National Parks Month. You can check out the National Parks website to see what parks are located near us in Illinois.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is actually listed with the National Forest Service, but has much to offer, just a few miles south of Elwood. Last year, bison were introduced to this park and can sometimes be spotted as you drive by. However, they love to roam, as the old song states, so you may need to find a trail and have your binoculars handy. Actually, it's "oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam..." (are you humming it right now??) This fact sheet, provided by the Forest Service, will help you learn the difference between bison and buffalo:
Several baby bison were born earlier this summer. Stop in at the visitors' center to find out more about them, as well as other features, trails, programs and volunteer opportunities at this park. Here are some books we have available in the nonfiction section for basic bison information:
The hot, hazy days of late July and August are also known as "the dog days of summer", but what does the weather have to do with dogs?
According to Farmers' Almanac and other sites, people explain that when the weather is so hot, dogs become lazy and rest to stay cool and not get overheated.
It sounds like a good explanation, but both the Farmers' Almanac and Wonderopolis trace the phrase back to the ancient Romans believing that Sirius (Dog Star), or the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, was so bright that it caused the Earth's temperature to rise. Of course, it's really about the tilt of the Earth towards the sun and the distance between them, but it's a good story!
To learn more about constellations, visit the 520 section of the library for books like these:
And star-gazing on a warm summer night could be just the thing to add to your summer memories!
Are you able to name all the summer sports? Click on each logo to learn a little bit more about the sport & rules, fun facts, when the events are scheduled, exciting players to look out for, and much more! There’s even a spectator guide to give you more details if you’re especially interested in a competition.
Here is another site to explore:
Of course the library has books for you to learn more about the Olympics throughout the years in the non-fiction section -whether it be history, athlete biographies, or information about the different sports.
If you’re interested in researching different countries and their customs, visit the Library webpage and look for CultureGrams in the Homework Help section under the Research & Learning tab.
Have you noticed the displays near the front of Youth Services? Or have you rushed past to find your favorite section of the library? These three sections could become your new favorite stop, or a place to start when you aren’t sure what you’re looking for! Be sure to browse these areas when you have a few moments.
Here’s one of my favorite new books- just in time to hit a few ball parks and enjoy a lazy summer day:
In both the National and American League versions!
Stop by and see what books your friendly Youth Services members have recommended to you. Try something new today and let us know what you think! Their choices, ranging across various age levels and genres, are on the second set of shelves, right after the new books.
State Award Nominees…
Each year, the Illinois School Library Media Association puts together a list of books nominated for the Monarch (grades K-3 ) and Bluestem (grades 3-5 ) Award. Another program, the Rebecca Caudill Award, reaches grades 4-8. Schools throughout the state that participate in these programs allow students to vote for their favorite book. These books are found next to the Staff Picks and have a brochure for you as well. The lists include contemporary choices as well as time honored stories from the past.
Let us help you find a book that’s the right fit – whether it is a staff pick, an award nominee, or your favorite genre. That’s why we’re here!!