Field Guides:

Suggestions for younger kids:

Peterson First Guide to Insects of North America by Roger Peterson, Richard White, and Christopher Leahy

Peterson First Guide to Birds of North America by Roger Tory Peterson

Peterson First Guide to Mammals of North America by Peter Alden and Richard Philip Grossenheider

Suggestions for older kids:

Peterson Field Guides are all excellent. At Eco-justice Camp, we especially like the following:

  • Birds of Western North America
  • Western Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Insects
  • Rocks and Minerals

University of California Natural History Guide series — sometimes too technical for kids (or for the average adult, for that matter). Make sure you look through these field guides before you purchase them. At Eco-justice Camp, we like the following:

  • Field Guide to Animal Tracks and Scat of California
  • Field Guide to the Common Bees of California
  • Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions
  • Geology of the San Francisco Bay Region
  • Mammals of California, Revised Edition
  • Edible and Useful Plants of California

Ecological science:
Eco-tracking: On the Trail of Habitat Change by Daniel Shaw. May be out of print, but usually available used online

Online resources:

Adobe Creek Watershed — The Oakland Museum of California has excellent maps and information about the Adobe Creek watershed.

Our online list of birds — Birds that we have found at our site, including confirmed nesting species.


Here are some books for adults, books which helped shape our approach to Ecojustice Camp:

Nature All Around Us: A Guide to Urban Ecology, ed. by Beatrix Beisner, Christian Messier, and Luc-Alain Giraldeau. In this guide, a team of ecologists help us learn about their scientific discipline through close observation of the urban ecosystem. Biodiversity in lawns, carrying capacity and geese, territory defense in squirrels, and more.

Acclimatizing: A Personal and Reflective Approach to a Natural Relationship by Steve Van Matre (Martinsville, Ind.: American Camping Assoc., 1974). A seminal guide to integrating ecological concepts into a camp program, the “Acclimatizing” program integrates outdoors education with personal growth.

Anna's Hummingbird on a nest
An Anna’s Hummingbird nesting on our site