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
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
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:
Eco-tracking: On the Trail of Habitat Change by Daniel Shaw (Albequerque, N.M.: Univ. of New Meixco Press, 2010). Based on the program for young people at the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program, Eco-tracking introduces young people to basic ecological concepts and techniques.
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.
Above: An Anna’s Hummingbird nesting on our site
Eating s’mores cooked in a solar oven.