The Nature Smart Library initiative provides resources, programming, and access for youth to interact with nature in their neighborhoods.
Four Nature Smart Library locations — Hamline Midway, Riverview, Saint Anthony Park, and Sun Ray — offer Nature Smart backpacks to check out with books and activities on selected themes such as monarchs, trees, and birds.
These libraries have a garden or outdoor space where families can explore nature and put those nature-themed backpack materials to good use!
Highland Park Library has a Nature Smart Trading Place where you can bring in a natural object, learn more about it, and earn points for trading.
More info on the Nature Smart Library project
In 2013 Sun Ray Library partnered with the Children & Nature Network to bring nature learning opportunities to Sun Ray area families. Sun Ray installed a pollinator prairie garden and an outdoor reading garden. They also began providing a new collection of activities that promote literacy and environmental education through fun, hands-on learning for children, youth, and families. These included Nature Backpacks that can be checked outstorytimes with nature themes.
This partnership between Sun Ray Library and Children & Nature Network was a success and the Saint Paul Public Library is launching the Nature Smart Library project four library locations: Hamline Midway Library, Highland Park Library, Merriam Park Library, Riverview Library, Saint Anthony Park Library, and Sun Ray Library.
The Nature Smart Library project is a part of the City of Saint Paul's Cities Connecting Children to Nature implementation plan.