Nature Smart Library


Learning through nature at six libraries


The Nature Smart Library initiative provides resources, programming, and access for youth to interact with nature in their neighborhoods.

Nature Smart Library locations offer Nature Backpacks that can be checked out. Each backpack focuses on a theme, such as Birds, Weather, Winter Fun, and more.

All library locations have storytimes, and storytimes at the Nature Smart Library often include nature themes.

These locations have outdoor areas where families can learn about native plants, see pollinators in action, and more. Riverview installed a bat house in 2018, Hamline Midway Library hosted a worm farm, and Highland Park Library offers a weekly Nature Smart Trading Place.


Check out a backpack and start exploring nature right outside your door!

Themes include:

  •      Insects & spiders
  •      Birds / Trees
  •      Urban animals & Urban animals of the night
  •      Camping
  •      Winter Fun
  •      Weather
  •      Reptiles / Frogs
  •      Pollinators


Resources, events, and Nature Smart opportunities.

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Urban Birding Festival

The Urban Birding Festival of the Twin Cities is a weekend full of fun, educational activities that celebrate local birds.

Urban Birds: Stories & Facts

Learn about the birds living among us in the city. Here are some books for all ages to enjoy.

What is your favorite bird?

What is your favorite bird?
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What is your favorite bird?

  • Robin
  • Cardinal
  • Chickadee
  • Sparrow
  • Blue Jay
  • other

Fun with Feathered Friends

Hands-on activities for family fun including bird crafts, “birds on a stick”, touch and feel artifacts, and binoculars for bird-watching!

I <3 Earth Picture Books

Picture books that support the Earth and environmentally friendly practices.

Bat House at Riverview Library

We are crossing our fingers that we have some bats set up their summer home at Riverview Library's new Bat House this year.

Seed Library at Riverview Library

The Growing West Side Seed Library is open for business. This year you can "check out" seeds whenever Riverview Library is open.

Get Growing!

Books for all your gardening needs

SPPL/Bell Museum STEAM Storytime series…

Check out these great storytime titles about scientists and the scientific process.

Explore Outdoors Saint Paul

Explore Outdoors Saint Paul is a family-friendly Meetup site offered by Saint Paul Parks & Recreation and Natural Resources.

Check out Nature Smart backpacks

Check out Nature Smart backpacks from Hamline Midway, Highland Park, Merriam Park, Riverview, St Anthony Park, and Sun Ray Libraries.
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