Nature Smart

Resources, programming, and access for youth to interact with nature in their neighborhoods.

This project began as a part of the City of Saint Paul's Cities Connecting Children to Nature implementation plan.

In 2013 Sun Ray Library partnered with the Children & Nature Network to bring nature learning opportunities to Sun Ray area families. Sun Ray Library 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. The goal was to offer nature experiences to families who don't normally have opportunities to explore nature.

Learn about efforts across the city to promote equitable access to nature through Explore Outdoors Saint Paul. Read the Explore Outdoors 2020 Impact Report, opens a new window.


Nature Smart locations offer Nature Backpacks that can be checked out.

Each backpack focuses on a theme, such as Birds, Weather, Winter Fun, and more.

Check one out and begin exploring the great outdoors!


Explore Nature Smart

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.

Free Entry to Minnesota State Parks!

Check out seven days of free access to any Minnesota state park. Offered at Arlington Hills, Rice Street, Riverview, Rondo, and Sun Ray.

Dear River postcard project

The “Dear River” Postcard Project engages members of the public in imagining what the Mississippi River means to them.

Explore Outdoors Impact Report 2020

Learn about efforts across the city to promote equitable access to nature through Explore Outdoors Saint Paul.
Neighborhood Nature Scavenger Hunt

Nature-a-Long: Tiny Perfect Things with Scavenger Hunt

Nature-a-Long with Miss Carla as she reads a picture book called Tiny, Perfect Things and sends you off on a neighborhood scavenger hunt.

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 Climate Change?

Books about climate change for kids.

I <3 Earth Picture Books

Picture books that support the Earth and environmentally friendly practices.

Get Growing!

Books for all your gardening needs
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