Great book! Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism

In preparation for Earth Day next month, I’m currently reading a wonderful book… Friends of the Earth:  A History of American Environmentalism by Pat McCarthy.   The book, written for children ages 9 and up,  introduces the efforts, struggles, and triumphs of men and women (scientists, artists, authors, naturalists) who dedicated their lives to protecting the United States’ natural heritage.  The author has also included twenty-one activities for budding environmentalists, teaching them how to…

  • build a birdnest,
  • make an organic birdfeeder,
  • start a compost pile,
  • make plaster casts of animal tracks,
  • clean up an oil spill,
  • test for acid rain,
  • make recycled paper,
  • identify birds,
  • journal like Thoreau,
  • and many more…

Since my son is only five, I’m pre-reading the book to select a few environmentalists to study with him for Earth Day and to pick a couple age-appropriate activities to do with him.  My son already adores John Muir, so I plan to begin by reading the chapter about Muir to him and conducting the associated activity (study a square yard of land to see how many plants and animals we can find).  Then, as my son loves to watch the birds in our backyard, I’ll cover the chapters about John James Audubon and Roger Tory Peterson and do the related activities with him (build a bird nest and learn to identify birds using the Peterson Identification System).  The book is written in a style that’s easy for children to understand.  If a young child isn’t willing to sit through the reading of the chapters, a parent could easily condense the information and discuss with the child and then do a fun activity from the book.

This would be a fun book for any little environmentalist.  Check it out!


Note:  A Nature Mom aims to provide unbiased editorials. However, I wish to disclose that from time to time I may receive free products or other compensation from companies for blogger reviews.


  1. mmtread says:

    Looks great – I’ll have to pick this one up!


  2. Pat McCarthy says:

    Thanks for featuring my book, Linda, and hope your son enjoys hearing about the people and doing the activities.


    1. You’re welcome, Pat. It’s a wonderful book, and I look forward to using it with my son for many years to come. Thank you for writing it!


  3. LB says:

    I love your devotion to raising your child to be aware of the Earth!


    1. It’s kind of fundamental, isn’t it? I don’t understand why some don’t seem to feel it is important…


      1. LB says:

        Me either!!!! Drives me crazy! Oh the stories we could tell each other, right? ugh!


  4. Alex Jones says:

    I had to remind myself who John Muir was. Awesome idea.


    1. Muir is such a “large” figure around here, I take it for granted that others know about him, too. I wrote a bit about him here ( ) after our visit to his home.


      1. Alex Jones says:

        Less known outside of USA, but his ideas appeal to me.


        1. We wouldn’t have places like Yosemite without him. He’s one of my heroes!


  5. Coral Swan says:

    Thanks for sharing this book Nature Mom. I’ll check it out…the children’s activities sound like fun.


    1. You’re welcome, Coral.


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