Out + About: December Nature Guide + Book List

As it gets cooler and the days get shorter, it is even more crucial to get outside for our mental health and wellbeing. However, that can also be more difficult with shorter days and cooler temperatures. Below, I am going to feature as many night time events and weekend events as possible to aid you in your December outdoor activities!

Ice Skating in Rail Road Park-Credit, AL.com

11/27/2020 Black Friday Outside at Oak Mountain State Park

Winter in Oak Mountain State Park – Credit ALparks.com

Head to North Shelby’s neighbor, Oak Mountain State Park, for a guided, socially distanced hike on the Maggie’s Glen loop at the North TrailHead. The Hike will begin at 10:00 am and will take a couple of hours. Don’t forget to bring your camera, water, and snacks! 

We have plenty of books in our collection to aid you on your hiking journey!


Call Number: J796.50 MckD

This book is a simple beginner’s guide to hiking. It covers everything from what to bring, pack, and wear. It includes straightforward chapters with bright pictures and tips along the way. This book is a great choice for comfortable readers who are interested in taking up this wonderful sport!

Amelia Bedelia Hits the Trail

Call Number: E ParH

This book is a part of our Easy Readers collection and is perfect for introducing younger readers to the sport of hiking. With large texts and beautiful pictures, readers can follow Amelia Bedelia on her school hiking trip!

Outdoor Adventure! Hiking

Call Number: J796.51 KleA

This book is a more detailed hiking guide and would be a great read if you are preparing for a longer hike. It covers topics such as making a plan, wild animals, dehydration, and even conservation. Because it touches on different topics than the books above, it is another solid read to add to your list. The book also includes a detailed packing list and recipes for trail mix. If you are looking for tangible examples of how to prepare for your next hike, look no further.

In addition to hiking, December brings yet another launch by NASA to the international space station. On Dec 5th, at 11:39 EST, NASA and SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket to the international space station. This rocket will not be carrying people, but rather cargo and supplies for the astronauts already at the space station. The rocket will launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida.

We have many books in our collection to learn more about NASA!

What Is NASA?

Call Number: J629 FabS (in the who is/what is section)

The What Is NASA book is a detailed guide to the history and foundations of NASA, starting with its inception during the Cold War and ending with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, this book is a great guide to one of America’s most beloved organizations. The book also includes pictures in the back from launches and training throughout the years.

Hidden Heroes: the Human Computers of NASA

Call Number: J629.45

Did you know that some of the first black employees of NASA were from right here in Alabama? If not, that’s ok! This book is for you. Gracing the cover is Birmingham’s own Annie Easley, a human-computer for NASA during its inception at the Glenn Research Center in Ohio. While not featured in the recent Hidden Figures movie, Easley was one of the first handful of black employees at NASA and was there when the organization changed names from NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) to NASA (National Air and Space Administration). When the human-computer program, which wrote the code to put the first man on the moon, ended, Easley and other human computers adapted to learning to code and became computer scientists. Learn more about Easley, Guntersville’s Jeanette Scissum, and many many more groundbreaking women in this book, Hidden Heroes.

Astronaut: Mae Jemison

Call number: JB Jemison LasA

Keeping in line with the women of NASA, did you know that the first African American woman in space was born in Decatur, AL? Yep! Mae Jemison was a quintuple threat after graduating from Stanford with a degree in Chemical Engineering, dancing as an advanced point ballerina, attending medical school at Cornell University, and of course serving as an astronaut and mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. If anyone is going to inspire you to dream big, it is her. Learn more about Jemison’s incredible life in this biography. 

We also have many easy readers on Jemison in our collection as well for younger readers.

Picking the books to feature about NASA was a real challenge due to the many books we have that discuss everything from NASA missions, to astronauts, to space technology. I would encourage you to visit the 629.4 section of our non-fiction collection to check out some other amazing reads on NASA.

Winter Outdoor Programming

Winter GeoCaching Begins

Grab your coat and GPS! It is time for another geocaching hunt, this time for icicle and snowflake ornaments hidden around North Shelby! From Dec 1st until Feb 28th, you can participate in the North Shelby winter geocaching hunt outside of the Library! A geocaching hunt is when you utilize GPS ( google maps on your phone) to type in the coordinates in the scavenger hunt packet to identify leaves native to Alabama. The scavenger hunt includes coordinates for native trees in the park!

You can register for the geocache here!

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