Published On: November 7th, 2023

by Katie McCarthy
GMCG Education Committee Member

What started as a collaborative endeavor between Effingham Public Library volunteers and GMCG interns to provide nature-based story hours with themes that promote watershed awareness in young children, has resulted in the successful launch of GMCG’s new Sponsor-a-Book program in libraries within the Ossipee Watershed.

In February 2023, a nature themed weekly story hour was initiated at the Effingham library with GMCG AmeriCorps interns, Hailey and Grace, and library volunteers connected to GMCG. During one story hour,  a child asked to borrow a book that had been read, and volunteers realized that the book was not in the library’s collection. Thus, a pilot initiative was born.  Karen Payne and Katie McCarthy set out to identify and gather quality children’s nature books for the Effingham Public Library. Books were donated by GMCG volunteers and a bookplate acknowledging the Green Mountain Conservation Group was created and placed inside each book.
In May, the GMCG Education Committee, including Peter Zack, Tara Shroeder, Wendy Scribner, Karen Payne, Nancy Walser, Katie McCarthy and Louise Wrobleski, met at the Effingham library to review dozens of books donated to the library on behalf of GMCG. The books were vetted by the committee for their message, accuracy, relevance to natural resource protection, richness, and inclusion of multiple perspectives and values. The committee then chose the “cream of the crop” —books that would be wonderful resources to enrich children’s understanding and appreciation of our watershed and the creatures, wildlife and plants that also call our watershed home.

Pictured above: Librarians in Effingham alongside GMCG Education Committee members proudly display the colorful nature themed books offered through the program.

From that work session, the committee compiled a list of 29 exemplary children’s books that support GMCG’s mission of protecting and conserving the natural resources of the Ossipee Watershed with an emphasis on water with the intention of providing these books for all of the libraries in Ossipee Watershed towns.

The next step in the process was to check collections in other libraries within the watershed. More than half of our choices were not available in area libraries. This information sparked an initiative to seek additional sponsors. At GMCG’s Annual Watershed Celebration in July, many of the selected books were on display along with an invitation for individuals to sponsor a book for their local library. There was an overwhelmingly positive response, with several books sponsored for Tamworth and Ossipee libraires.  A supporter in Freedom volunteered to seek donations for the Freedom library. GMCG continues to seek sponsors to fund the purchase of these books for all of the libraries in our watershed through the “Sponsor a Book” program.

A child’s interest and curiosity expressed in a simple question launched a pilot program which resulted in scores of high-quality, nature-themed and conservation-promoting books to be donated in the name of GMCG by town residents and volunteers. We ask supporters to check with your local library regarding this program. Contact GMCG about donating a book. 

Let’s respond to curiosity and invite further interest with enriching, high-quality children’s books. Thank you for your support!

The Sponsor a Book list includes:

  1. Bird Identification by Peter Audubon
    2. Along the River Bank by Petra Bartikove
    3. Water Hole by Graeme Base
    4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    5 The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
    6. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
    7. A River Ran Wild by Cherry Lynne
    8. Crossings by Katy Duffield
    9. My River by Shari Halpern
    10. Ibis: A True Whale Story by John Himmelman
    11. Luna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
    12. We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
    13. One Child, One Planet by Bridget McGovern Llewellyn
    14. Where The River Begins by Thomas Locker
    15. All the Water in the World by George Lyon
    16. The Lost Words by Robert McFarlane
    17. The Lost Spells by Robert McFarlane
    18. The Poem Forest by W.S. Merwin
    19. Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
    20. Shark Lady: The True Story by Marta Miguens
    21. Becoming a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery
    22. Drop: An Adventure through the Water Cycle by Emily Kaye Moon
    23. One Plastic Bag: The Recycle Women of the Gambia
    by Miranda Paul
    24. The Lorax by Dr. Suess
    25. Greta and The Giants by Zoe Tucker
    26. The Water Princess—the childhood experience of model Georgie Badiel by Susan Verde
    27. Follow the Moon by Sarah Weeks
    28. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen