Outdoor Exploration Backpacks Program

Early Birders Backpacks and Stream Exploration Backpacks are now available to check out from libraries in the New River region (for a full list of libraries, see below). This program serves as an environmental education resource for families tailored to meet standards of learning for grades 4-7.

Early birder backpacks include binoculars, bird guides and activities. Stream Exploration backpacks contain lessons about local watersheds, storm water management practices, and the equipment and instructions needed to perform benthic macroinvertebrate or “stream bug” sampling in local streams. Backpacks also include flash drives that provide tutorials, lessons, and guides to local parks.

Outdoor Exploration Backpack Checkout Policy: 

  • Kits can be checked out for two weeks.
  • Contents of kit will be verified by patron and library staff upon checkout and check-in at the circulation desk. Please let your attendant know if you needed to use any items in the first aid kit so that we can replace them for the next person.
  • An adult must be present for a juvenile checkout.
  • Replacement charges will be applied to the patron’s account for any damaged or missing items.

Resources for Early Birders Backpacks

Ready to get started? Begin by watching this video (also available in the backpack on a flash drive) about birding and birds, tips on how to ID birds, and a little practice using binoculars.

Backpack Inventory and safety information
BirdSleuth Explorer Guidebook for Teachers and Families
Additional Bird Education Resources

Resources for Stream Exploration Backpacks

Ready to get started with Stream Exploration? Watch the video below to learn about watersheds and how to assess the health of a stream by catching and identifying what’s living in the water.

Additional links and resources

Library Partners

Bland County Public Library

Pulaski County Public Library System

  • Dublin Library
  • Pulaski Library

Radford Public Library

Pearisburg Public Library

Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library System

  • Blacksburg Public Library
  • Christiansburg Public Library
  • Jessie Peterman Memorial Library
  • Meadowview Public Library

Wythe-Grayson Regional Library System

  • Grayson County Public Library
  • Whitetop Public Library
  • Fries Public Library
  • Wythe County Public Library
  • Rural Retreat Public Library

Galax-Carroll Regional Library System

  • Galax Public Library
  • Carroll County Public

This program is supported by the 2020 Virginia Wildlife Grant Program through a partnership between the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia. The Town of Blacksburg is funding some of the Stream Exploration Backpacks.