Pollinator Parade: A children’s book

The Nature Place is excited to announce the recently approved funding for a local children’s book project. The book, Pollinator Parade, is part of a partnership between The Nature Place and Strive 2 Thrive Coulee Region.

Created by local author Nick Nichols, Pollinator Parade is a fictional narrative that offers educational information on pollinator insects and plants. Pollinators help produce over 75 percent of the food that we eat, and this book highlights their crucial role in the biodiversity and survival of numerous other species, including humans. The story follows two siblings as they visit their grandparents’ pollinator garden, learning about the wild array of interesting creatures that “parade” through the plants and keep our ecosystem alive: butterflies, wasps, bees, flies, moths, etc.

Pollinator Parade includes an insect index and other resources, further encouraging readers of all ages to get involved in creating natural, critical spaces for pollinators. It will also connect readers to Operation Pollination, an inclusive partnership project aiming to restore pollinator habitats.

Books will be freely distributed to schools in the local area, but they will also be available for purchase at the Nature Place. Profits from these sales will go toward The Nature Place and Operation Pollination.

Donor: Roz Schnick Consulting, LLC

Roz Schnick as Roz Schnick Consulting, LLC has been pursuing community service and philanthropy since the loss of her husband in 2012. Roz has dedicated the rest of her life to honoring his memory by advocating for food security and environmental sustainability. Roz helped launch the largest Operation Pollination project in the world at her home on September 28, 2023, entitled the “Mississippi River Operation Pollination Partnership”. Roz will be working with all the partners to launch projects up and down the Mississippi River corridor to include making the “Pollinator Parade” Storybook available everywhere. The major partners include, but are not limited to, Rotary International, the Mississippi River Parkway Commission, and the National Heritage Areas.

The Nature Place

The Nature Place is a community center that offers nature focused education programs and events for all ages. Their mission statement: To inspire and cultivate meaningful connections between people and nature for the benefit of both. Conservation is at the heart of everything we do. We collaborate with colleagues and partners in our community. We work to eliminate existing barriers to help everyone access nature and environmental education.

Strive 2 Thrive Coulee Region

Strive 2 Thrive Coulee Region, founded by Vicki Miller, is a non-profit philanthropic organization serving citizens of the La Crosse area. Strive 2 Thrive is focused on improving the health of community members and the environment. Pollinator Parade is one of Strive 2 Thrive’s Seedling Program projects.

Author: Nick Nichols

Author Nick Nichols is a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps, motivated by a lifetime of public service. Nick was a former recycling coordinator in Houston County, Minnesota. Prior to retirement in 2019, he was employed as the sustainability coordinator for La Crosse County. Nick is the author of the novel "Rednecks of the Dead" (available on Amazon), and the children’s picture books, "I’m Hungry, I’m Hungry, I’m Hungry Too," a story that aims to educate children about hunger issues and how children can help solve them. And "Worm McWorm and the Decomposers", a story about the importance of healthy soil and why we need it to grow our food.

Artist: Pete Hodapp

Local artist Pete Hodapp has always wanted to illustrate kid's books because of their range in possibility. His favorites are the ones that do not talk down to their audience and present a given topic in a truly beautiful way. This is what he hopes to do. In 2010 Hodapp won the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. Mini-Comics is simply a term for comics that were produced and published by the artist rather than through a traditional publisher.


Editor: Rachel MacFarland of Ope! Publishing, MA in Creative Writing from the University of Northern Iowa; Consultant: Professor Dr. Ted Wilson, Viterbo University Biology; Researchers: UWL Biology Master’s students: Bug Hartsock, Danielle Hudson, and Drew Lysaker