Good Morning. It’s not quite summertime weather yet. But, not often a day goes by lately where we aren’t out on the beach or in the forest when we don’t run into lots of other families feeling that serious need to get back outside and log some major time in nature. This is such a lovely time of year, when everything is coming out of its cold-weather sleep. It’s also a fantastic time to head out do some exploring and collecting.
There is a bit of an art to collecting – something I think kids are quite magical at because they see the smallest things in the forest that the bigger we get the more we seem to overlook. We regularly head out on walks that keep us focused on the tiniest discoveries and end up with the most incredible finds.
One of the biggest things that we remind ourselves, each time we head out, is that we never know what we’ll discover. We know that, from time to time, large numbers of moon snail shells wash up along the beach at MacDonald Wood and that bird feathers are a regular find out at Lazo Marsh.
But it’s the unexpected site of incredible spring flowers, a fantastic snake skin, shell or the collecting of rocks that make for a great afternoon out.
Whether you are on a wildflower walk or spending a day at the tide pools, there are a few very important things to remember when collecting things in nature.
1. Leave flowers in the forest. Wildflowers are protected by law and should not be picked. If you are going on a wildflower walk, take the camera with you and catalog your find digitally.
2. Don’t take live creatures such as snails, jellies or other sea creatures off of the beach. Live creatures are also protected by law and – for their protection and yours – always make sure you tread lightly and leave creatures at the waterfront.
3. When shell collecting, consider leaving your finds at the beach after a day of discovery. Shells are homes to many types of sea life and are safe shelter for creatures such as crabs and small fish. We often do this with snail shells.
4. If collecting to take home, collect things that are already on the path. Don’t pick leaves from growing plants or take mosses, lichens, etc. from the forest.
5. Try not to tromp off the path. While you may find some really interesting things deep into the forest, many spots off the trail are fragile mini ecosystems that are very sensitive. They are healthiest when we admire them from afar.
While that all seems like a lot to think about when you’re supposed to be out enjoying nature, it can also be a great way to teach kids about conservation and taking care of the planet.
With the things you do collect, there are lots of ways to make some cool crafts or create ways to display them for yourselves.
Check out a few of the ways we’ve done that including:
Have a great time out in the forest, at the park or on the beach!