Being :: Collectors

July 19, 2012

Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.

Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they chose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.


 The urge to pick up bits of nature to slip into a pocket and bring home is almost unstoppable at times. It seems to awaken that bit of gatherer from long ago that still resides deep down inside our modern selves. There is evidence of it on our nature table, on bedside tables, in the dollhouse, in jars specially labeled, and as pockets are checked before they plunge into the soggy waters of the wash. Signs of gathered nature are everywhere within our walls.While we thoroughly enjoy having all of this nature around our home, what we really love is gathering bits of this natural goodness to share with friends from all around the world.

Over the years we have learned a few things about collecting and boxing up nature to do a nature exchange or simply to give away these little bits from our part of the world. Below you will find some collecting protocol, tips and ideas for putting together a nature box and a few ideas of what to do with the nature you receive from a friend.

Things to keep in mind when collecting:

• Only collect where it is allowed. Places like National Historic sites often have a no collect policy. Check before you collect.

• Check your area for policies on the collection of certain items (for example, it is against the law in the US and Canada to posses the feathers or any other part of birds of prey even if you find it on the trail.)

• Only collect if there is an abundance of a given item.

• Educate yourself about the invasive species in your area and be sure not to send any items that can spread invasive species.

A few tips and ideas for your box:

• Egg cartons and tissue paper are awesome for shipping small delicate bits of nature. If doing a nature exchange, this also helps establish an expectation for the exchange so that each family receives an equal amount of nature’s goodness.

• A list of the contents is a wonderful addition to the package.

• Unknown items are a great opportunity to get help from your friends with an identification of the item. It could be an exciting pen pal project of sorts.

• Adding items from as many different habitats as possible adds interest to the exchange or gift.

• It is fun and educational to add a post card or local literature about endangered species, wildlife and the natural history of your area.

• Nature inspired artwork from the children is a beautiful addition.

What to do once your get your nature box?

• Simply handling the items and learning their names and about their habitats is wonderful.

• Research interesting items by checking out books or doing Internet based research on their region of origin.

• Make a shadow box with the bits of nature labeling it with the place of origin.

• Make sketches of the most interesting pieces in a nature journal.

• Use the items in works of art.

Dawn would love to send a box of nature finds from Nova Scotia to a Rhythm of the Home reader. To enter the giveaway, visit the Rhythm of the Home Facebook page and leave a comment on the Nature Exchange Giveaway post on our wall.  We will choose a winner on Monday (July 23rd).  

This month we welcome Dawn, from To the Outskirts, to the Being Series.  Dawn is a mama and homeschooler of two children, and often blogs about their adventures as California transplants adapting to life on the coast of Nova Scotia. We hope that you will join us here each Thursday for Dawn’s images and reflections. 


Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do.   To learn more about us, please visit us on Facebook,Pinterest, and Twitter.

We welcome new submissions for our upcoming seasons. To learn more about submitting, please visit our magazine.


Share and Enjoy:
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • RSS
  • Tumblr


amanda {the habit of being} July 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

such great tips! having received a lovely nature package from dawn, i can only say some lucky nature lover will be very happy :)

Dawn Suzette July 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Thanks Amanda! I am so happy your kiddos (& their mama) loved those little bits of NS.

~ joey ~ July 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I would love to swap a nature box with someone in Canada (we’re on the west coast)! Is anyone here interested?
I imagine there are restrictions about these types of items going over the US border, does anyone know about this? If it’s not a problem then a US swap would be fun too!
~ joey ~

Dawn Suzette July 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Hi Joey,
We have shipped nature boxes to California, British Columbia, Kentucky, Louisiana (wink to Amanda above), Spain and Austrailia and have never had a problem. When I did a nature exchange that involved over 70 families from around the world I recieved no reports of returned boxes because of contents.
Let me know if you need help finding a family with which to exchange some nature…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: