Join Us For a Nature Exchange!

October 14, 2013

Nature From Annie

 

Kids are natural collectors. As they wander through their days, they find treasures in the most unexpected and ordinary of places, and these little bits often end up stashed in pockets or sitting on top of bedside bookshelves at the end of the day. We here at Mud Puddles to Meteors just so happen to be parenting some very enthusiastic collectors, and our houses seem to be forever filled with acorns, seashells, favorite rocks, and even insect specimens.

 

specimen collection

In the most recent issue of Alphabet Glue (Annie’s other project), there is an activity organized around printing out specimen labels and using them to organize a do-it-yourself natural history museum of sorts; a fun little foray into identifying found specimens and finding a way to safely store them.  The whole thing got us thinking about how we are growing this nice little community of nature-enthusiast families through the blog, and how it would be fun to make and share mini-natural history museums amongst all of us who read here.

So, here is the idea: each one of us hits the trail, wanders the neighborhood, or treks to the park, small people in tow. We keep our collective eyes open for the tiny treasures and signs of the natural world that make the place we call home special, and do a little gathering. Then, we will each assemble a box of nature finds, and ship it off to another family living in another place. It is a chance to explore the world close to home with a focus on finding and identifying the everyday symbols of your own natural environment, while also having a chance to learn about the natural world somewhere away from where you are.

 

Yucca Pod Exchange-1

 

If you would like to join the Mud Puddles to Meteors nature exchange please do the following:

Send an e-mail to kidsandnature@gmail.com by October 21, 2013 and include the following information in your e-mail:

  • Name (first and last)
  • Full mailing address
  • Email address
  • Link to your blog (if you have one)
  • Ages of your children
  • If you are willing to ship internationally
  • Title the e-mail “Nature Exchange”

Start getting your nature box ready as soon as you sign up so that you will be sure to have plenty of time to find wonderful specimens to share. For details on assembling your exchange items, see the details below.

By October 28th we will match you up with another family and send you an e-mail with the information needed to send your nature box to your match. We will do our best to make matches from different regions but it all depends on who signs up. Once we divide all participants into regions, matches will be made by random selection.

Nature finds P-1

specimen collection 6

How to assemble your box:

1. Wrap your nature finds in tissue paper or toilet paper to protect them.

2. Place them in the compartments of an egg carton. (If you do not have an egg carton simply package the nature finds in a way that will ensure that they are protected, and include at least 12 items.)

3. Include at least one nature find per section of the egg carton. If you would like to include something larger wrap it carefully and place it along side the carton in the box in which you will be sending the nature finds.

4. Labeling is optional. If you would like to use the labels from Alphabet Glue, you can purchase Volume Fifteen here (for $3 instead of the usual $4 if you enter “exchange” at checkout), but you do not need to use the labels to participate.

If you do use labels, simply print off the labels, fill them out, and tuck them into the egg carton sections or attach to the larger items. If you do not know the name of a specimen that is fine; you may even get help with identification from your exchange partner.

5. Place your egg carton and larger nature finds into a box and pack well with news paper or other packaging supplies.

6. Head to the post and mail your finds off to your partner!

:: Send your box by November 4th at the latest ::

If for any reason you are unable to send a box please contact us and your nature exchange partner as soon as possible. We will make new arrangements at that time.

We have prepared some information about invasive species and how to have a safe nature exchange. Please click here to read our suggestions!

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy N October 14, 2013 at 6:45 am

I just showed this post to my 10 yr old son, he is very interested in this. I did have to tell him no live critters when he mentioned catching a gecko, lol.

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Christi {Jealous Hands} October 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Live critters – sounds just like my boys! :-)

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Kim October 14, 2013 at 8:14 am

Little man loves this idea, we are in!

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Amy October 14, 2013 at 9:18 am

What a great idea! Can’t wait!

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tamara October 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

We were/are planning on going to Shubie this morning and now we will be collecting! :)

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Wendy October 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Fantastic! My four year old is super excited. We’ll start collecting today!

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KC October 15, 2013 at 12:02 am

We’re in too!

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Susana Galli October 15, 2013 at 11:12 am

Is the UK allowed too? We’re in Scotland and would love to do this!

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dawn October 15, 2013 at 11:57 am

Yes! The UK is allowed. We are not sure how many others from the UK will be participating, so it will help if you are willing to ship international.
Thanks!

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Susana Galli October 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

yes, yes. No problem with that!
Thank you!

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Christi {Jealous Hands} October 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm

How excited we would be to receive a package from Scotland! :-)

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arianne October 15, 2013 at 11:13 am

We’re in. What a great idea.

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Sara October 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Yay, sounds like fun! We are constantly collecting. Funny thing, one of the previous commenters (Tamara) must live right in my backyard, I know Shubie Park!

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tamara November 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Hi Sara! ;)

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Christi {Jealous Hands} October 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Just sent my email – my boys & I are very excited about this! Thanks for organizing such a fun way to “meet” new people!

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Alex October 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Can’t wait to get started! My 3 yr old is a nature magpie and even though we live in London we always manage to find beautiful and interesting finds for our own nature table.

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brooke October 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm

We are in! So looking forward to this! Saw the post on Small Things. Thanks so much for organizing!

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Charlotte October 15, 2013 at 8:04 pm

We would LOVE to take part…. we’re in the UK as well :) Very excited! x

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Charlotte October 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm

I think this has been thought of – http://www.mudpuddlestometeors.com/sending-and-sharing-specimens-safely/ – as for customs I think we’d check what the receiving country allows / which items are prohibited before we send

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dawn October 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thank you, Charlotte! Unfortunately because of his link we had to delete his comment but we encourage everyone to to read the page on sending and sharing specimens safely!

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Alison October 16, 2013 at 11:38 am

Count me in, I’m in Scotland too :)

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Ramona October 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

We’d like to participate as well. Hello from Germany!

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Sara October 17, 2013 at 11:54 am

We are in too…and emailed our info already!

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Sara R. October 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

Missed the deadline! We’ll be watching for another opportunity. :)

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Kelly November 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I hope you do another one! How cool!

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Angie November 17, 2013 at 9:41 am

I so want my kids to be a part of this! I just found this, please let me know if you do another one!

Thanks!

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Sue S November 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

We just found this and would have LOVED to participate! If anyone else contacts you would you set us up?!?
Pretty, pretty PLEEEEASE with sugar-gumdrops on top! ;)
(The sugar-gumdrops are from my daughter!)

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Alexia December 3, 2013 at 12:39 am

My son would LOVE this. Please do this again!

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Dawn & Annie December 3, 2013 at 6:30 am

Thank you, for all of the interest in the nature exchange.
We are planning on hosting exchanges in the future.
In the spring we will have a nature inspired art exchange and in the fall another one like this, with the exchange of specimens.
It has been exciting to see the response and hear of so many wonderful exchanges.

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Sharnee Torrents January 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Hello there, I too just came across this site and the wonderful nature exchange….. I live in Tasmania, Australia would that be allowed do you think???
I would TOTALLY LOVE to participate, it would be amazing!!!! :) :) :)
So please, pretty please, If i may it would be super!!
SMiles SHarnee :)

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dawn January 25, 2014 at 8:12 am

Hi Sharnee,
Thanks for your enthusiastic interest in the exchange!
This exchange is over but we are planning other exchanges in the future. Keep an eye out for the announcement sometime this spring.

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