Hunting for Nature’s Treasures

“Let’s go and search for rocks mum!”   At the moment rock hunting is what everyone is talking about, well anyone with young children that is.  This is such a wonderful initiative to get families out of the house and into nature.

For those who may not have heard about rock fever – basically, parents and children are going crazy over hunting for painted rocks in parks or anywhere in fact that a rock can be placed safely.  The rock painting is not only for the kids, parents too are getting their creative on and having a go painting too.

With so many families out hunting, sometimes as much as people paint and hide, there are days you go to the park with eager children and there isn’t a rock to be found.

So what do you do when there isn’t a rock to be found and your children are feeling a little flat.    For me I am a hunter/gatherer from way back, I have always loved picking up treasures on my walks around parks and beaches, I love finding feathers, shells, acorns, pinecones and it’s something I have done with my children since they could walk. However, something that I started last Autumn was searching for food treasures or what is know as foraging.

Foraging is something we would do as kids, and Autumn is one of the best seasons to forage for wild foods, there are Autumn berries, mushrooms, walnuts, elderberries, figs, pears, apples, quince that can be all found you just need to keep your eyes peeled.

In Hawkes Bay, we have so many parks, rivers, coastal walkways, bike tracks where we are walking or riding on that have opportunities for foraging.   How many times have you gone to the river and had to walk around blackberry vines?   How many times have you walked past mushrooms growing in the park?  The secret is to walk slow, look up, look down, sideways and see what you can find.   Once you start you will be amazed at all the natural treasures that can be found in our parks and public areas.

A couple of important points to remember while foraging:

  • Identify your fruit, flowers and berries.  If you are unsure of something, don’t just eat it.  Check with some – online pages, books or call into your local garden centre and ask.
  • Don’t go onto private property without asking, there are plenty of places to forage without going and raiding the local apple orchard, or your neighbours lemon tree.
  • Check to see that places you are foraging are free from chemicals and pollution.  You don’t want to be collecting watercress from a polluted stream.

So next time you can’t find rocks at the park, maybe try looking for something a bit different and let me know what you find.   #kidsplaynzforaging

Check out my facebook page for some of the treasures we have found foraging.

If you want to get in on the rock painting craze check out our two local groups on facebook.

  • Hawkes Bay Rocks
  • Hawkes Bay Wandering Stones

If you don’t live in Hawkes Bay, most regions, towns and cities have local groups, or you could start one up yourself.

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