Anyone else out there have kids who like to bring everything home? I've probably talked about this before, but my girls are collectors of everything. I do love that they have an eye for and appreciation of the small details on our hikes...but it is in direct contrast to my "leave no trace" principles...
The wildflowers are peaking here in the mountains and the hikes are amazing. We had some solid wet weather about a month ago (send more!), then really warm weather, so the flowers feel especially numerous and vibrant this year. Kids and adults may be tempted to pick the flowers, but it is important to leave them where they are...they are the food for our pollinators and everyone deserves to see them in their natural splendor.
A good alternative to collecting the flowers is to photograph them. If you have an old digital camera (or phone with a camera), you can turn it over to your kids and you will be sure to have VERY thorough documentation of all the vegetation between your car and the end of your hike. We bought cameras like these for our kids and they are pretty indestructible. Attaching the camera to a strap that goes around your kiddos neck will help to limit the number of drops (maybe).
When you get home, pull up this Colorado Wildflower identification website and learn about the flowers that you saw on the hike!
If you have a budding artist and aren't in a rush, have them bring along a small sketchpad and a pencil and they can sketch the flowers that they see along the way (maybe some colored pencils as well so that they can capture the colors).
There are lots of ways to "collect" on your hike while adhering to the "leave no trace" principles. Get creative and get out there! Summer is fleeting and is a great time to enjoy and appreciate the nature that surrounds us!
Stay Wild and Free,