Collecting nature’s treasures such as wildflowers, butterflies, and seashells can be both fun and educational. However, sometimes collecting can hurt the very species that we admire most. Use good moral judgment when collecting. Being conservative may be sufficient, but in some cases it is better to take only pictures. A rare item can be more attractive, but if it is a living organism, removal can be environmentally harmful. Solution, take digital photos!
Do you love wildflowers? I do. But did you know that many species are threatened or endangered? If you don’t know which flowers are safe to take, better to collect photos not flora. Also, teach children not to pick any plant in public areas. Explain to them the cumulative effects of everyone picking just one flower at frequently visited places. Remember that these public spaces are something we all share. So every plant, flower, and butterfly is something that belongs to us all.
Photo of Trillium flower I took in Virginia.
Trillium flowers are unique. Picking the flower of a trillium plant removes its only leaves. The plant needs these leaves to make its food and it will be left seriously weakened. Collect photos not flora.
Collecting seashells at the seashore is a wonderful pastime. It never gets old. When collecting specimens remember to never take shells that belong to a living creature: obviously. In addition, never strip the area of shells as they are future homes for hermit crabs and other critters. Hermit crabs are part of the food chain. Having said that, enjoy gathering all the “treasures” you can find but when it is time to leave, pick only your favorites. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt, but let your conscience be your guide in choosing what to keep. And why not be the first to have a photo collection of shells?
Here is some of the “loot” we collected one day at the beach. When it was time to go home, we picked out our favorites and put the rest back.
Want to know how we made this fun collecting bucket? Fun In The Making shows you how. http://http://www.funinthemaking.net/2008/06/26/recycle-your-plastic-laundry-detergent-bottles-into-cool-beach-buckets-and-scoops/
You could use a net to capture butterflies as they frequent the flowers around your yard, but the greatest care must be taken to prevent injury and they should be promptly released after a close-up look. Alternatively, photos are a harmless way of collecting. The challenge of photographing different butterflies may become a passion of yours resulting in many peaceful hours spent in lovely gardens. Sounds good to me!