“Come on kids, let’s go litter in the woods,” said no one ever.
Still, though, sometimes we can’t see the litter for the trees when we encourage placing plastic tokens on trails. Rather than being a party pooper for well-intended traditions like this, why not give them an upgrade?
If you’ve ever wandered the forest with little ones, you may have had to gear down your pace, taking lots of snacks and bathroom breaks. These are great moments to sit trailside and have meaningful conversations about the cycle of nature.
The forest floor is a perfect example of compost in the making, where leaves, cones and other organic debris break down into food for the next generation. If the children (or you) are still too tired to move another step, how about integrating an art break?
You can gather forest treasures and fashion a sweet little creature from moss, bark, rocks, and imagination, or a little faerie home, even bringing up some wildcrafted flowers from home to beautify.
Even grownups love nature-based art. If you’ve never witnessed the creations of Andy Goldsworthy, hold everything and get googling. All of his sculptures are made using objects found in nature, such as icicles, slate, worm-eaten leaves and tannin-dyed twigs.
Goldsworthy even went to the lengths of intentionally building them in places where they would be broken down by changing tides, the flow of a river, or the increasing temperatures of sunrise. His film, Rivers and Tides, is well worth the mesmerizing watch some evening after all your forest adventuring.
Getting out onto our local trails has never been more encouraged, and adding to their magic with gnome homes and leaf-skirted twig faeries could become addictive.
If you are keen to keep moving instead of pausing to create, you can gather a few forest tokens for a home crafting project. Play with natural adhesives, like sap and tension, and enjoy the temporal nature of your creations as they return to whence they came.
Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program. For more information, email info@LetsTalkTrash.ca or go to LetsTalkTrash.ca.