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Geode Hunting

March 23rd, 2012

When I was a kid my favorite thing to do was to collect rocks.  Of my summer jobs, I think I enjoyed rock picking in the fields the best.  We were to remove anything larger than our fist so the equipment would not be damaged when my dad went to do spring planting.  We found small rocks and large rocks and even boulders that camoflauged themselves as  tiny stony iceberg tips.  We needed the loader bucket on the tractor to carry those out to the fence line. Being near the Iowa Great Lakes (Okoboji), glacial treasures abounded! We found quartz and red granite, sandstone with water holes, flakes of shale and mica, tons of agates, fossils, coral and round spheres we called “dinosaur eggs”.  We also found the occasional arrow head.  I spent hours sorting and washing and selecting the prettiest and most interesting stones.

I loved to climb the rock piles –  had to watch for snakes and other critters that liked that habitat. But that added to the excitement of our imaginary adventures of climbing mountains, being a geologist or an archeologist, or excaping from “bad guys” while having ‘shoot outs’ like the old westerns on TV.   We also attempted to build walls and ‘houses’ with the rocks until Dad said we had to keep them in the pile so he wouldn’t run over them with the pickup.

I always had rocks in my pockets, on my window sill, my bedside table and my secret treasure chest (a shoebox I kept under my bed). Come to think of i,t I still do!  These days, I hear parents say to their kids,”go outside and play”, but in minutes the kids are back at the door saying they are bored or they don’t know what to do.  Well, the reason is probably that they have not had an experience of discovery that stimulates their curiosity.  Or they need an adult – like you – to share in the fascination of  the outdoors!

I saw this article on Geode Hunting in the Iowa Outdoors magazine http://www.iowadnr.gov/Recreation/IowaOutdoorsMagazine.aspx  and thought it was a perfect adventure for a budding ‘rock hound’.  Get your kids outdoors on an adventure they will always remember – www.keokuiowatourism.org   Or go ask a farmer near you if you can pick rocks in the field – they might just take you up on it!

What nature items did YOU collect as a child? Did you have an adult who encouraged your curiosity in the natural world?

Kristi Cooper

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  1. Malisa Rader
    | #1

    I love this idea from Children & Nature Network – a family nature club! April is their “Let’s G.O.!” campaign which stands for “Let’s Get Outside!” Folks share ideas of what they are doing outside in order to inspire each other. :) http://childrenandnature.ning.com/group/natureclubsforfamilies/forum/topics/let-s-g-o-family-nature-clubs

  2. Kristi Cooper
    | #2

    Malisa – THiS ROCKS! Thanks for sharing this great resource for getting outdoors!

  3. Donna Donald
    | #3

    I was the kid who was always picking the flowers and pressing them in books. As an adult I’ve found myself collecting shells from anywhere I travel. Occasionally a small pretty stone finds its way into my pocket. I wonder what moves us to add to our collections. I keep all the shells in a containers by the bathtub. I enjoy looking at the colors and shapes and like the feel of them in my hand. It is impossible to touch one without just for an instance, thinking about water and waves and sounds. And that is a comforting connection to nature.

  4. Kristi Cooper
    | #4

    Donna, I wonder too, about what moves us to add to our collections. The sensory experience of the object evokes a feeling of wonder and beauty and I think keeping that object is a way of hanging on to that beauty and the pleasure. I remember pressing flowers and four-leafed clovers in books, too.

  5. Roxanne Johnson
    | #5

    I was a city kid, growing up in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. We had a large yard with an extra lot and several vacant lots stretched down a not-yet-developed area. In those vacant urban lots, I also collected rocks and feathers and flowers to press. No matter where a child lives, curiosity can take hold if given an opportunity.

  6. Margaret G. Irwin
    | #6

    Seventy years ago, give or take a few, my Dad discovered an entire hill of gravel on our farm in that same NW Iowa glacial drift that Kristi enjoyed. It impressed me greatly that Dad simply loved loading, hauling, and spreading that gravel on our driveways and roads because he realized he was the very first human ever to see each pretty rock he picked up as he worked.

  7. Kristi Cooper
    | #7

    Margaret, What a wonder-ful perpective from your father, I love the quote: “Being the very first human ever to see each pretty rock”

  8. | #8

    I mine and sellgeodes and other minerals. I will be starting a club this year for famly or children and would like to offer a chance for them to mine geodes as well. I mine with my children it is very important to me as a single mother with no father figure that I show my children and other children that women and girls can get out and get dirty and love nature. I have found a lot of fossils with large bones in them my children are trying to find out how we can learn more about these fossils.

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