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A big box o' rocks

Dscn0241 My sister-in-law passed along her son's rock collection to my kids -- a collection my nephew, now in his mid-20s, lovingly amassed in his teen years. I don't know much of anything about rocks, but they sure are pretty. I haven't shown it to my kids yet, but I know they will love all of the colors and textures. My daughter is a big collector of shells, so I think she might grow to appreciate it. We also received The Complete Book of Rocks and Minerals, which should help us if we attempt to identify any.

Of course, this has got me thinking about rock collecting. I have no way of knowing now if my kids might develop a passion for it (and if they do, I'm all for it). But I read and am told that we should leave nature as we find it and not disrupt anything. Then I read Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods, which is being heralded as the essential guide to alleviating nature-deficit disorder in children (his term). He believes that foraging and exploring in nature is crucial to a child's appreciation of and ease in the great outdoors. Do you have any thoughts on whether rocks and shells belong where nature intends them to be? Any rock collectors out there? Did rock collecting spur a love and interest in all things nature-based?

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