I mentioned participating in a nature swap a couple of months ago, and we finally got around to putting something together to send to our ‘nature partner’. I feel like we cheated a little bit, as we collected our treasures from Portugal, but we stayed amongst acres of cork and eucalyptus trees and they were too precious not to share. It never fails to amaze me how nature varies between countries – counties even. Portugal looks so wild compared to here – the land is unspoilt and far less organised.
Cork trees are native to Portugal, but eucalyptus trees are not – they were imported from Australia centuries ago, but it is now the most abundant tree in Portugal. The owners of where we stayed are currently trying to balance out the eucalyptus trees with indigenous species, so that the eucalyptus doesn’t end up taking over. The smell of eucalyptus, mixed with wild rosemary in the heat was delicious.
We decided to send some bark, adult leaves, young leaves and lots of little caps called ‘operculums‘, which drop off once the eucalyptus tree has flowered, along with a giant pinecone (that almost hit somebody on the head and Win sprinted to retrieve), plus some stones and shells the boys collected at the beach.
Our ‘nature partner’ has children much older than ours, so I decided to write down a few questions to promote some research. To be honest, I don’t know much about indigenous English trees, so maybe this can be a small on going project.
What do your children love collecting?
Win loves collecting sticks, as well as size pips from shop floors!