You may have visited Nature Collector’s Garden in Mr. Eric’s front yard at 1003 South Elmwood (Oak Park, Illinois). We also run a different program for children during less perilous times. It’s called Nature Collector’s Swap Shop, because children trade for their natural history specimens instead of picking them up off the ground.
For a week in June 2021, we reinvented the Swap Shop for the COVID era. Children traded points for specimens instead of natural items they collected on their own. Since had been a tough year, children (and teachers!) got 50 FREE POINTS to spend at the Swap Shop. They could trade those points for rocks, minerals, fossils, sea life, and more.
Here’s a photo gallery that shows some of what was available at the Swap Shop during that week in June:
It was all self-serve and honor system, with parents encouraged to help younger children add up their points. (In any other year, children would trade with natural things they found on their own, but 2021 was different.)
The COVID era Nature Collector’s Swap Shop was set up at Mr. Eric’s house at 1003 South Elmwood, in Oak Park, Illinois, from June 15 through June 20, 2021. The Swap Shop was usually open from 7 a.m. until sometime after sunset. Mr. Eric restocked the drawers as needed but was usually busy bird watching or inside his house.
Of course, Nature Collector’s Garden is always open, year ’round. You can take home five things from the garden every day.