Our Exchange Boxes .. The Finale

I wanted to be certain that I posted pictures of the wonderful boxes we received in the Environmental Exchange Box project that I coordinated in the spring.  To assure everyone who signed up had a partner in a region different than the one in which they resided, my kiddos and I ended up exchanging with three different families.  There was really no extra effort on our part … we just collected duplicates of everything we wanted to send. 

“Our “Maryland” box from 

Each box we received was very different in regards to what the families chose to send.  Some chose to include seed packets of wildflowers.  Others chose to include local food products.  Everyone included some travel brochures and information about their local region.

Our “Illinois” box from 

We enjoyed opening each box and take out each item one by one.  The contents of the boxes opened up a discussion about the similarities and differences between our environments.  We discovered, for example, that Lodgepole pine is found across the continent.

Our “Colorado” box from 
We were very pleased with the results of this project.  We hope that everyone who took part had a great time and learned a little more about the ecology of our country.  I encourage you to think of coordinating a similar project of your own.  We learned so much.  🙂

Environment Exchange Boxes

Have you ever marveled at the differences between the natural environments of your home region and those of areas through which you travel?  I know I do.  I grew up on the southern Oregon coast, lived in the Willamette Valley through college, and we started our family while living in central Oregon.  Even within this one small state, the ecosystems are varied and thereby the plants and animals that reside there are diverse.   I now live in Northern California and I am amazed at how distinctly different the ecology is here.

To celebrate the diversity of the regions in which we live, I am organizing an exchange activity.  However, I will need your help.  I don’t have many followers so you’ll need to help spread the word.  I’ve also shared the project with my local homeschool community.   The activity is based upon Project Learning Tree‘s activity #20, Environmental Exchange Box (click upon the link for the PDF of the lesson plan).   Follow this link for visual ideas, PLTs Forest Exchange Boxes.

Essentially, each family puts together a box of things found in your local natural environment … a selection of pressed leaves and flowers, seashells, seeds and cones, a vial of sand, feathers, a few stones, a sound recording of local birds, stories the kids have written about their favorite things to do in their area, photographs, samples of non-perishable regional foods (maple syrup, walnuts, etc.), and/or  copies of newspaper clippings relating local environmental issues.

We can also use a webcam and/or YouTube to facilitate the exchange – allowing the students an opportunity to interact with their exchange partners to explain the contents of the box they prepared.    What you select and how you organize your box is up to you.  Be creative!

Everyone wishing to participate would be given the address of another family to whom to send their box. You mail a box just once.

Those interested in taking part should submit the information below via email.  I will thereafter assign each participating family a partner family with whom to exchange boxes.

  • Name
  • School Name (if you have one)
  • Address
  • Telephone Number (include area code)
  • Age of Students
  • Email Address
  • Preferred state or region with which you would like to exchange (not guaranteed)

This exchange project has concluded.