Bush Kids

Children and Nature

The Easter Bilby

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe camped in a sheltered clearing in our back paddock over Easter, a little space protected on all sides by granite boulders and tall gums. It was the perfect place to for an early morning egg hunt, which are hidden in our family by the Easter Bilby, not the Easter Bunny.

We switched to the Easter Bilby when our kids were tiny, so they have always associated egg delivery with this Australian native marsupial (rather than a feral pest). We love this  Easter Bilby book which carries a message of conservation, as well as the Easter message of new life: it describes how rabbits became a feral species in Australia with massive impacts on our native animals and on the land. Using the Easter Bilby as a symbol of Easter has been one of the first ways we have introduced our kids to concepts such as endangered animals, environmental threats, and damage to biodiversity by invasive species. We talk about these issues every year at Easter; there is lots of information about bilbies at Save the Bilby Fund.

We wove an Easter nest of eucalyptus and moss, decorated with unusual shaped leaves and feathers and bark. On Easter morning we discovered a map in the nest, left by the Bilby, showing outcrops and burrows and other hiding spots. Maps (with egg locations marked) are another cherished element of our Easters: every year becoming slightly more complex, moving from basic representations of our familiar home environment to gradually encompass details of scale, direction and basic navigation. Maps are a fantastic way for kids to develop a sense of place, scope and perspective: and representations of their known world are the best place to start.

Maps, chocolate, friends and family, time for climbing and exploring, the flames of a fire to stare into, hot cross buns toasted over the coals, and warm swags to cuddle up in at night: the elements of a perfect Easter weekend.

What defines the perfect Easter for you?

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