Collecting Dirt From Around the World: A Fun and Interesting Hobby
You will be hard pressed to find an easier thing to collect than dirt. Dirt is everywhere. It doesn't cost anything to collect, it is everywhere you go, and it comes in all kinds of variations. Some dirt is unremarkable. Some dirt is beautiful. Some dirt has sentimental value. Whatever your take on the idea, collecting dirt could just be the right hobby for you.
Starting the Collection
The easiest way to start you dirt collection is to go around your neighborhood or town and start looking for interesting dirt. You might be amazed to see how many different kinds of dirt there are in and around your city. If you do any kind of traveling, you can get samples of dirt from the places you visit, and the places you pass through on the way. It doesn’t take very long for your collection to grow.
If you have friends and family that travel extensively or live in other towns, then your dirt collection can grow significantly. Friends and family can either mail you dirt, or bring some the next time they visit you. When you let friends and family know that you have a dirt collection, they will usually consider it no trouble at all, to dig up some dirt from their travel destination. It is possible to accumulate quite a varied collection from a wide range of geographic locations this way.
How much dirt you collect is up to you. Unless you plan on creating a project with your dirt, or unless you are going to be in the business of trading dirt with other collectors, you really don’t need that much. Just an ounce or two is usually plenty. Collecting smaller amounts is also conducive to getting others to help. It is one thing to ask a friend to grab a small handful of dirt from somewhere, it is quite another to ask for several pounds. Sometimes you will find that people will bring you back far more than you expect; all the better for the budding collector.
Storing and Displaying
There are countless ways to store and display your dirt, but storing your dirt in a closet or cabinet is not nearly as fun and interesting as putting your dirt collection on display. If you are going to set up a display for your dirt, you might want to look into finding clear glass or plastic containers of a similar size and shape. By having containers of the same size and shape, you put the variety of dirt on display and not the variety of containers. Make sure that your containers have a good lid that makes a strong seal, so that there is no chance of spillage. When you have accumulated a decent amount of dirt you will have a very interesting spectrum of dirt indeed.
Whether you are storing or displaying you dirt, you will need to come up with an effective way to label your dirt. If you start accumulating dirt without keeping track, it won't be long before you will forget which dirt is which and where it is all from. You may want to include where the dirt is from, who collected the dirt, and what year it was collected. Just those three bits of information can make a smart looking display label, as well as serve for a memory trigger if you want to capture more details later.
Refining and Defining Your Collection
What kind of dirt are you looking for? Do you want dirt from a particular place? Do want dirt of a particular type? Here are a few different types of collections you could go for.
- Sand - Sand from various beaches either locally or from a variety of places can be very interesting. The beauty of a strictly sand collection is the consistency in the size of the sand particles and the natural beauty of sand itself. The subtle differences in the different types of sands is interesting.
- The United States - Getting a sample of dirt from all 50 states can be a challenge, but it sets itself up to be a great display. A very patriotic idea. Some of the states may be hard to acquire dirt from; Alaska and Hawaii, for example.
- The World - Setting your scope wider than the United States is a huge challenge, but would be an awesome collection. Unless you are a world traveler, you will need help with this one. Some countries are more traveled than others and would be easier to get dirt from. You could also pare this endeavor down to one particular continent, such as Europe.
- Famous Locations - What is the dirt from Loch Ness like? Have you seen the ground around the great wall of China? How is the earth near Buckingham Palace? With a dirt collection from famous places, you can see a little of what it is like. Sometimes this is easier dirt to get, since so many people travel to famous destinations; you just have to find someone who is going and will bring you back some dirt!
Dirt You Many Want to Avoid
Getting dirt from your front yard is fine and you may want that to be your first specimen of dirt for your collection. What you need to realize is that most suburban lots have turf and dirt that was trucked in during construction and consequently the dirt that you may be collecting is not very unique to your location. If you just want it for the geography of it all, that is fine. You will notice that many suburban and city locations are like this.
Also, when traveling and stopping on the side of the road to grab some dirt, perhaps from a particular county or city, you will want to go off the highway quite a bit, so that you are not just grabbing dirt that was trucked in from the construction of the road surface. Usually you will be able to tell, where the highway dirt ends and the natural dirt of the area begins.