Ottawa County women pen book that encourages scavenger hunt on area spring wildflowers

By Stephanie Lulofs news@grandhaventribune.com Two Ottawa County friends collaborated and came up with a book that is geared toward spring wildflowers in the area. Barb Beck of Jenison and Judy Bergman of Hudsonville created a 36-page book, "Spring Wildflower Scavenger Hunt," that covers the spring wildflowers that can be found in many parks in Ottawa, Kent and Muskegon counties.
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Mar 21, 2011

The idea started to arise last spring. The two friends went out and identified 60 wildflowers. In April, they decided to create their own book. Bergman took the photographs and Beck did the writing.

They had Ottawa County Parks naturalists Kristen Hintz and Chip Franke read their book to make sure the information was accurate.

"Searching for spring wildflowers is a great family activity," Hintz said. "... The scavenger hunt guide that Barb and Judy put together is a tool that can help people focus their attention to the smaller details that often go unnoticed."

The book is 36 pages and is color coordinated by month of when the flowers will bloom. There is a listing of the three different counties and what parks in those counties have some of the flowers.

There is also a point system in the back that helps readers keep track of what flowers they have found. Heavier points are given to the flowers that Bergman and Beck feel are more difficult to find.

"We were gearing it toward families," Bergman said. "We thought they would have fun accumulating their points and becoming a 'wildlife specialist.'"

Beck said it was Bergman's idea to come up with the book, but Beck thought it would be a great idea to make it into a scavenger hunt that she could use in her job as an elementary school teacher.

"It gets people out into nature and to a destination," Beck said. "It gives them something to do."

People are encouraged to look at and enjoy the wildflowers, but not to pick them.

"Wildflowers bloom for a reason," Hintz said. "The flower attracts pollinators. Fertilized flowers produce seeds that are released later in the year so that a new generation of plants grow the next season. A picked wildflower loses its one opportunity to reproduce and pass along its genes.

"Secondly, wildflowers are to be enjoyed by everyone," the parks naturalist continued. "If each person picks a wildflower, then that flower cannot be enjoyed by others who walk the same path."

Bergman and Beck said they priced their book at $4.95 so that it was at a reasonable cost for families.

The book can be purchased at The Bookman in Grand Haven and many Ottawa County parks. It can also be purchased from the authors by e-mailing them at bbwildflowers@gmail.com.

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