During the summer we often go wildcrafting in the mountains. Almost always a number of things are ready to harvest at any one time. Everyone is equipped with a bag of his/her own and, if needed, a pair of scissors. The youngest kids are shown the plants we are looking for and how to harvest them.
“This is Navajo Tea. It's also called Green Thread. Look at the stalk. See how straight and slim it is, like a green thread? Now look at the leaves; see how they are like spears? Now look at the flower. Look very, very close. What do you see?”
“Lots of tiny petals. And a tiny black bug.”
“Right. They won't all have black bugs on them, but they will all have those tiny petals. Here is where you cut them. Don't pull up the roots, just cut them. Also, when you find a bunch growing like this, you can cut most of it, but leave some for seed.”
This is like treasure hunting for kids. It's so much fun we come back with a dozen bags full of all sorts of plants—some for replanting, some for drying, and some for eating!