By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Staff
Nature sparked kid-friendly fun in Needham on July 16 as Amanda Boyanowski-Morin of Mastermind Adventures stopped by on a Saturday morning to share knowledge of plants, nature, and "druidcraft" in general. The term "druidcraft" was originally used to describe a “nature power” spell in the game Dungeons and Dragons; Boyanowski-Morin reinterpreted the concept to get gamers into nature -- and to recall the Druids, whose knowledge of the natural world, particularly how to use it to aid humans, was legendary.
“I grew up obsessed with my library, but my parents didn’t have the ability to take me hiking as much," Amanda explained. "I always make sure the plants I bring, you can find anywhere. It’s important to me to tailor to kids who live in cities, as well as suburbs.” To that end, Boyanowski-Morin brought items from home to show children what’s lurking in Needham and the New England area -- and share some interesting facts, including ways they could be used by people. Clover, for example, contains an edible flower. She passed around a collection of multiple dried clovers, varying in size. “Four leaf clovers," she shared, "are a genetic mutation. When you find one, chances are, in the same path, there are more close by.”
Boyanowski-Morin went over safety guidelines in the world of druidcraft, as well. The biggest: don’t eat anything you can’t identify! She also advised not to eat anything too close to roads (as there’s a chance the items might be contaminated by motor oil or other human-related pollutants). Another big rule: books at the library can help as guides to aid in identifying plants -- and there are also apps available that use photo recognition to save and investigate local flora and fauna.
Continuing on the summer reading theme of Beyond the Beaten Path, kids in attendance learned more about the plants on display, then found themselves both exploring outside the library for plants, and checking out books on the topic.
For a full event calendar at the Needham Free Public Library, visit https://needhamlibrary.org