Last week we introduced you to the kindness rock movement and some of the pros and cons of taking part. We discovered that if precautions are taken to ensure a no-trace principal is followed and respect was given to our environment and the owners of properties etc; then the spread of kindness through rocks could be a great way to build community spirit.

This week, we’ve caught up with Colleen Greenwood; founder and main contributor of the kindness rock community, Pittsworth Rock Drop (P.R.D) in the small town of Pittsworth, about 40 minutes West of Toowoomba. Colleen has given us some great insight into what it’s like to run a kindness rock community.

1. What gave you the idea to start a kindness rock group within your own community?

A friend of Colleen’s found a rock while away on holidays at Woodgate and then a little while after that, Colleen and her family were on a day trip in Redcliffe QLD when they found one as well. On the back of the rock they found it read “QLD Rocks” with the facebook logo, which quickly prompted her to visit the Facebook page. This is where she fell in love with the idea of creating a local group in her small community to find and share rocks. With the goal of spreading kindness and cheer throughout her community, Mrs Greenwood then set out ready to decorate her first set of rocks.

2. How do you think it has a positive impact on the children, community and public attitude towards nature?

Colleen says that for her, one of the positive parts behind rock hunting is that it allows kids to get out exploring the town. While hunting for rocks, kids are out in the fresh air and away from computer screens. The joy on a child’s face when they spot a rock is indescribable and all 257 members of the Facebook group would likely agree, that’s probably the most rewarding part.

When the children are busy creating and painting the rocks and then eventually hiding them to share with others, Colleen says it builds a sense of accomplishment. This is a great first step in introducing children to that warm and fizzy feeling that we all get when doing something kind for someone else without expecting anything in return. It’s a fun and interactive way to introduce a “give rather than receive” attitude towards life. She has noticed that it’s a great way of teaching kids that it’s okay to give something and not have anything given to them in return and how a tiny act of kindness can go a long way in someone else’s life.

One of the positive impacts on the community is that we now have less children throwing rocks around and accidental property damage or injuries because of kids not respecting their environment or community. Children are now showing a love of all things nature around them while out and about, especially the younger children. The kids in the Pittsworth community now like to look for rocks to find and share and appreciate how fun and kind nature can be.

Painted kindness rocks by Mal Bunyan

Christmas kindness rocks by Colleen Greenwood

3. What have you learned in terms of pros and cons since starting the local movement?

“With everything, there are pros and cons.” said Colleen. However, some that come straight to mind would be:

Pros: How excited and happy it makes kids when looking for rocks and when they finally come across one. It also means a great deal to Colleen to see how quickly and without hesitation her community will get behind a positive movement like this and go out looking and searching for rocks.

Cons: Some families only want to find and collect the rocks. Which would be just fine if they adopted the catch and release policy that Mrs Greenwood’s rock group so clearly states in their Facebook guidelines. However, some families tend to hoard their finds and not contribute any of their own back out into the community. Colleen said that this was eventually a huge turn off for some of the local ladies who put so much time and effort into their creations.

4. What are some of the themes your group has painted rocks for and what were your top favourites?

A quick look through her local Facebook group would reveal that this tiny little community has been able to tackle several different themes in the last year of operating. There have been lady bug lines, ANZAC rocks, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, home-schooling, tic tac toe interactive games, kind messages, Indigenous art, Anti-bullying and much much more! Colleen’s top two favourite themes though, were the Halloween and Christmas themes. She loved how colourful they came out and all the different designs created by the locals, as well as the contribution to community spirit during two of her favourite holidays!

5. Do you have any advice for someone who is looking at starting their own local community rock group?

Colleen’s top tips are that you don’t need expensive supplies to paint rocks. As long as your have products are that non-toxic to the environment and a sealer then you’re good to go. Not very good at drawing? “No problem” says Colleen, “you don’t need to be an artist to paint rocks. Kids are happy to find anything. Don’t hold back and just give it a go!”

Kindness rock groups are starting to explode with popularity and it’s no secret why! Thanks to Colleen’s insight into her community rock drop movement, we all now have the knowledge to get out there and give it a go ourselves! The sky’s the limit when it comes to things you can paint and the messages you could send with your rocks. Be sure to share with us some of your creations because we would love to see!

Check out our previous blog about Spreading kindness with rocks.