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Hide and seek with IOM Rocks

Monday 6 December in Community

Have you come across a mysterious, painted rock whilst out and about? While you may be wondering where these bursts of joy come from, Islandlife spoke to the lady behind the concept – Nicola Dixon Evans.

Where did the idea come from?

The project follows a similar concept to an online Facebook group - painting and hiding rocks in the local community to help put smiles on finders faces. Painting and decorating rocks and shells is something I have done for years during my job as an Educational Support Officer’ in schools. I had done a bit of Geocaching in the past and thought it a similar concept. It’s just something lovely to do and the Isle of Man had never done anything like it before.

How long has this project been running?

A few years now! Once I knew it was something I wanted to do, I went about painting a set of 30 rocks, created the Facebook group IOMRocks and distributed them at places around the Island. I then invited my Facebook friends list whom I knew had children or worked with them, and the rest as they say, is history!

What has the reaction been like from the Manx public?

Really good! I went from about 40 friends to receiving so many join requests by the September that I had to ask two friends to share the admin duties with me. There was literally at least a hundred posts or requests a day at that time. Currently we have more than 8.3K members.

We’re seeing interest peaking like around the school holidays or special occasions like Hop Tu Naa/Halloween Remembrance Day and lock down.

What makes this activity so different to other craft and art projects?

I think it’s more appealing to younger children because there was the joy of finding a rock at the end of it, and the concept being that you can then keep it or re-hide it your choice… Some rocks have been taken abroad and found as far away as Australia!

Why are activities like this so important for the general community?

It’s a great way of spending an afternoon collecting and painting. Plus it’s something different, and it encourages people to get out and enjoy the fresh air in our wonderful Manx countryside, with a special find at the end.

What do you use to paint your rocks?

I personally use nail varnish but others use acrylic paints or permanent marker pens. We have some amazing members who paint regularly. One fantastic member paints rocks to match the characters of little books and puts them out to find in little bags with the books included. She hides them within local glens and always posts to let everyone know when to head out

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