Monday, 7 October 2013

The Serendipitous Mushroom Hunt


The Spark: 
Quick!  It's a cold, crisp autumn day, a day just like today, just after a rainfall day and you look outdoors to see a most amazing sight.  Fungi popping-up all around! Get on your raincoat and goulashes and don't forget the mosquito repellant, let's embark on a wondrous quest into the forests, lawns, parks, meadows, abandoned lots in your neighbourhood.  Let's delve into the fascinating world of fungi!

WARNING!  DO NOT EAT ANY MUSHROOMS WITHOUT CONSULTING AN EXPERT OR THE CONSENT OF YOUR PARENTS.

Interested?
Calling all Super, Natural Superheroes to ACTIVATE!  This quest is a pop-up nature quest that gets you learning about, examining, hunting, and closely observing where in the world mushrooms grow. Specifically, we will be looking at what substrate fungi grow on.  This mushroom hunt will look at the three "L" words: Leaves, Logs, and Land as places to find fungi growing.  Fungi are fun to explore and really cool to find.  They could be hiding in the tiniest of crevasses, among the leaves in the underbrush or clinging onto a fallen tree.  Get out your magnifying glasses, loupes, or just use your own eyes.  Let's go on a fun fall mushroom hunt!

Start Your Quest:
Why:  To go on a mushroom hunt.  To identify fungi, find out what substrate they grow on and why they grow there.
What:  To look for the three "L" words.  Where do fungi grow:  Leaves, Logs (dead trees), and Land.  To use an eye loupe, magnifying glass, or microscope to more closely examine the gills, pores, or smooth bottoms of the mushrooms.  To marvel over the different formation, shapes, sizes, colours that fungi grow into.  To look at an possibly begin some categorization of similar fungi formations.
Where: In parks, forests, meadows, lawns... or any nearby patch of nature.
Who:  You, your family, and friends.
When:  As soon as you can get yourself organized.
How:  Find out below.  It's a S.N.CH. or is it?

Take Action:

1.  What you will need:

Raincoat
Splash pants
Goulashes
Eye Loupes
Magnifying Glass
Microscope
Parchment Paper for collecting
Plastic Egg Carton for collecting

2.  Before you Begin:
We will be on the hunt for fungi and looking at where they grow, live and get their nutrients from.
Substrates will be one of three "L" words (this makes it easier to remember):
LEAVES
LOGS (dead trees on the ground or may also be standing)
LAND

3.  Examples:

LEAVES



LOGS






LAND






4.  Photography:
Take pictures of all of your findings.  Don't forget to include the land, log, or leaf that the fungi are growing out of for your records.  Create a 'Fungi Photo Album' include one image of each type of fungi.

5.  Specimen samples:
If you go out fungi hunting in a group, it would be a good idea to collect just one specimen of all the fungi you collect so that we keep natural areas in tack as much as possible.  Take the specimens back to you examination area (indoor or out)  and start looking at the different specimen types more closely.  What substrate were they growing on?  Where do they like to get their nutrients from?  Is it land, logs, or leaves?  Are they parasitic, mycorrhizal, or are they decomposers? Do they have gills, pores and tubes, do they look like sponges, corals, or are they toothed?  See if you can group them into similar features.  Use a fungi guide to see if you can identify them.

Don't Stop Here:
This quest is just the beginning of a life long quest into the vast world of fungi.  Keep on researching and finding out more about them.  Who knows, it may turn into a life long quest?

Quest Check:
Follow us to keep checking up on our quest to see if your interests match our quests. 

1 comment:

  1. Okay quite a lot here although there are some definate honey mushrooms which are edible...

    ReplyDelete