On Sunday, October 9th, people young and old explored the trails at Blackstone Park in search of ever-mysterious mushrooms and returned to make fun fungi out of clay! The focus of this guided hike was the role of myshrooms in the environment. Some are saprobic, helping break down and recycle nutrients back into the soil. Some are mycorrhizal, helping trees absorb more nutrients while taking their share and connecting trees in a sort of “tree internet”. A few are even parasitic or may take on several roles. One thing most fungus are are opportunistic. We saw many honey fungus on dead oaks who may have taken advantage of trees weakened by gypsy moth caterpillars. We also learned about opportunities mushrooms present to us, as food, medicine, packaging, and potential processors of oil and plastic. There is still much mystery surrounding them, but perhaps working WITH nature, we will find greater harmony.
At our next event with 15 Minute Field Trips, on November 13th, from 10 to 11:30, at Blackstone Field, we will explore trees’ role in mitigating the effects of climate change while identifying leaves and making leaf art. We will also be collecting canned goods for the RI Food Bank and clean, bagged clothes as a fundraiser for reducing food waste in schools by creating composting infrastructure.