A write-up about the Fungi Foundation's recent lesson with Team Wilderness!
July 25, 2022
Directora de Educación
Children in the USA are enjoying a Summer break and we are helping them have even more fun by learning about fungi! Our Education Lead, Diana, had the pleasure of teaching a group of children ages 11-13 all about the wonders of fungi and taking them on an exploration in the woods of New Jersey.
Team Wilderness is a nonprofit organization in Jersey City, New Jersey, that uses an experiential educational model to teach urban teenagers teamwork, leadership, and character. This wonderful organization exposes children to new experiences in the outdoors and provides them with the opportunity to explore and connect with nature.
For some of the children in this group, it was the first time they’ve ever hiked and they sure enjoyed searching and discovering fungi in the forest. After Diana taught an introductory lesson about the life cycle of fungi and mycorrhizal networks, the children were given baskets and magnifying glasses to explore parts of fungi in the forest. Many of the children screamed with joy when they found mycelium growing under logs. They found Turkey Tail and False Turkey Tail, and they even discovered a full mushroom hiding underground.
The children enjoyed it so much that they skipped their planned hike to continue their fungi exploration! We are overjoyed to see children so cheerful after learning about fungi with us, and we can’t wait to see how these kids grow and spread their mycelial knowledge to others.
Fungi may hold the key to reversing what we’ve broken, but we only know about a tiny fraction of all the biodiversity and magic of this kingdom. They are plants’ best friends, they heal us, they are responsible for numerous scrumptious foods, and they make sustainable biomaterials. We owe them life as we know it and we could not exist without them. On this #EarthDay we chose ten reasons why fungi are crucial for life on the planet.
The discovery of wide genetic variety in fungal species previously thought to belong to the same evolutionary lineages, termed “cryptic species' ', has prompted scientists to re-visit traditional scientific naming systems and call for more research into fungi taxonomy. But what is the best way to reconcile traditional scientific naming systems with new methods of species identification?