Michelle Cusolito: Go Mushroom Hunting With Your Kids
From: Polliwog on Safari
October 19, 2012 at 08:33AM
|Photo taken in Bartlett, NH 6 Oct 2012|
Many people associate autumn with aging and the approach of death. Indeed many poems have been written about being in the “autumn” of one’s life. Sure, annual plants die during the first frost. Deciduous trees lose their leaves and look dead to some. But around here, mushroom/fungi seem to come to life out of nowhere during September and October.
Have you noticed how many are around? Last year, I took a walk and focused on locating and photographing the variety of mushrooms I saw. Yesterday, I left my camera at home but saw just as many when I was out in our woods.
So here’s a nature adventure for you and your kids this weekend- go out mushroom hunting! Maybe hand your kids a point and shoot camera and see how many they can photograph. (Use the “macro” setting to get good shots. The symbol looks like a flower on most cameras). Later, you can try to identify them using a field guide, if you choose.
CAUTION: Just remember that many mushrooms are poisonous. Only trained experts should pick and eat mushrooms. In fact, I generally encourage my kids not to touch mushrooms because I can’t identify the poisonous ones. If we do touch them, we immediately wash our hands thoroughly.
How many different kinds of mushrooms do you think you can find? Have your kids make a prediction before you go out. Then, I hope you’ll report back to us!
If you don’t live in the northeast or an area with lots of mushrooms right now, what organism can you search out this weekend? I’d love to hear what you find.