Enter another world ... fascinating fungi ... cobwebs beaded with dew ... multi-coloured leaves.
Updated: Nov 6
Enter another world… fascinating fungi … multi-coloured leaves ... cobwebs beaded with dew … a rustle and crunch in the undergrowth.
Your challenge this week is to ask your parent / carer to take you exploring in the woods. Can you identify five different trees? Find a decaying log on the ground - who lives underneath? How many different fungi can you spot? – take a photo or draw a picture (you can check out some great photos taken by Alice - one of our first Young Climate Warriors – at https://www.youngclimatewarriors.org/gallery). Please DON’T TOUCH FUNGI as some of them can be poisonous. See how many different seed types you can find – conkers, beech nuts, acorns, sycamore helicopters? Find the biggest, brightest orange leaf. Look up to the canopy - how tall are the trees? What do the different tree barks feel like? Can you stretch your arms around a tree trunk?
You are one of a thousand Young Climate Warriors – let your voice be heard – tell us when you have completed this challenge by HITTING THE RED BUTTON!
Trees are one of Planet Earth’s most powerful natural defences against climate change as they ‘store’ carbon. They soak up Carbon Dioxide to make food for themselves using the sun’s energy, and trap it in their trunks, branches, roots and leaves. To combat climate change we need to REDUCE the amount of carbon we emit into the atmosphere. We can also help fight climate change by INCREASING the amount of carbon we ‘store’ – in plants, soil and the ocean.
Meanwhile, down on the ground hidden under the autumn leaves, fungi are a clue to another part of the story of climate change – the complicated ways in which changes in temperature and weather patterns are affecting many forms of life. Some fungi are becoming more common or are moving to new areas, whilst others are changing or are becoming rarer as a result of climate change.
Scientists who study fungi are called ‘mycologists.’ They have named 144,000 species of fungi – but estimate that there are at least 2 million more species that are unknown to science. Fungi are critical for storing carbon dioxide in soils as well as breaking down leaves, dead trees and other organic matter so that their nutrients can be recycled and used by other plants. Fungi also provide many direct benefits to humans, from edible mushrooms, to bread and drinks made using yeasts, to antibiotics like penicillin. At the same time, other fungi cause devastating plant and animal diseases. For all these reasons, it’s really important that scientists learn more about how climate change is affecting fungi.
Once you’ve done some exploring, why not make some warming mushroom soup; get crafty with your collection of autumn leaves (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2020/10/autumn-leaf-crafts-for-kids/); test your knowledge of British trees with the Woodland Trust’s online quiz: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2020/09/autumn-leaf-identification-quiz-can-you-identify-these-10-trees/; or plant a tree and get involved in the Woodland Trust's Big Climate Fightback, which aims to plant FIFTY MILLION trees in the UK in the next five years.
Have fun exploring in the woods and don’t forget to HIT THE RED BUTTON and tell us when you have completed this challenge.