Enter another world … wondrous woods … fascinating fungi ... cobwebs beaded with dew … This week your challenge is to go exploring in the woods (with your parent/carer). Can you identify five different trees – try this Woodland Trust quiz? Find a decaying log on the ground – how many different fungi can you spot? 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? Can you 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 give a tree a hug - stretch your arms around a tree trunk?
How about getting arty? Take some autumnal photos? Use leaves and seeds to make some ‘leaf fireworks’ or woodland emojis? Check out this list of other Woodland Trust crafty ideas? Send us photos of your creations – we’d love to share them with the rest of your virtual Young Climate Warriors team!
Why are trees one of Planet Earth’s most powerful natural defences against climate change? It’s because 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 by INCREASING the amount of carbon we ‘store’ – in plants, soil and the ocean.
Have you ever stopped to think about fungi? Scientists who study fungi are called Mycologists, and they estimate that there are 2 - 4 million different species of fungi on Earth – that’s up to six times the number of plant species! Fungi are crucial to the health of our woodlands, they break down organic matter – like leaves and dead trees – enabling it to be recycled and used by other plants. Fungi also play a really important role in helping our soils store carbon dioxide – helping to combat climate change. Can you think of other examples of how fungi are really beneficial to us humans? Aside from edible mushrooms that are considered to have numerous health benefits; yeast – used in making bread and drinks – is a fungus, penicillin - an antibiotic used to treat infections caused by bacteria - is produced by a fungus. Other fungi however can cause devastating plant and animal diseases. For all these reasons, it’s really important that scientists learn more about the world of fungi, and how climate change is impacting it.
Have fun exploring in the woods and don’t forget to HIT THE RED BUTTON and tell us when you have completed this challenge.