Saturday 5th November 2016: Fungi Walk and Leaf Fireworks

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Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers enjoyed a very special session at the RSPB Coombes Valley reserve looking for all kinds of fungi . Fungi exist in virtually every habitat on earth and range from simple single-celled organisms to highly complex multi-cellular structures.  We are mainly familiar with the fruiting bodies of fungi that we refer to as mushrooms or toadstools, although these are usually supported by a much larger mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus, a mass of interwoven filaments growing in the ground or through rotten wood.
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Leader Martin explained some details about the biology of fungi, how they reproduce using spores, the different types of fungi  that the group would be looking for and where best to look. He brought along examples of several interesting species including wax caps and puffballs.
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Wildlife Explorers spotted lots of fungi around the reserve including a number of different bracket fungi  growing out from the sides of the trees  and tiny toadstools pushing through the leaf litter.
The children had lots of fun exploring the reserve canopy walkway, getting a bird’s eye view of the woodland, high above the valley. The reserve looked fantastic with the all leaves on the trees changing to vibrant autumnal shades.
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Although the group enjoyed some rather pleasant autumnal weather for their meeting it was good to warm up a little at the end of the session inside the reserve yurt. Explorers finished the meeting by creating a very wildlife-friendly Bonfire and Fireworks using a gorgeous array of orange, red and golden coloured leaves collected on their walk around the reserve.
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Leader Tina Hanak enthused,  ‘Being outside, enjoying and appreciating  seasonal changes can really fire the imagination for all ages. Children can be creative with no impact on the environment, no cost and a whole host of benefits to their well-being . ’

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