Fun with fungi
IT’S UK Fungus Day this weekend (yes, the ‘day’ is extended across 48 hours), and at College Lake, the Wildlife Trust is celebrating the arrival of nature in its weird and beautiful forms.
Fungi are nature’s original recyclers. They come in all shapes, colours and sizes – pencil thin or beefsteak thick, bright scarlet, deep purple or pale ghostly white, as big as a football or a mere smear of slime.
Fungi are essential for the good health of our land. We need them in our gardens, woodlands and meadows because they turn leaf litter, dead vegetation and wood into nutrients that feed the soil and the plants that thrive there.
This week the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust is running special Fungi Days at its College Lake nature reserv with trails, spotter sheets and children’s arts and crafts on Saturday and Sunday, from 10.30am to 3pm each day.
Join a Fungi Walk between 11am and 12.30pm on each day to find out from knowledgeable experts why fungi are so extraordinary.
Owain Hegarty, the warden at College Lake, is looking forward to the events.
He said: “We want everyone to have fun and learn about these amazing living organisms safely. Our experts are from the Bucks Fungus Group and the Herts and Beds Fungi Group, and they will be leading the walks around the nature reserve.
“Some of the fungi here have amazing names: Wrinkled Peach, Smoky Spindles, Meadow Coral and Blackening Waxcap. Many of them, like the Birch Webcap, are inedible, but the Shaggy Inkcap, which is sometimes known as Lawyer’s Wig, can be eaten when it’s young,”
Foraging for fungi has become a lucrative pastime for people who have permission to harvest these very special fruiting bodies. Collecting fungi to eat is not permitted on protected sites, including Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves.
The Wild Mushroom Picker’s Code of Conduct strongly advises people to learn from experts before they start and only pick a few fungi for their own consumption. Most fungi are inedible or poisonous, so never pick unless you are absolutely certain that it is safe and legal to do so.
Have a fun Fungi Day at College Lake instead! www.bbowt.org.uk/collegelake.
Making its presence felt is Shaggy Inkcap or Lawyer’s Wig