Mycology May Mystery Tour!
Published 5th May 2023. Written by Maddison O’Brien
It’s cool, damp and dark. It’s silent but more alive than you can imagine. The soil of Earth is a superorganism, with a massive diversity of tiny living things working and churning away beneath our feet. These little creatures are responsible for cycling nutrients, combating compaction and creating topsoil, almost like magic! We often hear lifeforms falling into one of two categories, flora and fauna, but what about fungi?
Did you know that Fungi are neither flora nor fauna and are more genetically similar to humans than plants? They are the forgotten kingdom that is like the glue holding our soil and the very fabric of life together. In recent times, scientists have discovered some mind-blowing things about fungi, and we’ve only just scratched the surface. There’s still a lot to learn about this peculiar group of organisms, one of Earth’s most diverse and widespread. We know so little about Fungi that an estimated 90% of species are still unknown to science.
When we think of fungi, we usually think of mushrooms! Mushrooms are grown or foraged for food and medicine all over the world. But mushrooms are only the reproductive organs of the fungus. The individual fungus extends its tendril-like hypha deep into the soil, connecting with other fungi and other organisms such as trees to form the Mycelial Network. The Mycelial network is a vast web that grows and spreads. It can extend the rootzones of plants and allows plants to access key nutrients which would otherwise be out of reach.
Mycology is the scientific study of fungi. There’s so much to learn about this fascinating world beneath our feet, and we’re talking all about it during Mycology May 2023. Mycology May is an initiative Local Land Services runs in partnership with the Central Tablelands Regional Landcare Network. Many Fungi-themed events are happening across the region, and Watershed Landcare is hosting The Mycology May Mystery in Rylstone on the 27th of May.
What will you find on this magical mystery tour? There’s something special to be discovered among the trees and mushrooms galore. Bring your camera and your wildest imagination, and get ready to leave the forest with a new way of looking at the mystifying realm of mycelium.
This unique event is an educational, interactive and creative experience like no other. Explore the magnificent Ferntree Gully through the lens of the mycelial network. Just like a mushroom emerging through the soil, surprise and mystery will be embraced for this event. We’ll traverse the Reserve and see what fascinating fungi we can find. You’re invited to come along. Don’t miss out. Tickets are limited. Go to watershedlandcare.com.au/events for more info!