On Thursday 9th November Years 3 and 4 headed out with Mrs Castle and Ms Norton to East Ruston Poor’s Allotment. The common is composed of a mixture of gorse heathland, birch woodland and grazing land. We discussed the Silver Birch as a really good example of a pioneer species, one of the first trees to begin to grow in open land.
Exploring the woodland we got onto our focus of the day, finding and identifying the fungal species that we could find on the forest floor.
The children took hand-lenses, an identification guide and plastic tub and were set the challenge to find as many different mushrooms as they could.
We found a great selection of mushrooms, and began to use the identification guides to organise them into groups. A lot of the mushrooms we found had gills and therefore we were able to make spore prints with them, such as the well know Toadstool, known as a the ‘Fly Agaric’, with its large red cap and white spots. Other interesting fungi that we found was the large ‘Wood Bolete’ that has pores rather than gills and a variety of jelly fungus.
As well as hunting for fungi the pupils learnt about the importance of this species to the environment, especially trees. We recreated an above ground network of mycelium to demonstrate what happens below ground.
Great fun was had by all!!