Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tyke Hike #29 - Monches

The last Tyke Hike before the school year hits was wonderful. Despite the heat and humidity, 19 hikers and a pooch hit the Monches Segment in search of the fungus among us.

On this beautiful segment on the edge of Waukesha County, we learned about many different things the fungus that fill the forest floor can do for both people and nature. Between some terribly amazing nature jokes and some fungi facts, we discussed the different types of mushrooms and how we can enjoy some of them for food. Then, we shared information about how they can be used for medicinal purposes.

Lastly, we focused on how fungi are important to the health of the forest. As always, I used questioning to get the children to share what they know and what they think about the topic. An impressive answer from one of our tykes brought up the concept of decomposers. From there, we talked about how trees break down and help keep the forest a great place for both plants and animals to live.

Of course, talking about fungi isn't nearly as much fun as searching for them.  Finding a special place where some decomposing trees were near the trail, the hikers enjoyed some natural play time and found many things. From fungi and lichens to frogs and logs, we enjoyed our discovery time.

The school year slows down the Tyke Hike schedule, but only a bit. We are back to our once-a-month hike, continuing next on Saturday, September 17th at 10AM at the UW-Waukesha Field Station. We will be searching for prairie plant seeds and enjoying a beautiful hike near the Waterville Segment.

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