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All Grades

School garden-science lessons included on this page are appropriate for all grade levels.

January 11th – Turkey Tail and Artist Conk

December 14th – Chicken of the Woods

  • This mushroom is a polypore, meaning they disperse spores through small pores (holes) on the underside of their caps.
  • The different species of the chicken of the woods mushroom are both saprotrophic (feeding on dead trees), and parasitic (attacking and killing live trees by causing the wood to rot). Whatever their method of feeding, you’ll always find them growing on or at the base of a living or dead tree.
  • Chickens are easily recognized by their large clusters of overlapping brackets, and bright yellow-orangish colors. The colors fade as the mushroom grows older.
  • Many polypores are also medicinal mushrooms, although there hasn’t been much research done on this one.
  • Other names are chicken fungus, chicken mushroom, and sulphur shelf. The genus is Laetiporus.
  • There are about twelve species of chicken of the woods in the Laetiporus genus.

November 2nd – Stinkhorns

It “hatches.” It smells like death. Some have a questionable shape. What’s not to love about stinkhorn mushrooms?

Stinkhorn mushrooms like to grow on rotting organic matter, so you typically find them in your mulch beds. Like all mushrooms, what we see is only a small part of the actual fungus. Under the ground, there are thousands of threads called mycelium. Every so often, the fungus sends up a fruiting body we can see to release spores so that it can spread. In the case of the stinkhorn mushroom, it sends up a young fruiting body that almost looks like an egg. As it matures, the mushroom appears to “hatch” from the egg, rapidly growing!

Stinkhorn mushrooms emit a fetid scent (a stinking smell) meant to attract flies and beetles that aid in the spread of the stinkhorn spores. So keep your eyes and nose on the lookout for stinkhorn mushrooms in your neighborhood.

October 19 – Sisters are soooo helpful

Do you have siblings? Ms. Ashley does. Here is her sister pretending to be Ms. Ashley giving a gardening lesson.

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