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Beyond the mushroom – First UK Fungus Day

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Credit: National Botanic Garden of Wales

From the National Botanic Garden of Wales which allows you to get in free if you come dressed as a fairy and launches Cheryl Beer’s symphonic poem and overture, The Tethered Fairy Ring, to  Kew’s  monumental woven willow sculptures, the Fungi Fairy Ring by Tom Hare, we are  being invited to get inspired by fungi  this weekend.

October 13th is the first UK Fungus Day; as part of this profile-raising event, all over the country British Fungus Groups will be hunting down specimens on public fungus forays (check out “Fungi To Be With” in Greater London for example); life on earth, it seems would not exist without the recycling activities of the million plus species of fungi – nature’s main garbage disposal agents.

As well as recording species ( not picking them), the different organisations involved, including botanic gardens, RHS gardens, National Trust and nature sites and museums, will also be offering opportunities to cook, eat and grow your own edible varieties. The earliest botanic garden fungi collections had the public duty of identifying which mushrooms were safe to pick; this weekend Kew is offering a rare chance to visit its Fungarium for a tour of the largest collection of dried fungi in the world, including the deathly Deathcap mushroom and the ‘life-giving’ Mushroom of Immortality.

If you can’t attend an event you can go on line to record any fungi sightings on iSpot using #ukfungusday or enter the hunt to find the biggest fairy ring.

UK Fungus Day sponsored by The British Mycological Society in partnership with the Society of Biology and supported by the National Botanic Garden of Wales and The Association of British Fungus Groups will launch from Cambridge Science Centre on Sunday although events will be taking place across the weekend.

For further details see:  www.ukfungusday.co.uk

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