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Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Bushcraft Art and Crafts (Fungi Spore PrintsFungi all )

In the Northern Hemisphere we all hope for a white Christmas, unfortunately for most of us in the UK we will be disappointed and our dreams of practising winter bushcraft and survival skills, like building a quinze, will be postponed for another year.

With or without snow though crisp, cold Autumn and Winter days are my favourite time to be outdoors but with or without snow it can sometimes be a challenge to get young people enthusiastic about being out of doors when the weather is cold. Here is one idea for you though;

Fungi all leave a spore print and these can be used in children art projects
 All fungi produce spores, these are the equivalent of seeds in plants in that from those spores new fungi can develop although they are biologically very different. These spores can be used to produce very interesting pieces of art work with children. Spore prints can also be used to help identify fungi the colour of the spores varies just as much between species as the physical appearance of the fungi.

At this stage it is important to make that warning that should accompany any fungi foraging or activity that involves fungi, BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL, although you aren’t necessarily going to eat these fungi that doesn’t mean you can be any less careful. All fungi produce spores even poisonous ones and do you want your children handling poisonous species at all?

The safest approach with fungi is just not to touch species you aren’t 100% sure of. 

The spore print from a bollete
Once you have picked some fungi you can arrange them carefully on paper or card that will show of the spore deposit best, you will need a few different colours of paper. The fungi we collected this time included some inedible species but nothing really poisonous. This variety allowed us to make some different patterns using the different colours of spores. 

It won't take long to leave a spore print, a few minutes is often enough but if you leave it an hour or so, or potentially overnight you will get a darker print.

A tractor with field mushroom spore wheels
An excellent benefit of this activity and others which involve opportunities for children to work with natural materials gathered from the wild is the chance to help children engage with nature and the countryside environment around them.

This is one of the greatest benefits of practising Bushcraft with children, the hard core bushcraft skills can come later but it's the experiences of nature and the environment, an appreciation and general knowledge of local wildlife, imagination, self reliance and confidence that are the greatest benefits to young children.  

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