The 4 mushroom tips for in the field

It’s autumn… It’s time to look for mushrooms! Damp autumn weather is the ideal time to look for and identify mushrooms. We have set up a video with a number of tips so that you are sure to be successful. Watch the video here! Which species have you spotted?

1 Look below, above or on old tree trunks

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of a fungus. Several fungal threads are attached to the mushroom that run underground or tree bark. You can compare the mushroom with an apple (fruit) on the apple tree. The fungus clears up old material, such as broken tree trunks. That’s why it’s the place to find mushrooms!

2 Search near deciduous trees such as alder and oak

About half of the native mushroom species occur in deciduous forests. Forests with deciduous trees contain relatively less litter and vegetation, which is a favorable environment for many species.

A Xylaria hypoxylon on a black alder

3 Use a mirror and magnifying glass

A mirror is a handy gadget that helps you identify the mushroom. By holding the mirror under the cap of the mushroom you can sometimes see pictures or tubes (depending on the species). The tracks are in these inner walls. For example, a boletus does not have plates but holes, such as porcini mushrooms. You can also use the magnifying glass to get a better look at the details of the mushroom.

4 Bring a search card or download ObsIdentify

A search map is a handy tool that helps you identify the mushroom. Using questions, such as are there holes under the hat, will help you find the right kind. You can order the mushroom search card via our website. Is the species not on the map? Then use ObsIdentify. You take a number of photos of the species, then the app tells you which species it most likely is (with a percentage). Check whether the species is correct by means of a mushroom guide.

Did you know that we also offer mushroom excursions for young and old? At the beginning of this month, Paul organized a mushroom activity with Vrijeschool Kairos! Send us an email for more information about a mushroom field trip.

(Benthic) Animal Day

Animals are important! They are part of a community of life. A meadow is an example of a community. The elderberry, grasshopper and frog are (in)directly dependent on each other within the area. A collection of different living communities is called an ecosystem. Like a forest and heathland.

Animals are an important part of our fieldwork programs. We study, determine and establish relationships between fauna (biotic) and abiotic factors in an area. Even the littlest ones are studied at Natuurkampen: benthic animals.

Zoekkaart Bodemdieren | webwinkel ARK

Source: ARK

Benthic animals can be found just above the ground and in the benthic zone (the layer below the ground where organisms still exist). They are important for keeping the soil healthy. Soil animals mixed the earth by moving in the soil and fed on dead plant and animal remains.

Benthic animal research is discussed during field work days. We discuss the different techniques for searching, catching and identifying benthic animals. Then the students do their own research. An investigation that took place earlier this year was: the biodiversity in benthic animals and the moisture of the soil. Very interesting!

The benthic animal days are currently taking place to introduce young and old to the benthic life! Activities and workshops are taking place throughout the Netherlands and you can download teaching materials online. You can also participate in the benthic animal count, where you note down the observed animals. This provides a better picture of the benthic animals present in NL. All information can be found on the website of the bodemdierendagen.

Are there microplastics in my shower gel?

Did you know that many products contain mini pieces of plastic? You will find them in care products, soaps, toothpaste and much more… These plastic particles of approximately one millimeter are called microbeads. The granules can easily go through the sewage, which makes them very harmful to the environment.

You can do your own research into the presence of microbeads, in the classroom or at home. How does it work?

Ask the students to each bring a product from home or purchase a number of products, such as toothpaste, cleaning agent, soap, mascara, etc. On the label of the product, you can see if there are plastics present. This is usually under the name of polyethylene, polypropylene or polystyrene.

You will also need:

  • Tablespoon
  • Coffee pot
  • Coffee filter holder
  • Multiple coffee filters
  • 2 glass jugs
  • Boiled water
You can conduct an investigation for the presence of microbeads by means of the following steps:
  • You mix a large spoon of the care product in the hot water in the heat-resistant pitcher. Stir the mixture until it is completely dissolved.
  • After this, place the coffee filter open in the coffee filter holder
  • Then pour the liquid into the coffee pot
  • Do you see speckles? These are microbeads. Use a new coffee filter with every care product so that you can clearly see the number of micro-grains.

An additional tool to check whether you are buying a product without plastics is: Beat the Microbead. This app is free to download. You scan the product and then see whether microbeads have been processed in the product.