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Children's Forays

 

At first the idea of mushroom and toadstool hunting for children may seem an appalling prospect to most parents, but it can be extremely rewarding and may indeed sow the all-important seeds of a future generation of fungus conservationists.

 

The Fungus Conservation Trust has been proud to collaborate with the National Trust over a number of years in running Saturday morning children's mushroom hunts at one of its properties. These events have gained enormous popularity and each year would-be young mushroomers have to be turned away because we put a strict limit on numbers and adhere to a clearly defined ratio of children to adult helpers. The adult assistants are all scrupulously vetted by the National Trust and parents leave their youngsters with us in full confidence.

The Trust's junior mushroom hunts teach children from the age of six or seven the basics of countryside rules, the do's and dont's of foraying for and collecting fungi, and the rudiments of identification. They learn that very few fungi are dangerous and discover the fascinating range of shapes, textures, colours and smells that these remarkable life forms produce. A foray suddenly becomes a treasure hunt!

The Trust is looking to extend this pioneering venture into other National Trust centres. If you feel that your children would enjoy mushroom hunting in company with others of similar age and under careful supervision, please contact Hazel Malcolm at the Fungus Conservation Trust.

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