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Showing posts from December, 2014

Mushrooms

The Sierra Outdoor School has been getting much needed rain showers, and with those showers appear nature’s oddballs—mushrooms.  Mushrooms are part of the Fungi Kingdom and are actually only a small part of a much larger organism.





Apples of the dirt A mushroom is much like an apple on a tree—existing to carry and spread seeds.  The mushroom version of a seed is called a spore.  The “tree” a mushroom grows on is called the mycelium, an underground network of hair-like fibers.  The mycelium can be as small as a few square feet and as large as several thousand acres. 


Mushroom examples and their lifestyles Shaggy Mane—Shaggy Mane mushrooms grow in the forest here at SOS but can also be found growing out of lawns in the suburbs.  They are characterized by a “shaggy” cap growing on the end of a stalk.  The underside of the cap contains gills from which spores will eventually drop.  Shaggy Mane is a common example of a saprophyte, an organism which gets its energy and nutrients by digesting de…

Pig Post Post

Here at Sierra Outdoor School, we do not believe in wasting resources. In efforts to reduce our waste we have many programs including an Energy Competition where students can monitor their energy usage, a kitchen with all reusable materials, reusable water bottles for sale, and finally our cutest way to minimize food waste is our "Pig Post". Some people may compost their food waste at home, here the pigs do that for us: we call this "Pig Posting" (get it? :D). 

One of our naturalists, Ed (or Squirrel), has four pigs that live here near the school. These pigs are fed all of the food that students and adults do not eat during their stay at SOS. As a part of a public school system, we are required to prepare a specific amount of food per person per meal, whether they eat it or not, according to California State guidelines. This leads to leftovers at each meal. Our "Pig Post" program feeds the pigs instead of adding to the landfill.

After each meal students …