It’s been a while folks. Here’s what’s been going on: Classes wrapped up in June, but not before the students paired up and presented on different mushroom species, illuminating us with such facts as coprinus spores travel via fly feet. We were lucky enough to have Vikram Dewan, President of the Philadelphia Zoo, join us for a tour of the school and a peek at what we’re doing on the farm. There are some interesting developments at the zoo as well including a revamped Children’s Zoo and plans for a new tract design for housing the animals.
It was a pleasure working with Miss Mac’s AP Environmental Science class this year. Best of luck to graduating seniors, and if you’re returning in September be sure to tell me about any strange fungi you discovered over the summer. I realize many of you might not have Miss Mac next year, but either way you’re always welcome to check out or help out with the mushroom projects.
The Toshiba Grant is in process. If they accept our request, we will have $4000 to build a complete lab along with a small fruiting chamber.
We have our first log! John I, pictured amongst the logs after a long day of cutting and hauling, instructed me on how not to remove my legs with a chainsaw. This log was sitting in the stacks for a while so whether the mycelium is healthy enough to produce remains to be seen.
And finally, an unknown Cordyeps species found parasitizing an assassin bug in Fairmount Park. Cordyceps are well known for a few amazing properties. If you’ve seen the Jungles episode of Planet Earth, you saw Cordyceps attacking ant colonies, the fungus compelling the ants’ simple brains to move their infected bodies into the canopy and to secure their mandibles into branches so that the fruitbody can grow and spread its spores. Wild specimens of Cordyceps Sinensis go for $2000/Oz, more than gold! These caterpillar-eating mushrooms have profound effects on the body, increasing oxygen absorption, arterial dilation, and ATP levels so that you can work out harder, or so that you can climb past 14,000 feet in the Himalayas to find them. If you don’t want to make the trek to Bhutan, you can find supplements from Onnit.com and Fungi.com.