This month’s nature experienceship will be led by Dr. Larry St. Clair, a BYU botany professor and the curator of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum’s nonvascular cryptogams. Dr. St. Clair will talk especially about lichens found in the Rocky Mountains. Each participant will receive a copy of Dr. St. Clair’s book Common Rocky Mountain Lichens.
Why learn about lichens?
1) Lichens are one of nature’s most interesting mini-ecosystems! A fungus and a photosynthetic partner come together in a symbiotic relationship to form something complex and beautiful (Lichens, by William Purvis, page 5). Kind of like people, right? As individuals, we are unique and wonderful, but when we come together in communities, we can accomplish a lot of great things!
2) Lichens are found all over the world, including in some of the weirdest places imaginable— toxic waste piles, Antarctica, on grave stones— and virtually in all other types of environments.
3) Lichens are an important part of understanding our planet’s health. Because lichens are sensitive organisms, pollution can kill them off more quickly than many other organisms in nature. The amount of lichen growth or decline can help scientists to assess air quality in an area! Basically, lichens are one of Earth’s natural pollution-o-meters! (Lichens, by William Purvis, pages 4 and 101)
4) Lichens are beautiful. They come in many beautiful colors and shapes. The pictures below will give you a taste of lichens’ natural beauty.
5) The Bean Museum has one of the largest collections of lichens in the world, which makes this one of the best places to learn about lichens!
We hope to see you this Saturday at the Nature Experienceship. Call 801-422-5051 to sign up. The cost is $10, and included in that cost is admission to the Nature Experienceship and a copy of Common Rocky Mountain Lichens.