Plant expert Dr. Sarah Meiss will explain how to identify mushrooms as part a collaboration with the Carnegie Science Center.
Dr. Sarah Meiss, an associate professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Cal U, is partnering with the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh as part of its virtual Earth Week events April 20-26.
Meiss, a plant biology expert, will show children how to make a mushroom spore print as part of Toadstool Tuesday on April 21.
“One of the ways to identify mushrooms is to look at the spores they produce,” she said. “I’m going to demonstrate how to use a mushroom cap, water and a cover to create humidity so that the mushroom will send its spores out.”
She also plans to help outdoor adventurers identify morel mushrooms, which can be found in early spring.
Since the science center has been closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, staff have developed an online program called Three Things — something to read, watch and do — to keep visitors and online followers engaged. Content is posted on the center’s Facebook page.
“We try to provide a science article, a video produced by our staff, and an activity that families can do at home,” said Nicole Chynoweth, the Science Center’s marketing, public relations and social media manager. “It’s a mini-lesson plan for parents who have kids at home all day.”
“There will be different themes throughout Earth Week. On Tuesday, we’re doing an online screening of the film Fantastic Fungi, and Sarah will help with the hands-on activities.”
This is the second recent collaboration between Cal U and the Science Center. Last fall, Dr. Cassandra Kuba, an expert in anthropology, was on hand to answer questions at Mummies of the World: An Exhibition.
Further collaboration between Kuba and the center is being planned.
“We love having local experts on board to add to the content,” Chynoweth said. “It’s been amazing and heartwarming to see the way educational institutions have been working together to keep kids learning at home.”
“There is a sense of connection,” Meiss added. “Kids from all over Western Pennsylvania will be learning and doing the same activities.
“It inspires me to think that we can still go out and enjoy nature. We can use this time to learn something new and also to educate differently.”