Small boy: Are you a tree inspector?
Me: No I’m looking at lichens
SB: What’s a lichen?
Me: Come and see
Then a dozen small boys, aged 10 -12 playing on scooters came to see the lichens on the sycamore and cherry trees in the B&M car park in Blyth. I showed them how to use the hand lens to look at the few lichens there were. They saw Xanthoria and Physcia, mostly, looking like whole worlds through the hand lens.
SB2: Wow! I’m not being funny but they actually look amazing! (can’t remember his exact words, wish I could)
We chatted about algae and fungi (they said they knew about these from school) and pollution indicators. They all took turns to look. I said to take a photo and they had the great idea of taking it through the hand lens (see above).
SB3: I’m going to show that to Dr XXX (teacher’s name) and I might get a GOLD MARK. Yeah!
I hope Dr XXX gave them all gold marks. I was only in Blyth cos I had to drive to pick up my phone that I’d carelessly left on the coach after fieldtrip. Feeling guilty about carbon footprint of driving all that way. Hope my sharing a bit of lichenology with 12 young boys mitigates.