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Middle-schoolers Making Moss Magic

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[caption id="attachment_378" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Yeah, you can touch it!"]Middleschool Moss Mavericks![/caption] Middle-schoolers made moss magic this afternoon in Brevard, NC. About a dozen kids, both boys and girls, actively participated in a lively discussion of bryophytes – focusing on some of our local mosses. They learned botanical names for various types as they had the chance to touch pleurocarpus and acrocarpus types. Using loupes, these Jr. Earthkeepers at Brevard Middle School got to take their own closer look at specimens, including some in sporophytic stage. This afterschool club is sponsored by the Transylvania Garden Club. In a whirlwind of information, these eager moss apprentices learned about unique botanical characteristics, substrates and microclimates. We talked about environmental benefits of having moss lawns versus grass. Responsible land stewardship was mentioned so that kids would recognize the value of mosses as a forest resource and not take moss from our public forests. One young man brought up the myth about the using mosses in the woods as your compass. My response was that it is not a good idea in these parts since you can find mosses growing all the way around trees. You might be going round and round in circles instead of finding North. Culminating our hands-on experience, each student made their own moss dish garden using Dicranum, Thuidium, Heterophyllium, and Leucobryum moss types. Accents of Cladonia lichens (reindeer moss – a moss faker and British soldiers) complemented their miniature green landscapes. Amazingly, girls and guys alike decided to add polished blue-colored glass to simulate a cool stream. Their creativity and enthusiasm at the end of our mossy session was impressive. It makes my moss spirit soar to spend time sharing mosses with kids of all ages. It's been a good day. Making moss magic today has been great fun. Go Green With Moss! [caption id="attachment_379" align="alignleft" width="158" caption="Could she be the next moss maven?"]BMS Earthkeeper now a Moss Artist[/caption]

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