As the dog days of summer begin to give way to the cooler days of fall, we tend to have a lot of rain. And lots of rain means saturated soil! Add in a bit of warmth and you'll see mushrooms of all types popping up all over your yard.
Of course, you can use those fungi fruiting bodies for a bit of nature study. But I love to save at least one of the caps to make mushroom spore prints!!
These prints are beautiful works of scientific art that you can make with minimal effort. Let's dig in . . .
Once you have observed your mushroom outdoors, put on a pair of gloves and gently pull off the cap. You want to find a cap that is mostly, if not all the way, open. Then, head inside and get to work.
1. Put on the gloves before harvesting your mushroom cap. Then, head outside to cut off your selected mushroom cap and place the cap, gill side down, on the center of your piece of paper.
2. Head back inside and set the paper on a dark part of your counter where it won't be disturbed for the next 24 hours. Sprinkle the cap with a bit of water, not too much, just a bit to moisten it. Then, cover the cap with an inverted glass bowl.
3. The next day, remove the bowl. Put the gloves back on and gently peel back the mushroom cap to observe the mushroom spore prints you have made!
If you want to preserve your spore print, simply spray the paper with hairspray and let that dry before framing the print!
Learn more about two common mushrooms with these InstaScience posts:
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Did you know that petrified rock is actually a fossil? Click "Read More" to see a simple STEM lesson about petrified rock and make your own petrified sponge!