Week 2: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 3: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 4: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 6: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 7: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 8: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 9: Interlude - To Experience Nature
Week 10: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENT
Week 11: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENTS
Week 12: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENTS
Appendix #1 - Natural History Books
Appendix #2 - Index of Nature Poems
Appendix #3 - Selected Outlines of Living Things

Day 3: Fungi


Get to know your fungi identification tools. Read the introductions, the terminology of mushroom parts, advice for collecting and clues for discriminating species, and see the lay of the land in terms of the major groups of organisms. Do you know the three main groups of fungi? Can you tell pores from gills? What is a lichen made of? Do you know how and why to take a spore print?


Video: “Deadly Fungus (Netflix Our Planet)” (3:59)

Video: “A Glowing Underground Network of Fungi (BBC Life That Glows)” (2:03)

This audio program is in a series where we meet great biologists and the organisms they study. Audio: “Lynne Boddy on Fungi” (27:25)



Today search for fungi, including lichens. Grab your mushroom guide and look around, especially in moist places. Fungi grow on trees, dead logs, rocks, and right on (and in) the soil. If your environment is snowbound you might want to come back to this day later in the season.


~Take advantage of opportunities to identify something new~



The harp at Nature’s advent strung 

Has never ceased to play;

The song the stars of morning sung 

Has never died away.


And prayer is made, and praise is given, 

By all things near and far;

The ocean looketh up to heaven, 

And mirrors every star.


Its waves are kneeling on the strand, 

As kneels the human knee,

Their white locks bowing to the sand, 

The priesthood of the sea!


They pour their glittering treasures forth, 

Their gifts of pearl they bring,

And all the listening hills of earth 

Take up the song they sing.


The green earth sends its incense up 

From many a mountain shrine; 

From folded leaf and dewy cup

She pours her sacred wine.


The mists above the morning rills 

Rise white as wings of prayer; 

The altar-curtains of the hills

Are sunset’s purple air.


The winds with hymns of praise are loud, 

Or low with sobs of pain, —

The thunder-organ of the cloud, 

The dropping tears of rain.


With drooping head and branches crossed 

The twilight forest grieves,

Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost 

From all its sunlit leaves.


The blue sky is the temple’s arch, 

Its transept earth and air,

The music of its starry march 

The chorus of a prayer.


So Nature keeps the reverent frame 

With which her years began,

And all her signs and voices shame 

The prayerless heart of man.


-John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)


 [Note that the poem reveals that the title refers to Nature as the worshipper, not the object of worship]