High Park Lichens: Discover the "Corals" of the Forest
Lichens are composite organisms comprised of a fungus and photosynthesizing partner, which is usually an alga, but it can also be a cyanobacterium, or both! Like ocean coral, this unique relationship results in a wide variety of rich colours, diverse forms, and they are sensitive to pollution. Their intolerance to air pollution means you will not see them in many areas of Toronto, but you will in High Park, which acts as a refuge for these sensitive species. Join us to learn about the ecological function of lichens and their uses in science, medicine, food, and space! There will be a presentation, field time, and lab time in the Nature Centre learning how to identify species in the park. Please bring a hand lens and a dissecting/stereo microscope if you have one. Hand lenses will also be provided. A key to the lichens in the region will also be provided and regional field guides will be available for purchase. The hike will be moderate in length and difficulty.