Editor’s note: We are excited to announce a new section of CC Kids: Emerging Voices, where we will feature submissions contributed by our readers. The piece below, submitted in late 2021, was previously shared online. However, we also wanted to feature it in print because it was the article that inspired us to create this new section. We hope you enjoy hearing from this emerging voice (from Devon, UK)—and encourage you to send us your own submissions. Please see our submissions page for more information on how to do this.
My name is Eben and I am 8, I love nature but fungi is my favourite thing! Fungi is so fascinating because there are so many different types to spot, there are more than 15,000 types in this country! They are so different too, they are different sizes, shapes, colours, and smells! People don’t normally notice them, which is sad! If you look closely, they are everywhere and so interesting. I saw 54 species in one trip to my local woods.
I have recently seen a Lions Mane fungus it is also called Bearded Tooth, it is extremely rare on the and protected by law because it is so special. It is illegal to pick or damage this fungus. It is special for making medicines for memory problems. It is so beautiful it looks like a beard on a tree. It grows on very old beech trees. It is endangered because too many people have picked it and we have to look after them. Fungus is so important because lots have medical properties, they are important recyclers and help decay leaves and other plants which is essential to the environment. If there weren’t mushrooms, we would be swimming in leaves!
I also recently saw an Octopus Stinkhorn or Devils fingers fungi it is outrageously stinky! It erupts from an egg like a normal stinkhorn. It looks like a pink squid! Its tendrils are spirally. This is a rare fungus, but I saw 11 in one go! It has been in the UK for about 100 years and is meant to be from the Southern Hemisphere.
I have written a book about Fungi, and it says the ones I have found near my town in Devon. I wrote it because the world is changing and to support Devon Wildlife Trust, it has raised more than £1750. I am writing another book about Fungi and also other plants and animals to spot. I hope more people will notice fungi and other animals and see how special nature is and help protect it too.