June 15, 2016

Walk in Curlis Woods Explores Life of Lichens


The Mercer County Park Commission will host lichenologist Dennis Waters on Saturday, June 25, as he unveils the mysterious lichens commonly found throughout the natural world. Mr. Waters will lead two hours of exploration along the trails of Curlis Woods, shedding light on the strange lifestyles and ecological importance of lichens. 

Hanging hauntingly from the branches of trees, providing bursts of color in an otherwise barren and toxic copper mine, and adorning the presidents of Mount Rushmore with five o’clock shadows, lichens can be found thriving in nearly all of earth’s environments. Their incredible ability to grow almost anywhere (including inside solid rock!) has enabled lichens to cover 5 percent of earth’s land surface. Most people never think twice about these unassuming, undervalued life forms commonly seen as grayish-green patches on tree trunks, but Mr. Waters will bring lichens into the spotlight.

Mr. Waters is a lichenologist, member of the British Lichen Society and the American Bryological & Lichenological Society, and Lawrence Township Historian. He recently played an active role in major lichenological field surveys, traveling from the South Atlantic Coastal Plains of Georgia to the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec.

This fun and informative walk will take place on Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m. to noon at Curlis Woods in Mercer Meadows; parking will be at the Mercer County Equestrian Center. Please wear appropriate footwear and bring water. This program is free but pre-registration is required; e-mail natureprograms@mercercounty.org or call (609) 888-3218.