MDC Cape Nature Center at Night presents: A Fungus Among Us

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will showcase mushrooms at the next Nature Center at Night event, Thursday, March 17, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“There are about 10,000 kinds of mushrooms in North America, and they have an astonishing array of shapes, sizes and colors,” said Sara Turner, manager of the center.

Though sometimes they go unnoticed, mushrooms and fungi play vitally important roles in nature and to humans, Turner said.

“The keep us from drowning in a sea of leaf litter, sticks and branches because they break down all those dead materials into the soil,” she explained.

They also encourage other plants to grow and they are famously delicious and nutritious.  Fungi are responsible for making blue cheese blue; some create antibiotics and other drugs. However, some mushrooms can be deadly, so it’s vitally important to learn to identify them before trying to eat them, Turner cautioned.

This Nature Center at Night will showcase a display with information about some of the most common Missouri mushrooms. Youth and adult groups are welcome and no registration is required. Nature Center at Night is designed to give working families a chance to visit the center outside of normal operating hours.

For more information about this and other nature programs at the Cape Nature Center, go online to The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located inside Cape Girardeau's North County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99) and Kingshighway (State Highway 61).