Welcome to the Mycelial Network. What is the Mycelial Network you ask? Well, it's a blog I just started as an experiment. I want to get into discussions with all kinds of people and I thought "maybe a blog can help me do that." Specifically I want to get into discussions about natural history and how natural history is taught. Let me back up.
One of my core beliefs is that science is beautiful. I also think that beauty is somewhat under-appreciated. Maybe we can talk about why this is later but for now let's just say it's under-appreciated. I also believe that encouraging people of all ages to learn about science and natural history will lead to a better future. Nature is, for better or for worse, our home and I believe that a deeper understanding and appreciation for what our home is like, how it works and how beautiful it is from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy (and more importantly all the stuff in between) will make us all better stewards and make us happier in the long run. So for all of us to get better at helping people learn I think it's important to talk about what we do, how we do it, what works and what doesn't.
So in my ideal, theoretical and probably completely fantastical world this will be a place where environmentalists, educators, museum/zoo/aquarium professionals, photographers, and maybe a few actual scientists might come and weigh in on things. Anyone with a vested interest in helping others learn about nature and science is more than welcome to share and I really hope that my ideas and comfort about how I already do things are challenged and I become a better educator. So yes, that is the first selfish piece of rationale. I am a science educator and I want to know more people in the community and I want to get better at what I do.
The second selfish reason is that I like to take photos of things in nature and I also like to know what the species are but I have had a nearly impossible time identifying most of the stuff I shoot. So I'd love it if there were more eyes and brains helping me.
So there you have it. We've covered my idealistic, selfless reasons and my completely personal and selfish reasons for starting out here. And if this works I'm sure these reasons will change and morph into new reasons over time. Basically I want this to work like the super cheesy analogy for which I named this blog. The myclial network is comprised of the vegetative parts of fungi that live in nearly all healthy forests. These fibers can run for acres just under the surface of the soil and are some of the biggest and oldest organisms known to science. But they also (here's the cheesy analogy part) share their nutrients with the trees of the forest. The roots of the trees tap into these fibers and the trees thrive due to the help of their fungal symbiont. It seemed to fit to me and it had the added bonus of being one of my favorite natural history facts. There's a lot going on in the network and its relationship to the forest but it all leads to a healthy ecosystem.
To finish off my first post I'll leave one of my photos and an invitation to post any and all comments that come to mind. What topics would you like to see show up on the Mycelial Network?