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Issue 27

February 2023


Greetings Enchanted Nature Community

Please enjoy our latest  issue of The Enchanted Nature Newsletter

Springing Up Earlier and Earlier

"Happiness held is the seed. happiness shared is the flower." - John Harrigan


Here in the Shenandoah Valley, we have been enjoying mild spring-like weather and the flora has been reacting. Daffodils, Cherry Trees and many other blooming plants are putting on their big show early this year. The climate is changing. Rain patterns are leaving areas parched while other areas are overwhelmed with flood conditions. USDA hardiness zones are changing. Tornado patterns are changing. Climate changes have absolutely changed throughout history, but it is happening at an unprecedented rate and the consequences have been and will continue to be catastrophic for not only humanity but all living beings on the planet. What can we do? Yes, it's easy to feel incapable of doing anything that will make a difference but you can. Everything that you do from consuming less of anything, driving less by planning your trips effectively, to planting a tree or shrub helps. It is better to do something than nothing at all. Climate change may be an existential threat to future generations but at least you did "something". Every little bit counts. I came across an interesting website called Wild Aid that has many suggestions on what we can do. Check it out.


If you're craving some nature or know somebody that is, come and be enchanted by nature with us:

From Our Readers

Thank you all for your contributions to The Enchanted Nature Newsletter. If you see anything of interest in nature, take a picture and please send it along.


 After attending our mushroom class Eileen Feim and Phil Crilley spotted this stump fruiting some Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) mushrooms while driving home. Great find! Thank you for sharing the pic.


Pat Spahn of Churchville, VA sent this excellent picture of Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura).

Great pic Patti! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Beth Bland sent these photos of what appears to be some kind of Puffball mushrooms from South Carolina.

Very interesting fungi Beth. Thank you for the pics.


Update: After talking to Beth about the mushrooms, she mentioned the horrific odor that they were emitting. This was the clue that we needed. These are Stinkhorn Mushroom (Clathrus columnatus) eggs. Stinkhorns have evolved to give odors that range from manure to rotting meat. Can you think of an animal that would be attracted to that scent. Yep, flies will come from all over to visit a Stinkhorn mushroom. When the fly lands, it gets covered in spores and then carries those spores to new areas. The principle is much like pollinators visiting flowers except Stinkhorns don't smell like flowers.


A mature Clathrus columnatus

Please continue sending us your pics and queries: 

You can also text your pics & questions to (540) 324-8778.

Pics from the Writers: 

A Black-Capped Chickadee (Cathartes aura)


A European Honey Bee with loaves of pollen on its hind legs.

By: Victoria Vacher

We have discussed the recent trend of increased interest about mushrooms.

In teaching our mushroom classes and conversing with others,

 we have found that most people have no idea that fungi are more similar to humans 

than plants. We are actually only 43% human cells. The rest of our cells are bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea. 


Similarities include:

  • Humans and fungi take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Plants do the opposite.

  • Humans and fungi do not have chloroplasts (the part of plant cells necessary for photosynthesis) allowing plants to create their own nourishment. 

  • Both humans and fungi are heterotrophic (unlike plants) meaning we generate energy by consuming elements, secreting digestive enzymes and absorbing nutrients instead of producing our own food as plants do.

  • Not really scientific, but if you have ever bitten into a Portabella or Lion's Mane mushroom the meaty texture cannot be denied.

  • For the scientifically inclined reader: using a process called computational phylogenetics, scientists found that fungi and humans form a biological clade, meaning that two organisms share a common ancestor. This clade is called ”opisthokonta,” a name for the posterior flagellum that propels both animal sperm and fungal spores.

  • Studies show that approximately 1.5 billion years ago, animals and fungi separated from plants. Then some estimated 10 million years later animals separated from fungi. Currently, humans share roughly 50% of our DNA with the average fungus!


Throughout human history fungi were understandably grouped into the

kingdom of plants.The discovery that fungi are more genetically related to

animals than plants led to the creation of their own Kingdom only as recently as 1969!

It follows then that the exploration of fungi is in a relatively infantile stage. 

Exciting new discoveries are being made everyday. 

New species of fungi are consistently being discovered. An estimated 2,000 new species

are found every year. Approximately 148,000 species of fungi have been identified

and it is projected that 2.2 – 3.8 MILLION species currently exist on earth!


Mycology, the scientific study of fungi, is such a fascinating subject. Science has

barely scratched the surface of determining the actual importance of fungi in our

ecosystems, but we do know that their presence is incalculably vital to life as we

know it! The importance they will have in the future of the planet is almost unfathomable!


From medicines to the remediation of the toxins humans have borne upon our earth, fungi

are going to play an important role for the survival of humankind and all life forms. We must mention the

incredible cuisine they provide as well! Studying fungi and its many benefits gives hope for the future!

BE WARNED… once you start down the rabbit hole of fungi and mushrooms, there is no turning back!!!


We wish you all many safe and enchanting hours in nature.

*Enchanted Nature News*


Give the gift of nature! We now offer gift certificates. They can be customized and emailed for any occasion. The gift certificates are available at our Trading Post




If you have any nature, gardening, or horticultural questions or comments, feel free to send them to


If you're interested in Mushrooms, check out the weekly posting at:

We have sold out our March 5th mushroom class 

and have listed our next event. It will be held on

Sunday, April 23rd.

We will cover identification, 

cultivation and cooking


Nature is Moving

is this month's video theme


Findings reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, suggest that keeping a few snapshots of greenery around yourself might be beneficial. When participants viewed the natural images in the experiment, their stress levels lowered, thanks to the activation of their parasympathetic nervous system – which controls certain rest functions. "Viewing green scenes may thus be particularly effective in supporting relaxation and recovery after experiencing a stressful period and thereby could serve as an opportunity for micro-restorative experiences and a promising tool in preventing chronic stress and stress-related diseases." Take a deep breath, hold it, and let it out slowly as you relax.


If you're ready to explore the forest,

 come out for an adventure with us 


There are many proven health benefits to spending time in nature. It has also been proven that just looking at images of nature can provide multiple health benefits including: reducing depression, speeding healing, improving your immune system, preventing dementia, improving your mood, and increasing happiness. We plan on ending each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.

If you don't see the video, link to the it here:


Stay safe and enjoy nature

If you haven't taken the time to explore our website, please do.

There are a lot of free educational resources to enjoy


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