Outing to the Grafenberg forest: discover a real internet network of the forest

Outing to the Grafenberg forest: discover a real internet network of the forest

On Tuesday 28 November, we went to the Grafenberg forest. We had a guide to explain plenty of things to us, and we also played games with him. The guide explained that a gigantic network of microscopic mushrooms enabled the trees to exchange information. He called this network the internet of the forest.
The ‘mycorrhizae’ fungi that can even be seen with the naked eye under the dead leaves of trees, in a beech forest for example, are the little ‘cables’ by which the trees are linked to each other.
Mycorrhiza, from the Greek myco, “fungus” and rhiza, “root”, is a term introduced in 1885 by the botanist Albert Bernhard Frank. It defines the symbiotic relationship that exists between tree roots and the long underground threads woven by mycelia, which, if you map them underground, resemble our world wide web. That’s why biologists call it the wood-wide web.
So, far from getting in each other’s way, mushrooms and trees live in harmony and have developed a form of mutual aid that makes us think that one would not live without the other, and vice versa, or with extreme difficulty. This is because the two exchange organic matter and minerals, with the mushrooms benefiting in particular from the water captured and stored by the tree roots.

This underground network through which trees exchange information was revealed to the world by the German forester Peter Wohlleben in his best seller “The Secret Life of Trees”.
We observed many trees that were over 100 years old and discovered 5 different trees: chestnut, maple, oak, beech and chestnut. We collected the leaves and examined them.
We also took a closer look at the fruit on some of the trees, such as chestnuts, beech, chestnut and oak.
We played a number of games, for example, working in teams of 3 to look for green things, red things, pointy things, round things, things that make music, etc. in the forest.
We particularly enjoyed the game where we were in pairs: one of the pair had to blindfold himself to be able to touch and feel the tree trunks.
The one who was blindfolded had to trust his partner, who guided him through the forest to discover the different trees.
We learned that Grafenberg Forest is not a natural forest, but one that has been planted by man.

At the end of the tour, our guide showed us around the Wildpark, where we were able to feed animals such as deer and hinds. They loved the apples and carrots! We also saw raccoons, a polecat and squirrels that had been saved from an injury. The squirrels were in a cage but they could move from one cage to another using a tunnel.
We really enjoyed this outing as we learned a lot about trees, the forest and animals.

Article written by: Romain, Lola,Gabriel, Ewen, Ahmed, Tashafin,Yasmin, Sofia, Leila, Gabriele and Samuel D. from the CM1-CM2A class.

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