All Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., including the National Zoo, and in New York City are temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. We are not announcing a re-opening date at this time and will provide updates on a week-to-week basis.
Lichens are all around us — on trees, rocks, and even some buildings. But, what is a lichen? And what good are they? Lichen scientist Manuela Dal Forno will help students understand the special symbiotic relationship inside each lichen. She will show students the different steps she takes to study lichens: finding them in nature, looking at them under a microscope, and analyzing their DNA. She will share why we care about lichens: Understanding the life around us is important for understanding nature and how environments are changing. For instance, many lichens are indicators of air quality and others provide habitats for insects and nest material for hummingbirds.
Skills: Throughout the program, we will emphasize the basic science skills Manuela uses that students also possess: making observations in nature, identifying patterns, working on a team, asking questions, and sharing information.