Year of Grace, Day 4. Connections

There is something about the end of a wonderful conference that moves me.  I’ve met some really lovely people with similar interests in different parts of the world. And it does look like we’re preparing the ground for seeds whose fruits will be collaborative research and development work. Today’s priority for thanks goes to one of the conference staff who helped me arrange redelivery of an enormous package. Otherwise I would’ve had to pick it up from the UPS Central Office all the way across the Rhine. I am ever so thankful that kindhearted strangers are prepared to help to the max. Having that sorted took such a great load off my mind.

Next to be thanked are recently met colleagues from Eritrea and Nepal, who share the same passion for indigenous traditions and neglected food crops.  I am all fired up and excited about research possibilities! 🙂

Scleroderma found under pine trees.

And last but not least, I thank the Forest Guides of the German National Forestry Service who led us on an afternoon walk today through the Wahden Wiese, a bit of wilderness between Bonn and Cologne. As always, I got really excited about the possibility of sighting fungi!

Honey fungus, Armillaria mellea, on a stump.

I am grateful that the rain didn’t come bucketing down while we were in the  forest, and that my knees and legs behaved themselves on the two and a half-hour brisk trek through. The last bit was up a slope as well.  (One of our group, much younger than me, had trouble with her knees and had to be helped out of the forest by car. Poor thing.)

Wild heather (Calluna vulgaris) meadow.

Heather, Calluna vulgaris.

It was a fabulous, warm, early autumn afternoon through pine, oak, and beech trees; some truly magnificent woods untouched for over 70 years; the remains of a Celtic castle mount from which stone and bronze spear heads are still being unearthed; and meadows full of flowering heather. Most of all, there were lots of what really makes a walk in the woods special for me — fungi! It’s been truly a very productive three days focusing on biodiversity, and I am truly thankful for having attended and participated.

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