SENSING SYMBIOSIS

An ecological eye on existence

In the shining drop of dew that forms at the tip of an unfurling fern, there are whole civilisations of microbes that rise and fall whilst it glints in the sun. On the underside of the leaf as it matures, clusters of tiny catapults form and fling their spores into the air, joining the myriad of other microscopic propagules drifting gently along, seeking a resting place from which they can grow new life.

Sensing Symbiosis is a seasonal sequence of events that invites you to come and immerse yourself in the great outdoors and to wonder at the complexities and beauty that the world around us holds.

Each session will explore a selection of interesting and unusual elements of the natural world. We will navigate the ecology and biology of plants, animals and fungi through a scientific lens, and then venture into the magical and mysterious secret life of nature through folklore, mythology, ethnobotany and natural
geometry.

Led by mycologist and natural historian Rich Wright (previously from Kew Gardens and Avon Wildlife Trust) and embellished with folklore and performances by professional storyteller Kat Lyons, each session will be carefully crafted to take you on a journey that will widen your eyes with wonder, helping you shake off the smog of the city and feel a little bit more at home on your beautiful planet.

Each of the sessions will include some of the following, depending on the site and time of year:

• Beginners skills in plant, insect and fungal ID
• Animal tracking
• Field ecology
• Ecological principles
• Beginners soil science
• Interesting discoveries from scientific research
• European and global folklore, mythology and ethnobotany
• Use of magnifiers and microscopes
• Natural geometry
• Herbalism
• Bush craft
• The mind and nature
• Outdoor meditation

Session 1: Sensing the Suburbs 14:30 – 17:00, Sunday 2nd September

Bristol is the third greenest city in the UK, offering some beautiful spaces to explore just a short bus or bicycle ride away. Our first session will be based at Feed Bristol community gardens in Stapleton, which offers a fantastic diversity of plants and wildlife which we will be able to explore.

As our first date teeters on the start of the fungi season, we felt that it’s apt to take you travelling through the dense network of links that these fascinating organisms weave.

Through European folklore, history and modern musings we will unravel some of the deep cultural associations and rituals surrounding fungi and how they have been intrinsically linked to our sense of belonging and rights of passage. Contemplating the Eleusian mysteries, we will begin to follow the path of one of the most influential fungi in human history.

Then, as a counter weight to this mystical exploration, we will take on the subject through a scientific eye. Delving into the mind-bending marvels of mycology, we will explore how these fascinating microorganisms are hidden deep within the plants used for rituals and medicines, and how they have shaped the very earth we walk on.

The day will be a mixture of walking, short talks, stories and peaceful times outside, so please bring appropriate clothing and footwear for the day.

This course is limited to 20 participants as the space we are using won’t hold more this time. Future events will be open to more people.

Contact bristol@psychedelicsociety.org.uk for more information.

Hope to see you there!

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