Puffball Stirs Children’s Imaginations

Children on an Autumn Adventures field trip encountered a puffball near the Learning Center marcos-teachingBuilding on a recent October morning.

“What do you suppose this is? ” queried Marcos Stoltzfus, Director of Merry Lea’s Environmental Outreach program.

“A dinosaur egg!”

“Oooh! Wouldn’t that be exciting!” Marcos replied without missing a beat.

Puffballs are fungi that are spherical rather than having an open cap with spore-bearing gills. The fruiting bodies appear in autumn. They are spongy at first and then darken and dry up, releasing clouds of spores puffballwhen kicked or struck by raindrops. The variety shown here can get as large as a basketball.

Merry Lea’s Autumn Adventures program is designed for first and second graders and explores the ways animals and plants prepare for winter.