I have started a new Meetup group: Massachusetts Mosses and Lichens.
I am inviting anyone with an interest in mosses and lichens to join in, particularly if you live in the “greater Massachusetts area”. Because of pandemic, there’ll be no in-person meetups for a while, but I’d like to schedule an organizational meeting hosted on my Zoom channel.
The notion is that we get together and talk mosses and lichens and promote interest in them. Each meeting would feature a member — or someone from outside the Meetup — talking about their experience, teaching us, talking about a project, their art, their photography, or books about mosses they’ve read (*). And this would be followed by a Q&A.
After pandemic, we’ll move back outdoors, doing guided tours.
Disclosure: I am not any kind of authority on mosses and lichens. I’m very much an amateur, although my scientific and engineering background makes it easier for me to set up and follow through on scientific experiments than some. I’m still learning common New England mosses. You can see a project I’m doing and some of the equipment and references I use here.
Hopefully, this Meetup will begin to remedy the dearth of organized interest about mosses. There’s also a dearth of professional bryologists and lichenologists. I hope that amateur organizations like this, in association with state parks, national parks, and local communities, can generate more interest, particularly among students.
(*) I am finishing a Kindle version of the book Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The book tells of mosses from an indigenous people’s perspective, and also contains much solid science, and beautiful hand sketched illustrations. It also makes great physical science connections, like Kimmerer’s discussion of the importance of living in a boundary layer for mosses. This is something seen in aquatic life, as documented in the book Life in Moving Fluids by the late Professor Steven Vogel. Vogel didn’t mention mosses at all. That’s understandable, but it’s great to see Professor Kimmerer remedying the oversight. Given the kinds of research Vogel did, I can see all kinds of projects exploring this possible with respect to mosses.