Learn about lichens from a Master Gardener

Lichens are two organisms — a fungus and an algae — that form a partnership to survive, symbiotic friends that are important to the environment by providing food and shelter for wildlife, protection for trees and human uses in medicines, dyes and textiles.

Find out more on these organisms by joining Clallam County Master Gardener Muriel Nesbitt for the Green Thumb Education Series presentation “Lichens: They Are Not What You Thought They Were,” from noon-1 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 510 E. Park Ave., Port Angeles.

Or, join the presentation on Zoom; click on a link at extension.wsu.edu/clallam/master-gardener-calendar (meeting ID 936 2989 8830, passcode 676224). Or, join by phone by calling 253-215-8782.

Nesbitt will show images of local lichens, discuss how to identify them and how to tell how old they are. She will talk about their roles in nature and human history, what you can do with them and their ability to enter suspended animation and to survive in space.

Nesbitt said she began to like lichens when she was out for a stroll.

“I became interested in lichens while observing them in my neighborhood while walking my dog,” she said.

Nesbitt began her career as a high school teacher in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She went on to become a graduate student at the University of Washington where she earned a doctorate in genetics. She was a professor of biology at University of California-Los Angeles for two years and then taught biology at University of California-San Diego for 35 years before retiring to Port Angeles in 2008.

The Green Thumb Education Series, sponsored by the Washington State University Clallam County Master Gardeners, is held on the second and fourth Thursday of each month through October.

In November, December, and January, one lecture is offered. Scheduled presentations are subject to change. Visit the WSU Extension Clallam County website calendar (extension.wsu.edu/clallam/master-gardener-calendar) for the latest information on upcoming presentations.

For more information, call 360-565-2678.