By Collin Breaux | Email: | Twitter: @collin_breaux

The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo is a place people can visit on guided tours to check out animals and natural land. Come February, they’ll also get to learn about fungi and astronomy there.

A Fun Finding Fungi Mushroom Walk will be held on Feb. 8 in which people can learn about different species of fungi and mushrooms and snap a few pictures.  Mycologist Joanne Schwartz will lead the walk and give attendees a chance to look at and learn about mushrooms in the field.

“Everyone gets a chance to see different ones,” said Education and Public Programs Manager Leeta Latham.

Latham said Schwartz is a great presenter and always fun to have on The Reserve. The mushrooms on The Reserve vary, with some resembling turkey tails and others sending out spores when they explode. Fungi are important to the ecosystem because they are decomposers, Latham said.

“It’s a part of The Reserve we don’t think about as far as flora and fauna,” Latham said.

The crowds are comprised of a variety of people, with some being fungi enthusiasts and others having no idea what to expect beforehand.

“I hope they come away with more knowledge about The Reserve,” Latham said.

Participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7.

Later in the month, there will be an Astronomy Night on Feb. 22. Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Michelle Schiman has been running the event for a long time and said the volunteer astronomers bring telescopes.

“There’s a variety of different brands and styles,” Schiman said.

The program usually starts with a nighttime star tour to talk about constellations, constellation mythology, and other aspects of astronomy.

“There are times where it’s even clear enough to see the Milky Way,” Schiman said.

The astronomers will be able to answer questions, and sometimes satellites are visible in the sky. Some people who come are awed when they get to see Saturn for the first time, Schiman said. Schiman hopes people come away from the Astronomy Night with an interest in The Reserve and the outdoors.

“We always hope to inspire people to enjoy nature,” Schiman said.

Participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21. Visit to RSVP and for more information.

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