Triplicate Staff

Discover why lichens are some of the most amazing living things on this planet Sunday during a walk beginning at the Lake Earl Wildlife Area Information Center.

Botanist and lichen specialist Tom Carlberg will provide an introduction to the strange world of lichens on an easy one-mile walk in Tolowa Dunes State Park.

Participants will learn to recognize them by their color and unusual growth patterns and see first-hand how they play a critical role in the forest ecosystem and why they are considered an indicator of a clean environment.

The event will run from 1 to 4 p.m., and participants should meet at the information center, 2591 Old Mill Road, Crescent City.

A list of lichen species will be provided. Bring drinking water and mosquito repellent. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Carlberg specializes in lichens and works in northwest California and southwest Oregon. He is especially fond of lichens, "because they are not organisms per se; and only exist in symbiosis, if the partners are separated, the result looks nothing like the lichen."

He also serves as the editor for the Bulletin of the California Lichen Society, and as a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Lichen Specialist Group.

Summer programs are sponsored by the Redwood Parks Association and the Tolowa Dunes Stewards in collaboration with California State Parks and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.