The Science of Sustainability

Producer's Notes: Your Photos on QUEST – Ron Wolf

  • share this article
  • Facebook
  • Email

After spending the day with Ron Wolf, I doubt I’ll ever look at the ground the same way anymore!

The YPOQ segments are some of my favorites. But to be honest, it’s getting harder and harder to find photographers who are doing something unique. Being one of the newer members of the QUEST team, I decided to go back to some of the Flickr sets we received before I got here, and find out what those photographers are up to now.

There, I found Ron Wolf’s photostream. As it was the middle of winter, I was surprised to see that his photos were taken recently, until I realized that I was looking at the fruits of the California winter. All of his recent images were of mushrooms and slime, and surprisingly QUEST had not broached this topic yet.

I know, I know, slime and fungi – seen it, ignored it, they’re gross, right? Wrong!
I really had no idea there is such a plethora of fungi here in the Bay Area, and I’ve never looked closely at a slime mold before. Now, after spending the day with Ron Wolf, I doubt I’ll ever look at the ground the same way anymore!

Fungi (to which both mushrooms and slime belong) are found worldwide, and most are inconspicuous due to their small size, and their cryptic lifestyles in soil and on dead matter. But fungi perform an essential role in the natural cycle of our environment.

"They’re a major factor in decomposition of wood and plant matter," says Ron Wolf. "I mean, the reason the planet is not 20 or 40 or 50 feet deep in leaf litter and dead wood and all the rest is the process of decomposition and digestion of this organic matter. And that’s a function of fungi.”

Even so, most people don’t know much about fungi, including the fact that they are likely right under their feet!

Ron adds, "Well, the funny thing is, it’s not so much you find hidden places. To wander the trails you want to hike, and in the process of going down the trail, you sort of keep your eyes open for what’s where, what’s likely to be where. So I mean, I don’t think these as hidden spots. If we were to go over there and just start prowling around under any of these other trees, go down to the stream there, we’d probably find you know, 30 other hidden spots in the rest of the day. And it’s just a matter of looking. The old Yogi Berra line, you can see a lot just by lookin’. And that’s the way it is with fungi and wildflowers and it’s much more train your eye to pick up what’s all around you. And because it’s actually everywhere."

During the rest of the year, Ron spends his time photographing the world around him – birds, mammals, minerals and stones, etc. He has made a large contribution to UC Berkeley’s Cal Photos project, a taxonomic digital image database searchable by species, genus, class, etc., and available for use by the public and by educators.

Ron has added over 3,000 images to this project, as he continues to further our knowledge and appreciation of what might very well be right under your nose.

Watch Your Photos on QUEST – Ron Wolf television story online.

37.336595 -122.131817

Related

Explore: , , , ,

Category: Environment, Television

  • share this article
  • Facebook
  • Email
Lindsay Kelliher

About the Author ()

Lindsay has been in media in California for more than a decade, dividing her time between San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay. She has worked on documentary and factual programs for PBS (NOVA and NATURE), National Geographic, Discovery, and Animal Planet. She has also been involved with working and volunteering for local Animal Rescue organizations. She loves her new home with QUEST, letting her combine her love of animals and nature with her science-nerd tendencies. Lindsay graduated with honors from Northwestern’s Radio, TV, and Film department.
  • http://Nonapplicable Jesus Ayala Jr.

    To whom it may concern:

    Hi, my name is Jesus Ayala Genel. Aside from working and going to school, I am also a WEEKEND AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER..

    I refer to myself as a "weekend photographer" because I do not have any formal training. Like any other photographer, I've wasted countless rolls of film try to capture the ideal photograph.

    Fortunately, for me, in these rolls I've managed
    to capture a few good pictures.. Well good pictures to my untrained eye.

    The other day, I saw an ad on KQED in which the station was requesting photographs.

    I contacted KQED right away. Somebody here told referred me to this page. Here I read the conditions.

    To my disappointment, I realized that you need to send at least 50 pictures. Like I said, I am a WEEKEND NON TRAINED AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER.. I ONLY have 12 good pictures.. Could you still use them??.. Maybe for a STILL SHOT with the Station's IDENTIFICATION ???

    I just want to do this because I am a faithful KQED VIEWER. I wish I could FINANCIALLY support the station. However, being that I am semi-employed college student this is not feasible at the moment.

    So ,maybe, if you deem my pictures as being usable. You could use them in anyway you see fit.

    I just wish to show my SUPPORT FOR KQED AND PBS. Since at the moment, I can not support the station financially. Perhaps my pictures could help you in a small way…

    thank you

    sincerely

    Jesus Ayala Genel
    Modesto, California
    USA

  • Craig Rosa

    Hi Jesus:

    Thank you for your kind offer of help. One great way to participate is to put your photos in our QUEST community photo pool:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/kqedquest/pool/

    Hope to see you there!