Lichen or Not?

Lichen is a type of living thing that can live in almost any place on the earth. They are not plants, animals, fungus, but something else with both algae and fungus together. They need the air, little water, a few minerals — all of which they get from the air.

Lichens also need  a tree, rock, building, or other thing to grow on. They produce their own energy from the sun through photosynthesis. Lichens have three shapes or growth forms, and they can live a very long time — some are over 1,000 years old. You can find them in neighborhood, parks, forests, but also in schoolyard, parking lots, and cities.

Because all the water and most of everything they need to survive comes from the air, lichen can be damaged by air pollution. Because they live for a very long time, they can be used in citizen science projects. These activities will help you learn about lichens and collect data about lichens in North Carolina.

DAQ Lichen Lessons:

To get started watch, “How To Find a Lichen:

Lichen or Not: Introduction to Lichens (K-5)
Graphic of NC DoA "Lichen or Not"










A Little Bit About Lichens (MS)
Graphic Describing What Lichens Are












Once you have found a lichen, take a picture and record Lichen Data here:

To see other places people have found lichens, visit the Lichen Map here:


Lichen Data Sheet