for Spring 2018

The PVMA conducts a series of 3-4 hour workshops on describing fungi, mushroom identification, edibility/toxicity, medicinal fungi, characterisitcs of various genera and species, associated habitat and tree associations, cooking, citizen science, the functional roles of fungi, and other topics every spring. These take place on Sundays in March, April and May between 9:45 AM and 1:30 PM at my home in Leeds (Northampton), MA - before the collecting season begins. If you want to jump-start &/or radically improve your understanding of our connections with the world of fungi, you will want to take this unique opportunity to expand your knowledge and appreciation of these important organisms. To keep the price within everyone’s means, we are charging just enough to cover the costs of giving our deserving guest speakers a fair honorarium in return for sharing their wisdom and passion for fungi with us. 

There is limited space available for this popular fungal educational offering, so if you are interested in participating in the series you are advised to secure your inclusion by sending in the $85 fee for all 6 sessions along with your $15 membership fee immediately (total cost $100). You can pay by credit card via PayPal (http://fungikingdom.net/we-invite-you-to-join-the/index.html) or by sending your check to Membership Chair and Treasurer, Michael Ostrowski, 27 East Street, South Hadley MA 01075.  

In addition to PVMA mycologist Dianna Smith, five knowledgeable guest mycologists will be leading a workshop this year. They include Noah Siegel, Bill Bakaitis, Bill Yule, Elinoar Shavit, and the mushroom identification, photographing and cooking experts known as “The Three Foragers”, Karen Monger, Robert Gerulichs and daughter Gillian. Bring your lunch and something to share for each session. Coffee and tea will be provided.

March 25: MYCO-SPEAK   Dianna Smith will open our series with a review and expansion on one of last year’s most useful programs for both beginning and intermediate mycophiles. We will focus on learning the meaning of commonly used terms employed in field guides to describe the parts and characteristics of individual fungi. Participants who study and employ these terms will be better prepared to see critical details, accurately describe them, and identify fungi encountered during our scheduled walks.

April 8: CORTINARIUS    Noah Siegel is an internationally known mycologist who has investigated, photographed and written many articles on the fungi of New Zealand, Australia, Africa and North America. He is the co-author of the recently released massive and impressively researched field guide, Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast.

April 22: BEYOND GARLIC & BUTTER  Karen Monger, Robert Gergulichs and daughter Gillian, popularly known as “The 3 Foragers”, are active members of CVMS and are top on every major foray’s list of mycophagy cooking experts to prepare mushroom tastings. In addition to their popular blog, the3foragers.blogspot.com/, they are authors of the book, Adventures in Edible Plant Foraging: Finding, Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Native and Invasive Wild Plants (2016). Mycophagy, the practice of cooking and eating wild fungi, is one reason why many people get into hunting wild mushrooms. The weeks-long chase in the forest seeking out the elusive fruiting bodies of gourmet fungi, the hours of studying field guides and picking the brains of our myco-mentors, and the time spent researching recipes culminates in a feast for dedicated pot-hunters. The 3 Foragers go "Beyond Butter and Garlic" to explore ways to cook and preserve their wild mushroom bounty, focus on combining wild plants with their fungal finds, and enjoy creating new and delicious recipes with these unique ingredients.

April 29: BUGS, SLUGS & OTHER MUSHROOM THUGS  Bill Yule, naturalist, educator and CVMS club mycologist will lead us on an exploration of various fascinating invertebrate critters (and a few non-human vertebrates, too) that interact with fungi and do their bidding.

May 6: ECOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS OF FUNGI   Bill Bakaitis, a mycology educator, founder of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association of N.Y. and frequent writer for fungi magazines and contributor to www.fungkingdom.net/ will offer us an interactive illustrated lecture in which we will examine the role that mushrooms and other fungi play in the ecosystem. Ecosystems concepts will be presented and an examination of the functions served by Fungi, those members of the Fifth Kingdom, will be discussed. It is said, for example, that almost all green growing plants need a fungal partner in order to survive. At the same time fungi are often referred to as nature’s primary decomposers responsible for biological decay and regulation of CO2 within the ecosystem. And the very soil in which our forests grow has, in a large measure, been created by the fungi we meet on our walks in the park.

May 20: MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS IN THE MIDDLE EAST Elinoar Shavit has given numerous presentations and has authored several articles for Fungi Magazine, journals and books on the use of fungi medicinaly in a variety of different ethnic settings. This program is about medicinal mushrooms in the context of the Bedouins who use them and the Druze who have adopted their use for medicinal purposes. The mushrooms came with imported trees that were planted in the area in the past 120 years. They are now being cut down. Elinoar will talk about some of the people she has met in her recent travels and their experiences as a result of incorporating mushroom products into their own medical treatments as well as into their recovery procedures.