Spring Mushrooms and Lichens | Educational Program

Learn about the ecological role of fungi in forest ecosystem

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Distance

1 Miles

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Elevation Gain

500 Feet

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Difficulty

Easy/Moderate

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Members Only

Progam Overview

*Members Only Course: Becoming a member grants you access to all Glacier Institute educational day programs for free!

May 25, 2024: This course will provide a thorough introduction to fungi and the role they play in the northern Rockies ecosystem. We will study approximately 40 genera of fungi, their macroscopic features, spores and ecological niches. We will look at the ecological role of fungi in forest ecosystems and the effect mushrooms can have on management practices. Since spring and fall species are quite different, be sure to sign up for our Fall Mushroom course to get a complete mushroom experience.

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Spring Mushrooms and Lichens | Educational Program

Hike Overview Continued

*Members Only Course: Becoming a member grants you access to all Glacier Institute educational day programs for free!

Instructor: Julia Smit

This course will provide a thorough introduction to fungi and the role they play in the northern Rockies  ecosystem. We will study approximately 40 genera of fungi, their macroscopic features, spores and  ecological niches. We will look at the ecological role of fungi in forest ecosystems and the effect  mushrooms can have on management practices. Since spring and fall species are quite different,  be sure to sign up for our Fall Mushroom course to get a complete mushroom experience. 

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp  

Itinerary (subject to change):  We will begin the day at 7 a.m. with questions, discussions, and slide viewing throughout  the early morning, and then depart for prime mushroom habitat near Glacier in the Flathead  National Forest. We will learn to identify and study the complexities of local mushrooms and  search for mushrooms growing in such specialized habitats as melting snow banks and recent  forest burns. We will seek out the different ecological niches- riparian, sylvan, and open lands of northern Rockies fungi and we will search to find several species in each site. Students will  get a glimpse of the enormous number of fungi that are the source of nutrition for the entire  forest. We will harvest mushrooms throughout the day and bring them back to Field Camp for  closer viewing. The final lecture will summarize the groups of fungi, the  hallmarks of field identification and a summary of the genera covered in class.

Food:  Please bring a trail lunch, plenty of water, and snacks for the day.

Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at:  https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74280.   

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2024 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.

Equipment: You will receive a Field Camp gear list once you register. Most importantly are  comfortable hiking shoes, snacks, water bottle at least 1-2 liters, backpack, rain gear, hat, and  sunscreen. Weather can be varied, especially in the spring and fall, so please be prepared with  appropriate clothing, with extra warm layers. A field journal and pencil to take notes while you learn  and any field guides that you like to use are optional. If you have a basket that you like to use for  collecting mushrooms please bring it along. We will provide paper bags for specimens. Please bring  fresh samples of any mushrooms you have found in the week prior to class.  

Physical Requirements: Moderate hikes, with less than one mile and 500 feet elevation gain. We  will mostly be hiking off-trail through both open and dense stands of forest, searching for our fungal  friends.  

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What to Expect On Your Spring Mushrooms and Lichens | Educational Program

We will learn to identify and study the complexities of local mushrooms and search for mushrooms. We will mostly be hiking off-trail through both open and dense stands of forest, searching for our fungal friends. Hikes with less than one mile and 500 feet elevation gain.

* Trails listed are subject to change due to trail closure, weather, trail conditions, or wildlife.

Program Details

  • This program meets at Glacier Institute Field Camp, West Glacier.
  • Instructor: Julia Smit
  • The program will begin at 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Hiking distance covers less than 1 mile with less than 500 feet elevation change.
  • Glacier National Park Vehicle Pass required, purchase at recreation.gov.
  • On-site parking available.
  • There is a maximum number of 13 hikers per trip.
  • This program has a minimum guest count of 3 people. In the unlikely case we don’t reach that number, you will be notified prior to the event.

The Glacier Institute has a 7 day cancellation policy for a full refund with all of our courses.

What to Bring

Please remember that weather in NW Montana during all seasons can change quickly from warm and sunny to freezing at any time of the year. We recommend checking the weather prior to your trip. Please also check your course information sheet for specific gear requirements in addition to those listed below.

  • Lightweight hiking boots or a sturdy pair of hiking shoes
  • 2 liter sized water bottle or Camelback
  • Day Pack with plastic bag liner or cover
  • Waterproof rain jacket and pants
  • Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant & lip balm
  • Camera (optional)
  • Trekking poles, if you like to use them for hiking (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Field Notebook notes and sketches

Download complete checklist here