Fall Mushroom Foray
Instructor: Tim Wheeler
September 25 at 7 a.m. – September 26 at 4 p.m.
This course will provide a thorough introduction to edible mushrooms and the role fungi plays in the northern Rockies ecosystem. You will need no previous education in mycology to take this course, but since most fungi have no common names, familiarity with the concept of genus and species names will improve your appreciation of the material. Students will gain familiarity with the use of a botanical key in identifying fungi, and learn the ecology and uses of edible mushrooms and how to discern between edible and poisonous mushrooms in the field. Since spring and fall species are quite different, be sure to sign up for our Summer Mushroom course to get a complete mushroom experience.
Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp.
Tentative Itinerary (subject to change):
Day 1: 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. We will learn to identify and study the complexities of local mushrooms and search for mushrooms growing in such specialized habitats as riparian areas and recent forest burns. We will seek out the different ecological niches- riparian, sylvan, alpine and montane of northern Rockies fungi and we’ll probably 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.
After dinner we will regroup for an extensive slideshow of different mushroom groups. With thousands of slides from which to choose, we will glimpse a bit into the wide array of fungi that inhabit the Northwest. We will uncover the amazing life cycles of these varied species of fungi, and discuss the overall importance of mushrooms in a healthy habitat.
Day 2: After spending the morning roaming in the moist old growth cedar hemlock forests, we will sit down to identify the most curious of our finds. The final lecture will summarize the groups of fungi, the hallmarks of field identification and a summary of the genera covered in class. The course will end by 4 p.m. and will not be cancelled due to weather.
Food: The following meals are included: lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 2.
Accommodations: 1 night of lodging are included into the course fee. Our student cabins are basic, hostel-style cabins with 5 single beds, bedside lights, and electrical outlets. Students should be prepared to share a cabin with up to 4 other people, cabins are separated by gender. Couples may be paired up in the event there is ample space. We provide a bottom sheet for your bed as well as a pillow and pillow case, but please bring a warm sleeping bag. Be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp for night trips to the bathroom. The community bathhouse has flush toilets, sinks, and hot showers.
Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entrance passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74280.
Course 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- 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 fungal friends.
Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.