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Mushroom Festival Volunteer Schedule

Festival 2009Did you know that the amazing mushroom display at Mount Pisgah Arboretum’s (MPA) Mushroom Festival is entirely collected, identified, displayed and interpreted by CMS volunteers? And it’s only 30 days away? You can help! Here’s when and how…

Saturday Oct 25

Mushroom Display

Volunteers are needed to help with the labeling and setup of the Cascade Mycological Society Mushroom Display. This process goes on all day, from morning until night. It is an exciting and invaluable way to learn about the mushrooms that fruit in our region. Contact Peg Boulay to volunteer for any part of a shift.

Erin Blanchard is one of the invited mycologists who will be identifying the fungi at this year’s Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Festival.

About Erin Blanchard

Erin is studying the taxonomy and identification of fungi. Originally from San Diego, she moved north to San Francisco five years ago in favour of the damp weather and flourishing fungi.  She has been an active member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco and Bay Area Mycological Society, and has been involved with other California Mycology Clubs in organizing and setting up events. Erin has identified fungi for the annual MSSF Fungus Fair, San Diego Mycological Society, Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz, Point Reyes Fungus Fair, Marin Mushroom Mania, Point Reyes MycoBlitz, Humboldt Bay Mycological Society, Northeast Mycological Federation, UC Berkeley Fungal Survey of Yosemite, among other events.

Erin Blanchard

Erin Blanchard

Erin has moderated a message board for Mushroom Hunting and identification; she consults wild crafted food businesses, and has organized and led mushroom forays in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked with Dr. Else C. Vellinga sequencing the DNA of Paxillus and co-authored a poster presentation for the Mycological Society of America conference in 2009.  She has also been involved in research efforts directed by the UC Berkeley Mycology Department to identify and document species of fungi in Yosemite National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore.

Educational Displays

Volunteers are also needed to hang posters and signs, set up educational displays, and organize the CMS booth. 

SunDAY OCT 26

Mt. Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Show and Fall Festival

Event Day Volunteers

IMG_0993Best of Show Coordinator. Help organize a process to identify the best mushroom specimens (and who collected them), coordinate with the judges (Cheshire and Marcia), and deliver prizes to the winners (this may require follow-up work after the show).

Volunteer Coordinator. During the show weekend, help link volunteers to tasks and use a sign-up system to track volunteer contact information. After the show, send a thank you email to volunteers.

Hospitality Coordinator. Check in with our honored guests to make sure that they have what they need during the festival. Bring lunch to our esteemed experts at the identification table (you will be reimbursed). Pavel at the CMS Booth

Help set up on Sunday: Sunday morning, 8:30 – 10:00 am is always a scramble to clear, clean and organize before the show opens. Just come (before 9:30) and we’ll gratefully put you to work.

Staff the CMS booth: Help share the fungal fun – booth volunteers talk to people about the CMS mission and upcoming events. You can also help sell t-shirts, mushroom earrings, and the new wild mushroom cookbook, all which go to support CMS activities and scholarship funds. Contact us, we could use more help and you could get in for free!

Help clean up on Sunday: When the show ends at 5 pm, we need volunteers to take down signs and posters and to collect and organize labels/holders.

Contact Peg Boulay to volunteer and check out our calendar for collection foray information. And aren’t we lucky the rains are finally here?

The False “Beefsteak” Morel (Gyromitra esculenta)

Article by Bruce Pandoff
Included here with permission by equip2endure.com

It is mushroom season in many parts of the US and morels are some of the most prized popping up at this time. They are considered easy to identify but there are some potentially deadly lookalikes growing in the forest and making their entrance at the same time. The false morel, commonly known as Beefsteak Morel, or Gyromitra esculenta is one of these such poisonous mushrooms and is a common mushroom for beginning mycophagists (mushroom hunters) to poison themselves with.

Before consuming any mushroom I highly recommend seeking the in person tutelage of an expert in the field of mycology or otherwise foraging expert. Look for groups and clubs that often are lead by these experts. Check bulletin boards at libraries, civic centers, college universities, and local co-op stores for such postings by these groups seeking members. If all else fails, search the internet for a local group. I am adamant about the seeking of experts and will rarely teach about edible mushrooms except for a very small selection for the simple fact that there are expert mycologist that poison themselves each year where as I gladly teach others about plants as this phenomenon with mycologists rarely happens with botanists. As you progress always keep in mind, there are old mycophagist and there are brave mycophagist, but there are no old brave mycophagist. Often how we find out if a mushroom is poisonous is due to those brave souls finding out for us and the mycological community learning from the toxicology report. Venture forth carefully.

Here is the poisonous lookalike of the prized morel, Gyromitra esculenta. It often grows under conifers such as balsam, pine and spruce. Fruiting bodies (mushrooms) may be found in spring but summer and fall are the predominate fruiting periods.

The mushroom from a distance or to the beginner may look like a morel, but upon closer inspection key identifying features will be revealed. The surface is not truly pitted, it is wrinkled, folded, and convoluted where as true morels will be pitted like a sponge.

The stem may be white, cream, or have a slight yellow tint. When cut open the stem is solid though may have air pockets. A true morel will be hollow all the way through.

It had previously been thought that these mushrooms could be parboiled, the water discarded, to be made edible but recent evidence indicates that this is in no way a reliable method of removing all the poisons. This species and other false morels cause poisoning through a compound known as Monomethylhydrazine which is found in jet fuel. When poisoned, the victim’s symptoms will be delayed anywhere from six to twelve hours. Eventually, fatigue, headache, abdominal pain, and occasionally watery diarrhea may occur. In more extreme cases, liver damage, delirium, and occasionally death will occur. There are no antidotes as of yet. There are plenty of other edibles to learn out that do not requiring doctoring to be made edible making Gyromitra not worthwhile.

Note: Before consuming any wild vegetation or plants please consult an expert. This is for informational purposes only!

Call for CMS Mushroom Festival Volunteers

collecting mushroomsDid you know that the amazing mushroom display at Mount Pisgah Arboretum’s (MPA) Mushroom Festival is entirely collected, identified, displayed and interpreted by CMS volunteers? (Of course, we have wonderful guest experts assist us with identification.) You can help! Here’s how…

Collect mushrooms

CMS will be organizing special forays to collect mushrooms for the show – watch the CMS website for details. You can also collect mushrooms on your own and bring your treasures to MPA’s White Oak Pavilion on Saturday, 10/26, between 10 am and 3 pm.  Will your huge Cauliflower Mushroom, fresh young Stinkhorn, or picture-perfect Scaly Pholiota win “Best of Show?”

Help set up on Saturday

You can help place mushrooms in the display, hang posters and signs, set up educational displays, and organize the CMS booth. You don’t need to sign up to help out, just show up at the White Oak Pavilion on Saturday, 10/26, between 10 am and 2 pm.

Help set up on Sunday

Sunday morning, 8:30 – 10:00 AM is always a scramble to clear, clean and organize before the show opens. Again, just come early and we’ll gratefully put you to work. Help share the fungal fun – booth volunteers talk to people about the CMS mission and upcoming events. You can also Read more »