2023/2024 CMS Board Members
We are very happy to announce that all of the CMS Board Members we had in 2022/2023 have agreed to volunteer again for 2023/2024. Fortunately, our elections do not include annoying commercials, ads, etc. We just let you know their backgrounds and ask that you support them with your vote (a requirement for non-profits). General CMS members vote for Board members, then the Board Members vote among themselves for officers/committee heads. All are listed below with their current Board Positions. It’s all pretty informal.
Chris Melotti (President & Speaker Coordinator)
Chris is a Wildlife & Ecology Consultant, a former BLM Wildlife Biologist, and grew up in Pennsylvania in a mushroom loving family. After attending LCC’s Biology of Mushrooms taught by the famous Freeman Rowe in 1995, Chris became part of the core group that puts together the Mushroom Display at the annual Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival and subsequently formed the Cascade Mycological Society. You will usually find Chris staffing the Edible and Poisonous Mushroom Display at the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Festival. He also gives Guided Mushroom Walks at the Yachats Mushroom Festival. Chris has served on the CMS Board continuously since it’s inception. Chris often leads CMS field trips, and frequently gives talks on the Ecology and Biology of Mushrooms at local community events with his wife, Molly Widmer, another founding CMS board member.
Matthew Johnson (Vice President & Field Trip Coordinator)
Matthew Johnson first started foraging for mushrooms in the early’80s. In 1989 he was lucky enough to attend Freeman Rowe’s Biology of Mushrooms class at LCC. Since then, he has helped each year to put together the annual Mount Pisgah Mushroom show.
He first joined the CMS Board in 2001 but had to quickly resign because he got a job offer in the Republic of Palau, a small island nation in the Western Pacific. He re-joined the Board in 2004 when he returned. Over the years he has served in various officer position on the board, from Secretary, Newsletter Editor, Interim President, to now Vice President, and Field Trip Coordinator. He has led many a mushroom field trip for CMS and also leads mushroom walks each year at the Yachats Mushroom Festival.
Matthew is a banjo player, a SCUBA diver, an amateur anthropologist, and a dad. He is also an attorney, as is his wife Meredith, who is a former Board member and past President. Matthew and Meredith have a teenager, an avid if reluctant mushroom picker, who won First Place in the Best of Show at the 2015 Mushroom festival with a potentially new species of Hypomyces.
Erin Brown (Recording Secretary)
Erin has been an avid outdoor enthusiast for a long as she can remember. Born and raised in Spokane, WA, she relocated to Springfield, OR in 2008. Prior to the move, she was a Park Ranger in North Cascades National Park. As an amateur photographer, she has always had a passion for nature photography and is drawn to the diversity of color, texture, and shape of mushrooms. She began foraging wild edibles on her own about 15 years ago after several years of ‘just looking’. Erin joined CMS in 2016 and enjoys going on mushroom outings with her daughter Madison and son Parker. They don’t like to eat them much (except when she turns Pseudohydnum gelatinosum into gummies), but they sure have eagle eyes. Erin currently works for the Springfield School District as a substitute Educational Assistant and also enjoys volunteering at her kid’s school. Pastimes include camping, fly fishing, floating rivers, hiking, pottery, reading, knitting, and cooking… to name a few. Erin joined the CMS board in March of 2019.
Eugena Mathiason (Treasurer)
Eugena grew up running around forests since she was a kid in rural Southern Oregon, probably squashing all the best fungi with each unwitting step. She’s always loved exploring the mystery and bounty of the outdoors but didn’t come to know the magic and excitement of mushroom foraging (she calls it treasure hunting) until she and her husband, Matt, moved to the Willamette Valley in 2016 and joined the CMS shortly after. If asked, she’ll admit she mostly joined because of Matt’s interests and appreciation for mushrooms, but her “faithful companion” mindset quickly turned into excitement of her own after their first CMS treasure hunt (ahem, field trip).
Much of her enthusiasm had to be throttled for a time as she had returned to school to earn her bachelor’s degree in accounting. Work and school demanded most of her time for the spell and she could only get out with Matt on occasion. Now, she works as a payroll specialist and staff accountant by day and forager/adventurer whenever her adulting duties allow. Among her list of non-mushroom adventuring activities are hiking, backpacking, SCUBA diving, and cycling, for starters. She also welcomes spending time in the garden as well as in the kitchen- preparing and/or preserving whatever wonderful bounties come their way. Eugena joined the CMS board in February 2021 and is excited to be part of the CMS.
Lee Yamada (NAMA liaison)
Lee Yamada has been foraging for and cooking wild edible mushrooms since he was 7 years old, a mere 77 years. He has traveled to Europe, South America, and Asia with his wife Phyllis in search of mushrooms. And, has catered mushroom featured dinners at numerous wineries in his native California. It was a mushroom identification class taught by David Arora (author of Mushrooms Demystified and All that the Rain Promises) in the early 80s that started Lee on his quest to learn more about fungi. He would eventually become an assistant leader for David and also lent a hand with the cooking at the Annual David Arora Thanksgiving Weekend Wild Mushroom Workshops.
Lee was an early member of the Santa Cruz Fungus Federation formed in 1984 by David and his students. And, when David was ready to hand over the reigns as Director of the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair; Lee stepped up and organized the fair from 1993 until 2003. On a national level, Lee is a lifetime member of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) and served as their foray chairperson from 2001 to 2003, while Phyllis served as President of NAMA.
Lee and his wife Phyllis moved from California to Eugene in 2016. After attending just a few CMS meetings, Lee volunteered to join the CMS Board. We were certainly glad to welcome him and his wealth of experience. The entire CMS Board has enjoyed getting to know and spending time with both Lee and Phyllis over the past 5 years. Sadly, after a prolonged illness, Phyllis passed away in 2021. Since then, Lee is volunteering even more. Hint: he is always looking for ways to keep busy. So, if you need a mushrooming partner, he is always game!
Matt Mathiason (Web team)
Matt spent a lot of time outdoors growing up in southern Oregon. He frequently went out with his dad to scout for hunting season, camp and/or fish. All of the time wandering around looking at the ground for game signs brought many different mushrooms into view. Coupled with an unending curiosity about the natural world eventually led to the purchase of a few mushroom ID guides and the confidence to identify a few species. After moving to the Eugene area in 2016 he discovered CMS and quickly joined. He has since been a sponge attending the monthly presentations, going on mushroom outings, reading mycology related books and volunteering at the annual festival. Matt decided to put his talents as a software engineer to use and volunteered to contribute to the web site in 2020, joining the board in February 2021. Outside of being outside he has collected too many hobbies to list (or have time for) and enjoys time spent adventuring with his wonderful wife Eugena.
Bob Blanchard (Board Member at large)
Bob and his wife Debbie moved to Eugene from northern California in 1981. In 1998 Bob was fortunate enough to meet Marcia Peeters, who, with other local mycologists, was about to start a local mushroom club – the Cascade Mycological Society. Having photographed mushrooms for a couple of decades and having a keen interest in learning more about them, Bob was thrilled when Marcia asked if he’d like to be part of founding the club. Bob said he’d be glad to attend the meetings without saying a word, absorbing all he could about mushrooms – giving a new meaning to Sponge Bob. Bob has been active in CMS ever since, helping out with the Mount Pisgah Arboretum mushroom festival, and joining the board in 2019. Bob is also an avid birder, photographer, and woodworker. Bob joined the CMS board in March of 2019.
Dylan Eckert (Board Member at large)
“Science, hypothesis, exploration, magic, journey, nature, “abstract” individuals, soaked to the bone, mystery – fungi is the only common element in such a set. For Dylan, the first wild mushroom he ever consumed morphed into thousands of hours of searching for the “pot of gold”, the “Where’s Waldo” scavenger hunt, the all-consuming mushroaming lust.
Like many who have caught the mushrooming bug, Dylan has been fortunate to meet awesome individuals who were willing to share their knowledge and help with his journey. He hopes to do the same for others. Someone once stated, “I don’t want to ruin your journey of discovery”, after a request to give away mushroom spots. He agrees with this philosophy and feels that rewards are best when earned. However, he does enjoy sharing the many tidbits for success he has learned and the passion to keep pursuing those adventures.
Dylan has worked a myriad of jobs, most of which were rather unremarkable (his words). The highlights could be summarized as follows: after graduating with a degree in physics and math, he became a journeyman electrician and recently switched career paths to working for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Until he becomes independently wealthy, you can find him inspecting gas stations as a regulator, (sexily exaggerated as “Environmental Cop”) and checking out the local taco trucks, parks, and public spaces around Oregon while driving between facilities.
You’ll notice Dylan is highly passionate, opinionated, and motivated to learn and grow!”
Other CMS Volunteers