2022-2023 Year in Review

Hooray! The COVID-19 nightmare is finally over. The 2022-2023 year for CMS meant a return to more normalcy. However, as with most organizations, COVID-19 did bring about some changes that are here to stay. Below are the highlights for the year.

CMS Meetings

We were happy to begin the year by meeting in person at the Amazon Community Center. But, we also continued livestreaming all of our meetings to the CMS YouTube channel even when we met in person. In addition to reaching a wider audience with livestreams; virtual technology now enables us to invite speakers from both near and far. In the end, we did quite a few virtual meetings. We missed the comradery of meeting in person. But, being able to watch from the comfort of your home with a glass of wine, turns out to be quite nice; especially during the cold and rainy winter months. All of the meetings below are available on the CMS Website for CMS members to view at any time (must be logged in). Some, with permission of the speaker, are also retained on the CMS YouTube channel.

Our public monthly meetings for 2022/2023 included a diversity of topics of interest to both the layman mushroom enthusiasts and the serious mycologists. If you have ever looked at the subject of a presentation and thought, “this is going to be just too sciency for me”, you should think again. Even complete novices always learn something new with every presentation; and often find the talk to be completely understandable and interesting.

Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival Highlights

Except for the absence of rain in September and most of October, we were almost back to our normal Mushroom Festival. Partnering with the Arboretum and Lane Community College to put on the annual Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival each year is always a privilege and a highlight of the year for CMS members. In addition to being the largest educational event of the year for CMS; it is also the largest fund raising event of the year for both the Arboretum and CMS. CMS had record sales at our sales booth of over $5000; we sold out of many items.

A great big thank you to all of the CMS members who went out on one of the five collecting forays, those who helped to set up the displays and fold t-shirts on Saturday, and those that helped with staffing the festival on Sunday. A special thanks to those that did all three!  

And, as always, Susie Holmes and her LCC students are always there to help get every mushroom into place!

We were also glad to welcome back Steve Trudell and Noah Siegel who spent all day Saturday identifying mushrooms then spent all day Sunday at the Expert ID table. We all wish we had both your energy and knowledge! We also had Efrén Cázares to identify all of those coral mushrooms (genus Ramaria) you saw on display. Without Efren’s knowledge and examination of species with a microscope, the Ramaria section would be very sparse.

From CMS Display Coordinators Peg Boulay and Bruce Newhouse – To no one’s surprise, because of the long drought preceding the show, numbers were much lower than the past few years:

Total number of species on display – 307
In the show before: 286
New to the show: 21

CMS Member only Forays

The 2022/2023 mushrooming season was certainly not the best due to lack of our normal rainfall – but who knows what normal is these days? Regardless, we still had plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy some “forest bathing”, while learning about how to forage for and identify mushrooms safely. Below is the list of CMS Member forays for the season.

  • October 1, 2022 – Coast foray with Matthew Johnson
  • October 23, 2022 – Coast foray with Lee Yamada & Sandy Patton
  • October 25, 2022 – Festival foray to Coast with Cheshire Mayrsohn
  • October 26, 2022 – Festival foray to Coast with Matt Mathiason
  • October 27, 2022 – Festival foray to the Cascades with Chris Melotti
  • October 27, 2022 – Festival foray to the Coast with Matt Mathiason
  • October 28, 2022 – Festival foray to the Cascades with Cheshire Mayrsohn
  • November 5, 2022 – Mushroom survey at Mount Pisgah Arboretum with Bitty Roy
  • November 5, 2022 – Lower Cascades near Cottage Grove with Joe Spivack
  • November 11, 2022 – Coast foray with Trent & Kristen Blizzard
  • December 3, 2022 – East side of Coast range with Matt & Eugena Mathiason
  • January 28, 2023 – Lower Cascades near Cottage Grove with Chris Melotti & Matt Mathiason
  • April 14, 2023 – Dexter/Lowell area with Dylan Eckert
  • April 18, 2023 – Cascades foray with Matt Mathiason
  • May 21, 2023 – Cascades foray with Matt Mathiason
  • June 9, 2023 – Cascades Highway foray with Matthew Johnson

Fungi education in the Community

CMS as an organization and individual CMS members participate in community events that promote and educate about fungi throughout the year. Below are the community events for 2022-2023. Many CMS members are walking fungi evangelists, so there may be more!

  • CMS partners with the City of Eugene Recreation Services to offer seasonal educational forays and classes to the community through the Amazon Community Center where we hold our monthly meetings. This years events were a Family Mushroom Walk through Hendricks park led by Chris Melotti and Molly Widmer. An Introduction to Wild Mushroom Identification class taught by Ron and Sandy Patton at the Amazon Community Center. And, a Cooking with Mushrooms demonstration class taught by Lee Yamada at the Amazon Community Center.
  • CMS has maintained a presence in the Community Village section of the Oregon Country Fair for many years. We don’t have a lot of space; but we educate as much as we can. This years host and educator was CMS Board Member Lee Yamada.
  • At the end of the 2022 MPA Mushroom Festival, CMS members Joe Spivack and Lee Yamada gathered up several boxes of mushrooms for a special show and tell. The next week they headed over to the Village School of Eugene to talk about the basic biology of mushrooms, show examples of various species, and discuss the important role that fungi play in the ecosystem. A week later they all piled into a school bus and headed out for a fabulous day in the woods.  The kids were great at finding lots of mushrooms and were very attentive in listening to Joe and Lee relate their finds back to the discussions they had heard the week before. It had been about 20 years since Joe had done a program for the 5th and 6th grade classes at Lorraine school that his two girls attended.  Joe has fond memories of doing those programs and decided he now has time to start up the program again. 

Grants and Scholarships Awarded

In March of 2023 CMS became aware that the Lincoln County Mycological Society had donated $1500 towards to purchase of a new herbarium cabinet for the storage of fungi specimens at the OSU Herbarium. Because a new cabinet cost a total of $3000, the CMS Board voted to match their donation to complete the project. You can read more about the donation and view a video of the surprise announcement of the donation to Dr. Jessie Uehling, the Fungal Herbarium curator here.

CMS has been proud to offer the Freeman Rowe Educational Scholarship since 2008. Eligibility for the scholarship is limited to Oregon college students (community college or university undergraduate, or graduate) who are engaging in mycology research. On June 2, 2022 the CMS Board of Directors voted to grant Brandon Stairs the 2022 Freeman Rowe Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1000. Brandon was provided an initial $500 when the scholarship was awarded, and the remainder was provided when he presented the results of his research project at the February 2023 CMS meeting.

Macrofungi of Lane County, OR (MLCO)

This year marks the 5 year anniversary since the Macrofungi of Lane County Oregon (MLCO) project was established in 2018. The project is lead by – Dr. Bitty Roy, Bruce Newhouse, and Susie Holmes. But, everyone is able to become a “citizen scientist” and contribute. Bruce Newhouse continues to lead the pack of observers with the greatest number of observations (1721). However, we have someone new at the top of the leader board for number of unique species (470). That honor goes to Conner Dooley, an OSU Biology and Botany student.

The MLCO project on iNaturalist is constantly growing/gathering inputs through everyday people uploading their fungal finds to iNaturalist. Every mushroom uploaded to iNaturalist that is within the MLCO geographical boundaries and meets all of the MLCO requirements is automatically added to the project.

Each year MLCO organizes a Mycoblitz to coincide with the Mount Pisgah Mushroom Festival. The dry weather leading up to the festival definitely had an impact.  The 2022 Mycoblitz had 913 observations compared to 2476 observations in 2021 and 2296 in 2020.

Additionally, this past year the project actively documented macrofungi in 3 specific areas associated with fire in oaks, prairies, and conifer forests. This effort was to assist with fulfilling the requirements of a National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant to determine how climate and fire affect mushroom fruiting and distributions. The NSF grant has enabled the DNA sequencing of hundreds of specimens from three sites in Lane County: conifers at HJ Andrews and both oak and prairie sites at Mount Pisgah Arboretum.  All sites have recent fires and control unburned areas.  CMS members have participated in collections at all 3 sites including the collection of truffles by CMS member Heather Dawson and her truffle dog Rye.

Below are the current statistics for the 3 projects maintained by MLCO on iNaturalist. The increase in #s cited in parenthesis, is the change since last years CMS Year in Review was published on July 20, 2022.

Macrofungi of Lane County Oregon

Project Description: This project was started to inventory and document the macrofungi of Lane County, Oregon and the surrounding area. It is sanctioned as a part of the Cascade Mycological Society (CMS).

  • Total observations: 54,860 (increase of 13,108)
  • Total species: 1883 ( increase of 460)
  • #people/contributors: 4,345 (increase of 1,002)

Woodchip Fungi of Lane County Oregon

Project Description: The Woodchip Fungi of Lane County project was created in December of 2019. This project documents fungi that are present in wood chip habitats. Primarily geared towards urban landscapes in the Eugene-Springfield area; it includes fungi present in any woodchip (i.e. wood chip or mulch covered landscape areas) habitat within Lane County.

  • Total observations: 176 (increase of 5)
  • Total species: 56 (increase of 1)
  • #people/contributors: 67 (increase of 1)

Vouchered Macrofungi of Lane County Oregon

Project Description: This project is for designated users who voucher fungal specimens for a fungaria (fungal herbaria). A subset of these vouchered specimans are selected for DNA testing.

  • Total observations: 437 (increase of 69)
  • Total species: 245 (increase of 33)
  • #people/contributors: 26 (increase of 8)

To keep abreast of the MLCO project, check out the MLCO News & Updates page.

CMS Special Events/Activities

Each year, we seem to have some type of new or special event or activity. Sometimes they turn into an annual event/activity, while some do not. 

The CMS Board was contacted by Mountain Rose Herbs Mercantile during June of 2022 to ask if we would participate in their new Sunday Series Events at their newly created Mercantile Annex. We were happy to offer up some ideas for events that we could bring to the community. In the end, we did 3 community events at the Mercantile Annex: Discover Fungi, a Clay Chanterelle Class and a Mushroom Dye Talk and Demo.

Discover Fungi – October 9, 2023

 Come experience the fun and excitement of learning about fungi. Bring any mushrooms you have to be identified, edible or not. We will have microscopes on hand for everyone to view the intricacies of fungal organisms. If you don’t have mushrooms to bring, don’t worry, we will have plenty of cool and interesting specimens to examine.  We will also have educational displays and activities for kids. 

Experienced members of the Cascade Mycological Society will be on hand to talk to you about: How and where mushrooms grow, poisonous mushrooms to avoid, the easiest edible mushrooms to find and identify, medicinal mushrooms, cultivating mushrooms at home, mushroom books we recommend, plus a mushroom cooking demo and tasting. No lectures or formal talks. Just wander in, peruse the displays and ask questions.

Clay Chanterelle Class – Nov 20, 2022

Learn how to make realistic mushrooms from air dry clay with Sandy Patton from the Cascade Mycological Society. These are fun to make and give as gifts. Each participant will make and go home with a Chanterelle ornament, along with the paint, paint brushes, and polyurethane to finish their ornament. 

Mushroom Dye Talk and Demo – December 11, 2023

Come explore mushroom dyes with mycologist and dyer Cheshire Mayrsohn. After a talk about which wild mushrooms make color and what color they make; Cheshire will demonstrate the dye process. Everyone will take home a few yarn dye samples and new found knowledge of how to get started at home.

Game of Shrooms – June 10, 2023

For the 2nd year in a row, CMS member Sandy Patton participated on behalf of CMS in this world-wide art N seek event created by Attaboy (click for more information). Five mushroom art objects were placed at each of 3 local parks: Hendricks Park, Alton Baker Park and Amazon Park. So, 15 lucky park walkers went home with a fun mushroom surprise!

For a full report on CMS’s participation in the event, read more.

Last but not least … CMS Board member Erin Brown started an official CMS Instagram account. So, now in addition to the CMS website and newsletter you can stay informed on the CMS: Facebook page, Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest.

CMS Board of Directors

Above are the 2022/2023 CMS Board of Directors. Even though the pandemic has subsided, the CMS Board has chosen to continue to meet via Zoom. Of coarse, we do occasional gather for a beer at a local brew pub.

CMS members who login to the CMS Website can find all of the Board Meeting minutes and information on how to get more involved on the CMS Board Activities page.

  • President/Speaker Coordinator: Chris Melotti (pictured top/center)
  • Vice President Coordinator: Matthew Johnson (top/left)
  • Treasurer: Eugena Mathiason (bottom/right)
  • Recording Secretary:  Erin Brown (middle/right)
  • Foray Coordinator: Matthew Johnson (top/left)
  • Lee Yamada – NAMA laison (top/right)
  • Bob Blanchard (bottom/center)
  • Matt Mathiason – Tech team (bottom/left)
  • Dylan Eckert (middle/left)

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