History of the Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival

The above video is by the Ethos Magazine, a student-run, multicultural magazine based at the University of Oregon. It was filmed in 2011 at the 30th Anniversary of the Mount Pisgah Arboretum (MPA) Mushroom Festival.

CMS members Freeman Rowe and Marcia Peeters were the originators of the MPA annual Mushroom Festival. They graced the festival with their huge talent and dedication for over 30 years, providing critical organizational and identification skills.

CMS’s history is intricately tied to the Mount Pisgah Arboretum as well as Lane Community College (LCC). The three community organizations have connecting threads just like the mycelial strands that tie together mushrooms and their habitats.

Freeman Rowe
Freeman Rowe
But what is the Lane Community College connection?

Freeman Rowe taught botany at LCC for many years, and also created the incredibly popular Biology of Mushrooms class, which he taught until his retirement in 1996. Susie Holmes, one of Freeman’s alumni students and former teaching assistants, currently teaches this still popular class.

The Cascade Mycological Society grew like a beautiful wild mushroom from the fertile mycelium of the LCC class and the MPA Mushroom Festival. Enthusiastic students of Freeman Rowe’s Biology of Mushrooms class organized and incorporated the Cascade Mycological Society in 1999. Many CMS members are past or present students of the class. More than a few have taken the class more than once!

LCC Biology of Mushrooms class students still support the annual MPA Mushroom Festival. Together with members of CMS, they provide critical volunteer labor to setup the very large fungal display. With named species numbering between 300 and 500 each year. Volunteers contribute hundreds of hours each year, to collect, identify, and display these ephemeral marvels of nature.

CMS is proud to help organize this important event that serves as a fundraiser for the MPA. The festival also serves as CMS’s largest annual educational outreach event. We welcome new members to collect mushrooms and help create the display on the Saturday prior to the festival.