THE MYCOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF WASHINGTON, DC

Past Meetings

3 November 2015 - Jared Urcheck was our guest this month, speaking about the medicinal properties of mushrooms. Jared is a MAW member and owner/operator of Boulder High Country Mushrooms, a gourmet fungal food and medicine company.

6 October 2015 - Dr. Catherine Glew was our guest this month, who is a teaching associate in the Biology Department at the University of Washington. Her lecture covered general knowledge of, and particular species of lichens in the Northeast.

1 September 2015 - Where are the missing fungi? Dr. Mary Catherine Aime spoke about revising fungal species estimates based on new discoveries from expeditions to the extremely remote Pakaraima Mountains of western Guyana. Our distinguished guest this month is an associate professor of botany and plant pathology at Purdue University. Her presentation covered the biodiversity of mushrooms in Guyana, South America.

4 August 2015 - Intro to Mushroom Identification

7 July 2015 - What are Truffles and How Do You Find Them? Dr. Michael Castellano is a Research Forester fir the USDA, Forest Service, and a courtesy Professor of Forest Science at the Oregon State University. He has done extensive research on the applied aspects of ectomycorrhizas in forest ecosystems and for the last 20 years has focused on increasing our understanding of the natural history and identification of fleshy macro-fungi, particularly truffles.

2 June 2015 - Bob Blanchette is a professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches and carries out research on the biology and ecology of forest fungi, diseases of trees and wood microbiology. He has a special interest in ethnomycology and how indigenous people from around the world use fungi. He is currently working on how Ganoderma (Lingzhi) in Asia was used from ancient to modern times. He also studies fungi that attack historic wooden structures and objects and has worked on projects at the Forbidden City in China, Scott and Shackleton’s expedition huts in Antarctica, the King Midas tomb in Turkey, ancient shipwrecks in Mediterranean as well as many others.

5 May 2015 - Tim Geho - Do you want to know the secrets of finding morel mushrooms? Our speaker, Tim Geho, a morel expert, has developed his own theories on how, why, and where morels grow. He feels that as one’s morel hunting and mental observations accumulate, one’s chances and results of finding morels will increase. Some years, though, even Tim admits, he doesn’t find that many, such as last year when, due to the cold spring, he only found 12 pounds, compared to about 77 pounds, a few years back. Tim will share and elaborate on his best advice: ETERNAL VIGILANCE. Tim is a former MAW member from about 15 years ago. He met his current spouse, Judy Roberts, at MAW meetings and moved to Charleston SC, where they now reside

7 April 2015 - Gary Lincoff - this leading mycologist and speaker needs no introduction. Here is a short list of just a few of his many contributions to the field of mycology. Gary Lincoff is the author of numerous books and articles on mushrooms, including many a mycologist's field bible: The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. He regularly teaches courses on mushroom identification at the New York Botanical Garden, and has led mushroom trips and forays around the world. In 2008, he had a prominent and highly enjoyable role in the award-winning documentary: Know Your Mushrooms.

3 March 2015 - Albert Garcia-Romeu, Ph.D. is a Guest Researcher at the National Institutes of Health, and a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he is currently researching the effects of psychedelic compounds in human subjects with a focus on psilocybin as a potential treatment for addiction. The work at John Hopkins University has led to a number of interesting clinical findings including personal meaningfulness and spiritual significance of high dosage of psilocybin among healthy volunteers, and the ability of such experiences to create long-term (beneficial) changes in personality as well as the potential usefulness as an agent in treating anxiety secondary to a life-threatening illness like cancer, and in helping people quit smoking.

3 February 2015 - Dr. Joyce Harman, an avid professional photographer and holistic veterinarian, who specializes in horses. She is a past president of the Manassas Warrenton Camera Club, and founding member of the Old Rag Photography Gallery in Sperryville, VA. Her photography lectures cover a wide range of topics.

January 6, 2015 - Jay Millar, a Canadian poet, editor/publisher, and author of Mycological Studies, which examines the similarities between the world of mushrooms and writing. Jay Millar is a poet, editor and publisher (BookThug) who has been actively involved in the Canadian experimental poetry community for the past fifteen years. He is the author of five books; the co-editor of the magazine BafterC; and the proprietor of the online/itinerant bookstore Apollinaire's Bookshoppe. Mycological Studies, Jay Millar's second collection of poems, looks at the world of mushrooms through a kaleidoscope of perspectives and styles, ranging from innovative and constraint-based writing to visual and concrete poetry. This book makes a unique contribution to the poetry of science and nature; if mushrooms have a language that is spoken to us or through us as hallucinogenic experiences, Millar has managed to tap into that language and refine it into potent poetic form.  

December 2, 2014 - Jonathan Reisman MD provided an overview of the role of fungi in human disease, including the dangers of potent mycotoxins and life-threatening fungal infections.  

November 4, 2014 - How to get rid of evil spirits? - Lawrence Millman is an ethnographer as well as a mycologist. He will combine the two subjects in this presentation, which will focus on the various uses of fungi by the Inuit, the Chukchi, and other northern Native people. Such people employ fungi as fire-starters, insect smudges, and objects to get rid of evil spirits, but never as edibles.  

October 7, 2014 - How do we protect our nation from foreign fungi? Our guest speaker for the month of October will be Dr. Jill Demers, a postdoctoral research associate with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, MD, in the Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory. She is originally from Connecticut and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University in 2006. She became interested in fungi while at Cornell and went on to earn a Ph.D. in plant pathology from The Pennsylvania State University in 2012. Her Ph.D. research was focused on the population genetics of Fusarium Oxysporum, a common plant-pathogenic fungus, collected from chickpea and tomato plants. While at the USDA, her research has focused on rust fungi, with particular focus on their systematics and on developing molecular detection methods for quarantine significant rusts.  

August 5, 2014 - Fungal Relationships - Why do some mushrooms grow in relation to particular species of trees or on certain substrates, including dead trees? Tovi Lehmann, a scientist with the National Institute of Health, and a member of our club, will shed light to this question during his talk on August 5. He will invite us to engage in observing fungi in their natural habitat, and explore and understand their fascinating life cycles.  

July 1, 2014 - Ascomycetes - Michael Beug is Professor Emeritus at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he taught chemistry, mycology and organic farming for 32 years. He is the co-author, together with Alan and Arleen Bessette, of the recently published book entitled Ascomycete Fungi of North America. This hard-bound, 472-page, book covers over 600 species and contains 843 color photographs.  

May 6, 2014 - Growing Agaricus Mushrooms - Our guest speaker for the month of May will be Kristine Ellor, the mycologist/ Technical Director of Phillips Mushroom Farms, the largest producer of exotic mushrooms in the country. She will speak on growing Agaricus mushrooms, one of the most widely consumed mushrooms in the world. She has had extensive academic and hands-on experience on growing mushrooms and was the co-founder of the Mycological Association of Greater Philadelphia.
 

April 1, 2014 - Growing Fungi in the Home and Garden - Dr. Michael Smith, a member of the our club, will give an overview of growing ten kinds of mushrooms on different substrates. Smith is a retired ichthyologist who has travelled world-wide, searching for and researching the largest species of fish.

He has led expeditions to Southeast Asia and Latin America documenting the full range of biodiversity in little explored areas. Since retiring to the oak-hickory woods of Montgomery County, he has been interested in learning how the Eastern Woodland Indians eked out a living by hunting, fishing, foraging, and gardening in a very shady ecosystem. That interest led right to the foods of the Eastern Woodland Indians, such as mushrooms, ramps, fiddlehead ferns, paw paws, berry crops, persimmons, and many more. Mike is trying to master as many mushroom-growing techniques as possible, and to use them to grow mushrooms in the same space where he grows the crops that once nourished the original inhabitants of the Eastern Woodlands

Our second speaker is Paul Goland, who for many years, was an active member of our club. He will talk on growing Shitake mushrooms on logs. He has been growing shitake mushrooms in West Virginia for over thirty years. He will demonstrate how to inoculate logs and will bring logs and spawn to sell.

4 February 2014: Fuel from Fungi and other Emerging Fungal Research - Our speaker for February is Ophelia M. Barizo, a long-time member of our club. Could the lowly fungi be the fuel of the future that could help save our planet? In the face of dwindling reserves of fossil fuel, and the harmful emissions of gasoline and coal into the environment which are factors in climate change, promising research, funded by the National Science Foundation, is currently being conducted to turn these lowly fungi to fuel.

Ophelia Barizo is currently an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow serving her fellowship at the National Science foundation. As the teaching chair of the Science Department of Highland View Academy in Hagerstown, she was awarded a large grant from Toyota Foundation to study mushrooms in the Washington County. This study, undertaken with her grade 9 students, resulted in the publication of the booklet entitled: Wild Mushrooms of Washington County.” It was also featured in a high school environmental science textbook by Pearson Education. In 2012, she was named the PASCO STEM educator of the year by the National Science Teachers Association. She has also won other NSTA awards within the last three years. Among her awards are: Educator of the Year for Private Schools for Washington County. In May 2013 she was presented an outstanding educator award by the Alumni Awards Foundation, one of ten teachers nationwide.

 5 November 2013: Welcome Eugenia Bone! - The Kitchen Mycologist: Why are some mushrooms more expensive than others? Why are some only found in the wild and others cultivated? Why do mushrooms cook the way they do? Why does one nutritionist say mushrooms have no nutrition, and another says they are key to nutritional health? How do I avoid getting ripped off when buying truffles and truffle products? And are they really aphrodisiacs? This illustrated talk explains how a bit of mycology will make you a better mycophagist.

Eugenia Bone is a nationally known food writer and lecturer, and the president of the New York Mycological Society. Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms is her fourth book. Her next book, The Kitchen Ecosystem, will be published by Clarkson Potter in August, 2014.

6 August 2013: Dr. Robert Hall presented: Mycology and Medicine - The health benefits of certain mushroom species were evident to our pre-historic ancestors. Other well known effects of mycological metabolites include psychiatric disturbance, acute poisoning, and antimicrobial activity; but these are just the tip of the iceberg. Fungi control their ecological space through an immense range of highly complex and specific molecules that influence the species around them in extraordinary ways. Fungal products often target metabolic processes in evolutionarily far removed species such as humans. We are always delighted when these molecules provide new medicines, but this also raises the question of what drives the natural selection for fungi to produce human drugs. In this talk I will describe some remarkable recent discoveries in the molecular interactions between fungal and human biology, and their origins in ecology.

Dr. Robert Hall is from Edinburgh, in Scotland. He received his undergraduate degree in microbiology from Aberdeen University. His mycology professor, Graham Gooday discovered, among other things, that fungi incorporate chitin at the hyphal tip. Prof Gooday was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and President of the British Mycology Society.

Dr. Hall studied for PhD at University College London and moved into bacteriology despite maintaining a long interest in mycology. He is presently working at the NIH in Bethesda, in part to re-establish active interest in fungi particularly in the areas of molecular ecology.
 

2 July 2013: Terrestrial orchids and mycorrhiza: a complex relationship - All orchids require interactions with fungi at one or more life history stages and research at our laboratory, and others, have found that the interactions are complex and that little is known about them. The North American Orchid Conservation Center has been established to assure the survival of all native orchids in the U.S. and Canada. An important component of NAOCC will be the establishment of a fungal bank that is devoted to culturing, storing and identifying fungi that associate with native orchids. In this presentation Whigham will describe some of the research that they have conducted on orchid-fungal interactions.

Dennis Whigham is a Senior Botanist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland. After graduation with an undergraduate degree from Wabash College, Dennis Whigham completed a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina. He taught botany and ecology at Rider College before assuming a position at the Smithsonian in 1977. He spent sabbaticals at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) and Harvard. Dr. Whigham’s current projects focus on wetlands, the rarest terrestrial orchid in eastern North America, and invasive species. He and his collaborators have published almost 225 articles in journals and books and he has co-edited 10 books, including one on terrestrial orchids and a 2009 volume on Tidal Freshwater Wetlands. His current passion is to establish the North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC). NAOCC will be based on continentally focused public-private collaborations that will eventually result in the conservation of the genetic diversity of all native orchids, initially in the U.S. and Canada. 

4 June 2013 Of molecules and murder: the evolution and ecology of insect pathogenic fungi  - Description: There are many ways in which the lives of fungi and insects intertwine, but few are more dramatic than the infection of an insect by pathogens in the genus Cordyceps and other associated fungi. Over the course of evolutionary time, these interactions have resulted in a huge diversity of pathogenic fungi attacking an array of hosts, including beetles, butterflies and spiders. With the introduction of DNA analyses, we have learned that the pathogenic nature of Cordyceps has given way to host shifts that include plants and other fungi. In this talk I will give a brief introduction in the way DNA is used for scientific investigations of evolutionary relationships and how this has opened up the fascinating diversity of Cordyceps.

Dr. Ryan Kepler has been working with insect associated fungi for over a decade. His primary research focus is on the use of molecular methods to investigate the evolutionary relationships between species of Cordyceps and related fungi. This study of these fungi has taken him around the the world to destinations in Japan, China and Thailand, as well as the Southern Appalachian Mountains. In addition to evolutionary studies, his work has included investigations on the use of insect pathogens as biocontrol agents and the fungal symbionts of wood boring wasps. He obtained a PhD from Oregon State University, and is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the USDA in Beltsville, MD. 

7 May 2013: Ascomycota with special attention to two groups: Leaf inhabiting Gnomoniaceae & Indoor molds - Habits of these fungi truly reflect their name. They really are a lot like gnomes. They grow inside most of deciduous trees and many of herbs but nobody is aware of them. For a long part of their life cycle, most of species stay inside living plant tissues not exposing themselves to outer world. After the plant parts die off, the fungi produce tiny black fruiting bodies on them. Typically you can find them in spring on overwintered leaves. Their role in this association with plants is still unknown, most likely this relationship is mutualistic for majority of gnomoniaceous species. However, some species can cause plant diseases and some of them could be pretty serious, for example dogwood anthracnose.

Mikhail V. Sogonov receieved his Ph.D in 2003 from Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia), Biology. He has had extensive experience in mycological labs in this country, Russia, and around the world. He has discovered and described 13 new gnomoniaceous species and 1 new genus. In additon he has received travel awards from the Mycological Society of America to attend international mycological conferences in France and Hawaii. 

2 April 2013: Fascinating Fungi - Walt Sturgeon will provide an illustrated presentation entitled Fascinating Fungi. Walt Sturgeon is one of our favorite presenters. He is president of the Ohio Mushroom Society and is the author of Mushrooms and Macrofungi of Ohio and the Midwestern States and Waxcap Mushroom of Eastern North America. The program will focus on fleshy fungi that are remarkable for wide variety of reasons.


5 March 2013 - Martin Livezey, our Webmaster, introduced internet applications and made suggestions for documenting our local mycoflora.

 

5 February 2013 - William Needham, our Secretary and former Newletter editor, shared information about the nutritional value of mushrooms.
 

8 January 2013 - Jon Ellifritz, our Vice President and former Foray Chair, shared the results of a supermarket foray conducted in the local area.
 

4 December 2012 - Britt Bunyard, editor of Fungi magazine, made a presentation on Chaga and provided Chaga tea.
 

6 November 2012 - Dr. Partick Leacock of the Field Museum of Natural History, made a presentation on mushroom identification focusing on gilled mushrooms.
 

7 October 2012- 11th Annual Mushroom Fair at the Brookside Gardens, in Wheaton, Maryland from 12:00 noon until 5:00 p.m.
 

2 October 2012 - International Mushroom Tasting Festival
 

4 September 2012 - Basic Mushroom Identification: Bring mushrooms from your backyard, the park, the nearby woods. They will be identified for you at the meeting. You will learn what to look for and how to proceed with your own identifications.
 

7 August 2012 - Program: presentation by Noah Siegel "Mushrooms of the California Coast"
 

3 July 2012 meeting to be rescheduled

Program: "Pathogens... Coming to a Forest Near You!"
Beth Brantley will present forest pathogens already established in this area, and some that are lurking on the fringes, or traveling the beltway as we speak! Our forests are inundated with attackers, above and below ground. Plant pathogens arrive in the area on a regular basis, most by innocent methods, such as bringing the plant to northern Virginia from a yard in Florida, purchasing an infected plant at a nursery, and carrying spores on our clothing. This talk will feature identification and management of local tree diseases, and information on what is “on the way”.

Dr. Beth Brantley is an Instructor at Penn State Mont Alto in the Forest Technology program. She teaches undergraduate courses in Plant Biology, Dendrology, Forest Ecosystem Management, Silviculture, and Wildlife Management, and others. Her research interests include butternut canker and extending the range of coast redwoods. Beth is a SAF Certified Forester and ISA Certified Arborist.
 

4 June 2012 “Weird, Weirder, and Weirdest" by Britt Bunyard
 

1 May 2012 Spring Wild Food Tasting Meeting
The MAW SPRING WILD FOOD TASTING Meeting took place on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Phillips Mushroom Farms donated to MAW a variety of mushrooms. At the end of the Tasting a vote was taken for the most popular dishes, with prizes awarded.
 

28-29 April 2012 BioBlitz: Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Martin Livezey headed a foray that identified 18 species for the Bioblitz. Species list at: http://mushroomobserver.org/species_list/show_species_list/313?q=DpGI
 

3 April 2012 Fungal "Resins": the hyphae that bind Sue Van Hook, mycologist with Ecovative Design, Green Island, NY, will provide a presentation about an unusual aspect of fungi in helping to create a more useful world for us! Ecovative Design has been growing mushroom packaging that is home-compostable to replace expanded polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) packaging. The company has been using fungi's natural decomposition processes to solve an environmental problem - how to replace costly petroleum based plastic foams.

 

6 March 2012: Program: "Just for the Smell of it", was presented by Walt Sturgeon, a well known amateur mycologist.

7 February 2012: Program: Romina Orietta Gazis, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland under the supervision of Dr. Priscila Chaverri, presented a program on her work on the fungi of Peru.

1 June 2010: The program was Mushrooms 101: The Basics of Mushroom Identification, Part I. There was a handout of mushroom identification criteria, and slides to demonstrate some of those criteria. Although the numbers of wild mushroom species available this time of year were relatively small, attendees were encouraged to bring what they found, especially if they were relatively distinctive.

4 May 2010: MAW's Spring Wild Foods Tasting.

6 April 2010: The program was a panel discussion of the topic "How and Where to Find Morels," with Mitch Fournet, Larry Goldschmidt, Ray LaSala, and Jon Ellifritz as moderator.

2 March 2010: Guest speaker, Daniel Winkler, presented Tibet's Most Marvelous Mushrooms.

2 February 2010: Projected showing of Know Your Mushrooms, by Ron Mann. The film features the exploits of mushroom hunters Gary Lincoff and Larry Evans at the Telluride Mushroom Festival, which is famous for its celebration of hallucinogenic mushrooms. For a further description of the film, see here.

5 January 2010: Projected showing of Taylock Lockwood's newest DVD, The Good, The Bad and The Deadly.

1 December 2009: MAW membership meeting and elections.

The program was Eat, Drink, and Be Merry." In addition to the election, members contributed to a potluck holiday party table.

3 November 2009: There was a presentation on Taylock Lockwood's newest DVD, The Good, The Bad and The Deadly.

4 August 2009: This was a mushroom identification meeting.

7 July 2009: Mr. Sean Westmoreland, a graduate student working with Tom Volk at the University of Wisconsin gave a presentation on toothed fungi.

2 June 2009: Our featured speaker was Mr. Joseph Lankalis, a retired high school science teacher from Tamaqua, PA, and his topic was Luminescent Fungi and Photographic Techniques. Referencing three different species of luminescent fungi, including Jack O'Lantern and Panellus stipticus, Mr. Lankalis gave a slide presentation demonstrating the difficulties and solutions for photographing these mushrooms.

Mr. Lankalis is a self-taught field biologist who first became interested in field mycology in 1970, when he obtained a field guide with only 78 species, although he has been learning new species every year since.

5 May 2009: Ms. Susan Hopkins presented a program on the use of fungi for textile dyes, with some practical demonstrations.

3 March 2009: Our featured speaker was Dr. Beth Brantley, an Instructor of Forestry at Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto. Her topic was "Fungal Tree Diseases" and featured both native and exotic species, including beech bark disease, butternut canker, and white pine blister rust, as well as information on foliar pathogens, stem cankers, rusts, root rots, and wood decay fungi. Dr. Brantley received her Bachelor's in Biology from Stetson University, Master of Forestry from Duke, and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Penn State. In addition to teaching for 11 years, she was a Forest Pathologist with the USDA Forest Service in Asheville, NC, in the early 1990's.

3 February 2009: Our featured speaker was Sveta Yamin-Pasternak, originally from Belarus. Her interest in the peoples of the Arctic brought her to Fairbanks, Alaska where she pursued graduate work in cultural anthropology. Early in her studies, she noted that the indigenous residents of northern Russia and Alaska have strikingly contrasting attitudes toward mushrooms. Searching for possible explanations fueled her fascination with ethnomycology, which has become the main subject of her research.

The program was based on the doctoral dissertation “How the Devils Went Deaf: Ethnomycology, Cuisine, and Perception of Landscape in the Russian North” and focused on the peoples of the Bering Straits area: their folklore, beliefs, and practices associated with wild mushrooms.

6 January 2009: Our featured speaker was Dr. Rytas Vilgalys, a professor in the Biology Department at Duke University. The program covered the evolutionary processes of mushrooms and other fungi and consisted of a discussion of research on the origins of fungal diversity, the mating systems of wild mushroom species, and the community ecology of fungi in the environment.

5 November 2008: The featured speaker was Cathleen Clancy of the National Capital Poison Center. The program consisted of a presentation on the different types of fungus-related poisons, the symptoms of their ingestion, treatments to mitigate their effects and the types of mushrooms from which the poisons are derived.

2 September 2008: The featured speaker was Drew Minnis. He works on a computer database on plant pathogens at USDA's Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory in Beltsville MD. The program covered the mushroom family Pluteaceae and focused on how to identify common Pluteus species from the Eastern US, supplemented with other commentary on fungi in general.

5 August 2008: This was a field identification meeting with Jon Ellifritz, former MAW President and a noted expert in mushroom identification. Mushrooms were collected and field guides made available to learn to recognize key mushroom attributes.

1 July 2008: Our featured speaker was Jon Ellifritz, former MAW President and a noted expert in mushroom field identification. The program consisted of a slide presentation of common mushrooms and other fungi with a brief explanation of their notable attributes.

3 June 2008: The featured speaker was Dr. Rytas Vilgalys, a professor in the Biology Department at Duke University. In 1995, he received the Mycological Society of America Alexopolous Prize, and later in 2002 was named as an MSA Fellow.

The program addressed the evolutionary processes of mushrooms and other fungi and consisted of a discussion of research on the origins of fungal diversity, the mating systems of wild mushroom species, and the community ecology of fungi in the environment.

1 April 2008: The featured speaker was Dr. Harry Preuss, M.D. noted co-author of the Maitake Magic. Dr. Preuss is a professor at the Georgetown University Medical Center in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

The program consisted of a presentation on the medicinal aspects of fungi, notably the maitake mushroom, characterized as one of nature’s most powerful immune boosters, cancer protectors, and metabolic activators.

4 March 2008: The program was entitled "Rotted wood - alga - fungus: the history and life of Prototaxites."

Fossil plants collected from Devonian sediments along the shores of Gaspe Bay, Quebec, Canada were described in 1859 as fossilized wood and given the name Prototaxites. From an initial study of the material in 1872, Prototaxites was thought to be an alga. However, anatomical and comparative studies by Dr. Francis M. Huber starting in 1992 supported identification of Prototaxites with the fungi, and last year chemical analyses of well preserved tissues of the genus corroborated the identification. Dr. Huber was a staff paleobotanist in the United States National Museum, Smithsonian from June, 1961 until his retirement in August, 2002.

5 February 2008: How long has mushroom study existed as a hobby? What are the origins of amateur mycology in the United States? David Rose, who is the President Emeritus of the Connecticut - Westminster Mycological Association, answered these questions by tracing the history of amateur mycology in the U.S. from its beginnings in the nineteenth century to present-day interest in the fungi. This was a history replete with Civil War spies, colorful characters and acrimonious academics, reckless mycophagists and notorious poisonings, the discovery of mushrooms that led to the psychedelic counter-culture of the 1960s, and the founding of the North American Mycological Association and countless mushroom clubs. Along the way, the mushrooms, both common and esoteric, were illustrated and discussed.

8 January 2008: Our featured speaker was Leon Shernoff, the editor of the internationally distributed magazine Mushroom, the Journal of Wild Mushrooming, the only American consumer magazine dedicated to the hunting of wild mushrooms. His columns on wild mushrooms have appeared in The Wild Foods Network and Mycophile, the newsletter of the North American Mycological Association. He is a former president of the Illinois Mycological Association. Fungi that he has collected are now part of the permanent collection of the Field Museum in Chicago and the New York Botanical Gardens.

The program consisted of a presentation that highlighted the tremendous variety of boletes that are indigenous to Eastern North America. Photographs of the different types of boletes were used to point out the variety of the taxonomic features that can be used to make field identifications. There was some discussion of what constitutes a “new” mushroom.

6 November 2007: John Jemionek, a retired U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps officer, gave a lecture on fungal toxicology based on his many years of experience in the field. The talk covered the various types of fungal toxins and their associated symptoms and treatments.

4 September 2007: The program was entitled “Chasing the Rain, My Treasure Hunt for the World’s Most Beautiful Mushrooms.” This digital slide show featured travel stories from mushroom hunting expeditions around the globe including images from: the U.S., Tibet, Australia, Europe, Africa, Japan, India, Indonesia, and Chile.

Our featured speaker was Taylor Lockwood, who has traveled to over 30 countries, having committed to spending his time and resources in search of the world’s most beautiful mushrooms. His goal is to raise the appreciation of and awareness for mushrooms through his photography. He has published a couple of books, produced an educational DVD and a number of other mushroom-art products.

7 August 2007: The program consisted of an introduction to ten Chinese mushrooms that are available in local markets. Each mushroom was identified with its Chinese name and its English name with some discussion of their growing environment in China, local field identification techniques, methods of preparation and their reputed medicinal benefits. The program concluded with a demonstration of how to prepare dried mushrooms and how to stir fry fresh mushrooms. Some samples were offered for tasting.

Our featured speaker was Kimberly Wu who was born and grew up in Beijing, China, where she got her training as a gynecologist. She came to US in 1993 to do post-doctorate work at the National Institutes of Health. She was assisted by her father, Shimin Yu who is from Yunnan, China, which is world renowned for having over 600 edible wild mushrooms including some unusual and rare species.

3 July 2007: MAW's monthly meeting. The program was entitled “Wild, Wild Mushroom Diversions” and consisted of anecdotes, adventures and discoveries about mushrooms by Bill Russell, the author of the newly published book, Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic.

Mr. Russell was a Penn State University faculty research physicist whose graduate work included studies in the biophysical and botanical sciences. For over 50 years he has offered wild mushroom talks, walks and workshops. Currently, he is working on his second wild mushroom book. His main interest is promoting the awareness that mushrooms are wonderful.

1 May 2007: Our featured speaker was Gary Lincoff, noted mycologist, author of the Audubon Guide to North American Mushrooms and president of the North American Mycological Association from 1980-1986. He is also the co-author of Toxic and Hallucinogenic Mushroom Poisoning: A Handbook for Mushroom Hunters and Physicians. He has written many articles on mushrooms, teaches at the New York Botanical Gardens, and leads mushroom study tours to other countries.

The program consisted of a presentation that highlighted the current state of mushroom taxonomy. While anyone can identify a good many mushrooms using standard field guides, the new information we're constantly receiving from DNA sequenced data keeps putting our familiar mushrooms in a new light. We learned how we could use this data to our benefit.

3 April 2007: MAW's monthly meeting. Our featured speaker was Dr. David Farr, a mycologist who has worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland, for over twenty-five years. He studied mycology with the late Dr. Orson Miller and therefore has some unique knowledge of mushrooms and mushroom habitats. He currently conducts research on the systematics of plant-associated ascomycetes and maintains the databases about fungi in the U.S. National Fungus Collections.

The program was entitled “Fungi in your Landscape” and covered the fungi most commonly seen in lawns, gardens, mulch piles, and forests in the Washington, DC area with a discussion of the life history of each species. These fungi vary from the edible fairy ring mushroom in lawns to the newly invasive daylily rust. They include mycorrhizal species essential for the growth of trees and others that can disfigure and even kill beautiful ornamental plants.

6 March 2007: MAW's monthly meeting. Our featured speaker was Elizabeth Barron, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Geography at Rutgers University. The working title of her dissertation was "Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Sustainable Mushroom Harvesting in the Mid-Atlantic Region: A Theory of Macro-Fungi Conservation." Ms. Barron worked for the National Park Service in Massachusetts and New Mexico, and was in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa as an environmental education volunteer. She has a Masters of Science degree in Forestry from the University of Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation Biology and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The program consisted of a talk concerning the over-harvesting of uncultivated plant species by humans which is a historically well-documented problem, that has been directly linked to many species' decline and near extinction. Recent reported declines in morels have raised fears about over-harvesting of these prized mushrooms in the mid-Atlantic region, despite the fact that they are not plants. The management of mushrooms carries with it a number of unique challenges, the primary one being that the resource itself is still poorly understood. The program examined research on fungal management and conservation from both sociological and ecological perspectives. Viewpoints of local mushroom hunters, land managers, and mycologists were examined in relation to the emerging field of fungal conservation and the goal of sustainable macro-fungi conservation and management.

6 February 2007: MAW's monthly meeting. Our featured speaker was Dr. John Paul Schmit, a quantitative ecologist at the Center for Urban Ecology at the National Park Service. Dr. Schmit earned a PhD degree from the University of Chicago in the field of evolutionary biology. He has worked in research at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History and at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Dr. Schmit's presentation was entitled, "Fungal Inventories and Biodiversity". One of the fundamental conundrums of ecology is why some areas of earth are host to a multitude of species whereas other areas have relatively few. One theory is that the amount of energy available to a community determines the amount of speciation. Dr. Schmit tested this theory by conducting fungal inventories of wood decay species on various trees in Puerto Rico. The presentation consisted of a summary of these fungal inventories and drewe some conclusions relative to the energy theory of ecology.

2 January 2007: MAW's monthly meeting. Our featured speaker was Jim Laurie, who is a biologist who specializes in bioremediation using mushrooms and other fungi at Pogo Organics in Sunshine, Maryland. He has a BA in Biology from Rice University and an MS in Future Studies from the University of Houston, Clear Lake. He has experience in the bioremediation of chemical plant effluent and has traveled extensively in seeking ecologically sound answers to waste problems.

His presentation was entitled “Mycoremediation,” the removal of contaminants from the environment using natural fungal properties. The use of “living machines” to remediate waste water from a chemical plant using only natural processes was discussed relative to using mycoremediation based on the precepts laid out by Paul Stamets in “Mycelium Running.” The establishment of a laboratory to inoculate grain and sawdust media with spores and spawn and the subsequent insertion of their mycelia into the environment was presented. Challenges to the use of fungi to provide remediation for the effluent of a bio-diesel plant and to provide restoration to soils through the inoculation of wood chips was also addressed.

5 December 2006: MAW meeting and elections for the 2007 MAW Executive Board.

14 November 2006: Our featured speaker was Dr. Anne Pringle, who has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University since 2005. After graduating from the University of Chicago and several years of teaching science in Brooklyn, NY, she completed a Ph.D. in botany and genetics at Duke University. The title of her dissertation was "Ecology and genetics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi." Her general area of expertise is on the use of molecular methods to explore the ecological genetics of various fungi. Fungi encompass a diverse array of microorganisms. DNA technologies have facilitated an explosion of knowledge related to fungal diversity, biogeography, and the basic natural history of individual species. Dr. Pringle's current research focuses on the ecology of the invasive and deadly mycorrhizal fungus Amanita phalloides.

The program consisted of a presentation entitled "Is the Death Cap mushroom Amanita phalloides a European immigrant to North America?" Amanita phalloides is hypothesized to be an introduced and invasive species in North America. Mycologists in California possess a valuable oral history which records the mushroom's appearance and invasive nature. But to confirm A. phalloides' invasive status additional kinds of data are needed. Because A. phalloides is deadly, a rich mycological literature records the distribution of the mushroom on both the East and West Coasts. The lecture will present the interim results of an ongoing comprehensive review of the available literature and a formal (and molecular) evaluation of available herbarium collections that is to be used to confirm when A. phalloides was introduced to California. In addition, population genetic data from mushrooms collected from both the East and West Coasts of North America, and Europe that are being used to elucidate the biogeography of A. phalloides will be discussed.

3 October 2006: MAW's Fall Mushrooms Tasting

5 September 2006: Our featured speaker was Amy Riolo, a lecturer, freelance food writer, and cooking instructor based in the Washington DC area, whose interests seek to inspire cultural pluralism in a manner that all can relate to. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Culinary Historians of Washington and Slow Food DC. Her ability to read and write in Arabic compliments her study of Egyptian food history, culture and cuisine.

Her presentation was entitled, "Culinary and Medicinal Uses of the Egyptian Terfez and Arabic Desert Truffles". Due to the esoteric subject matter, a definition of Arabic desert truffles preceded a discussion of their habitat and the manner in which they are collected for consumption. The cultural relevance, culinary significance and medicinal applications of the desert truffle in their countries of origin was also presented.

1 August 2006: MAW monthly meeting and mushroom identification.

11 July 2006: A tree identification meeting was held at the Brookside Gardens, located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton, MD. The program consisted of tree identification and was led by Carole Bergman of the Maryland Native Plant Society. The need to recognize trees is important in the identification of fungal habitats as certain species such as morels are associated with specific trees, according to their mycorrhizal associations. Specific tree attributes were pointed out by Ms. Bergman, with an emphasis on those features that best served to distinguish the species. Handout material were provided to facilitate the identification process.

6 June 2006: Our featured speaker was Dr. Coleman McCleneghan, who received her PhD in Mycology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She has spent the last 15 years collecting fungi in the Great Smoky Mountains and currently teaches courses on edible and poisonous fungi at the Smoky Mountain Field School and at the Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont.

She gave a presentation entitled "Fungal Diversity in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park." that was based on her current research with the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI). Some of the common and not so common fungi was covered, including chanterelles, corals, polypores, morels, cup fungi, carbon fungi, and cordyceps. The presentation emphasized the rich diversity of fungi in the park from both the historical and current perspectives, addressing implications for the future.

2 May 2006: MAW monthly meeting and Wild Foods Tasting.

4 April 2006: Our featured speaker was Walt Sturgeon, a social worker and amateur mycologist with 45 years of successful morel hunting. He is an award winning photographer and was the winner of NAMA's Award for Contributions to Amateur Mycology and NEMF's Friend of the Amateur Award. Walt has been the guest mycologist at several weekend forays at Camp Sequanota in Pennsylvania.

He gave a presentation entitled "Morels and more, a look at Spring Mushrooms" which covered the facts and folklore of morel hunting and taxonomy. It was non-technical and included information on other spring fungi.

Prior to the meeting, Walt Sturgeon joined us on two forays, one at Great Falls/C & O Canal Park, Maryland and the other at Rock Creek Park.

7 March 2006: Our featured speaker was John Plischke, a member of MAW and the guest mycologist at the 2005 Mushroom Fair. John has given numerous presentations at MAW in the past and has a wide-ranging knowledge of practical mushroom identification.

He gave a slide presentation entitled "Morel Mushrooms and Their Look-Alikes" to include the Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta), "Tulip Tree Morels," Conical Morels (M. conica), "Blushing Morels" and "Burnsite Morels with Black Stem." In addition, morel look-alikes from the genuses Gyromitra and Helvella was discussed.

7 February 2006: Our featured speaker was Brian Patterson, Executive Chef of the Washington Office of the American Medical Association. He is a graduate of L'Academie de Cuisineand has been teaching at his alma mater for 15 years. He has served with some of the best chefs in the Washington Area. Brian has had several articles appear in The Washington Post, most recently in November 2004 on the subject of cooking with wild and exotic mushrooms.

He gave a presentation about roasting and sautéing wild mushrooms and demonstrated techniques for cooking with wild and exotic mushrooms and truffles. Samples of the prepared dishes were available for tasting.

3 January 2006: Our featured speaker was Dr. Daniel Henk, a postdoctoral researcher at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory. His presentation was "The Population Biology of Edible Fungi".

6 December 2005: There was no featured speaker at this meeting. Instead, we elected the membership of our Executive Board for 2006. Members brought snacks and desserts for the post-election reception.

1 November 2005: Our featured speaker was Dr. Erica Cline of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory. Her presentation was "The Mushroom is Only the Tip of the Iceberg: Exploring the Depths Below."

The fleshy above-ground mushrooms that we love to photograph, pick, and maybe even eat, are just the reproductive structures of mysterious mycelial organisms that live their true lives underground. Mushrooms are analogous to the flowers and fruits of the plant kingdom; they emerge from the soil to elevate and disperse the spores that give rise to new individuals. The rest of the action occurs underground where we can't see it. This is where fungi compete for living space and food, usually either by breaking down substances (decomposers) or by helping plants take up water and nutrients in exchange for sugar from the roots (mycorrhizal fungi). We will plumb the murky depths of the soil environment and emerge with a deeper understanding of the mysteries and marvels of mycelial life. Her is Dr. Cline's presentation outline which she has so graciously chosen to share with us.

4 October 2005: MAW's Wild Mushrooms Tasting

6 September 2005:The featured speaker was Dr. Nicholas Money, Professor of Botany at Miami University (of Ohio) and author of the popular mycological texts, Dr. Bloomfield's Orchard and Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores. His presentation was entitled, "Invasive hyphae, jet-propelled spores, and pulsating mushrooms: A biomechanical snapshot of Kingdom Fungi." It included incredible footage capturing mushrooms in the act of penetrating hosts, shooting spores, and bursting through obstacles in their relentless quest for fungal fulfillment.

2 August 2005: MAW monthly meeting. Evening program was: Enjoying mushrooms without eating them, by La Monte Yarrell. There were plenty of pictures and stories about amateur collectors who've made significant scientific contributions. The talk featured a brief segment giving a kid's view of scientific hunting. Mr. Yarroll is one the Club Mycologists with the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club. He was assisted by his oldest daughter, Harriet.

5 July 2005: MAW monthly meeting. 'The Fascinating Slime Molds' was presented by Dr. Gene Varney. The talk was an overview of the biology and classification of the mostly small, unnoticed, and usually ignored slime molds or Myxomycetes. It was illustrated with slides collected over the years from various sources. Dr. Varney is a plant pathologist/mycologist now retired Prof. Emeritus from Rutgers University.

7 June 2005: MAW monthly meeting. Our guest speakers were Drs. Cathie Amie and Dave Farr of the Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. Their presentation, "Mushrooms 101", covered the basics for identifying mushrooms. Key features, including microscopic features, for identifying major groups and genera of mushroom-forming fungi, were presented.

3 May 2005: MAW Wild Foods Tasting. Samplings of wild delicacies included Thai Chicken, Coconut and Mushroom Soup; Buffalo Sausage with Ramps, Potatoes and Shiitake; Morels in a Sherry Cream Sauce; Sauteed Pom Pom Mushrooms; Wood Hen; Fresh Bamboo with Sticky Rice; Venison Six Mushroom Stew; Oyster Mushroom Schnitzel; Porcini Mushroom Soup; Mushroom Tempura; Crawfish Etouffe; Mushroom Sauté with Artichoke Pesto; Mushroom Risotto; Lobster, Morel and Mixed Mushroom Soup; Quinoa and Shiitake Stir Re-Fry; Enoki Wild Rice Salad; Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Creamy Mushroom Soup, Enoki Wild Rice Salad; and Sautéed King Oyster Mushrooms. Over 48 members attended the tasting, the largest attendance in recent memory.

What was different about this year's Wild Foods Tasting was that Phillips Mushrooms of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, donated a sizable quantity of mushrooms of the various types that they grow which members volunteered to cook. Thanks to Phillips, Club members enjoyed shiitake, pom poms (hericium erinaceus), oyster, king oyster, birch mushrooms, and maitake (hend of the woods). Many thanks to Waldemar Poppe and Ray LaSala for arranging the donation and driving to Kennett Square to pick up the mushrooms. In his usual enthusiastic style, Waldemar cooked the entire evening and supplied a variety of prizes from his garden (perennials, herbs, even a fig tree) for the tasting competition.

So, if you missed the Wild Foods Tasting, don't miss MAW's next tasting event, the Mushrooms Tasting, on Tuesday, October 4th. Check the announcement line (301) 907-3053, mailbox 41) or online.

5 April 2005: MAW monthly meeting. Our evening program was "The Enigmatic Morel: Life History, Ecology and Systematics," presented by Dr. Stephen Rehner of the Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. This talk covered the biology and taxonomy of those widespread but often elusive spring mushrooms, the morels. It included a description of the morphological diversity of morels and their traditional taxonomic classification, recent molecular phylogenetic studies that revealed an unsuspected diversity and distribution of cryptic species of morels, their life cycle, and a discussion of their ecology.

1 March 2005: MAW monthly meeting. Due to inclement weather, our featured speaker was not able to make the trip from North Carolina. Instead, there was a mushroom slide presentation.

1 February 2005: MAW monthly meeting. Our guest speaker was Dr. Erica Cline from the USDA’s Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory. Her talk was about her studies of biodiversity among the ectomycorrhizal fungi on Douglas-fir trees.

4 January 2005: MAW monthly meeting. The evening program was a retrospective on the 2004 fruiting year, conducted by Ray LaSala, Jon Ellifritz, and others to compile a more complete list of species and fruiting patterns.

7 December 2004: MAW monthly meeting and elections. Featured presentation was "The Cultural History of Black Truffles in France and Spain" by Bruno Millerioux, a major area supplier of specialty food products from Europe

2 November 2004: Nominations meeting. Featured guest speaker, John Plischke, III, gave a talk titled “Beginner’s Mushroom ID.”

5 October 2004: Mushrooms Tasting/Meeting

7 September 2004: MAW monthly meeting featured guest speaker, Douglas Bassett from Letchworth State Park in New York, who talked about polypores.

3 August 2004: MAW monthly meeting featured guest speaker Tom Volk, Biology Professor at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse who discussed "The impact of fungi on humans and history".

6 July 2004: MAW monthly meeting featured guest speakers Tim Geho and Judy Roberts, past President and honorary member, who spoke about mushrooming in South Carolina.

1 June 2004: MAW monthly meeting featured a presentation, "Small Scale Oyster Mushroom Production" by Dr. Paul Masuda, from Phillips Mushroom Farm.

4 May 2004: Wild Foods Tasting/Meeting

6 April 2004: Medicinal Mushrooms: MAW monthly meeting featured Dr. Harry Preuss, MD, Ph.D, a tenured Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, who has done extensive medical research on medicinal uses of mushrooms and co-author of Maitake Magic.

2 March 2004: The MAW monthly meeting was held at the Glen Echo Town Hall. Dr. Cathie Amie, from USDA's Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory, spoke about the mushrooms of Guyana. With National Geographic funding, noted mycologist Dr. Aime spent the last five years researching wild mushrooms in the tropical rain forests of the Pakaraima Mountains in Guyana, not far from the borders of Brazil and Venezuela. The hunting produced new discoveries of all kinds of exotic mushrooms. Dr. Aime earned her Ph.D. with the well-known mycologist and author, Dr. Orson K. Miller, at Virginia Tech and did postdoctoral work at Oxford University. Her talk was illustrated by colorful slides.

3 Feb 2004: MAW monthly meeting. Anita PhillipsMichael Reichgott & David Chalkley from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) spoke on the function of the Mycology Lab of the ATCC; the potential contributions of the collection to posterity; ongoing research in phylogeny and taxonomy; culturing and preserving techniques; the breadth of the collection; and how thousands of collectors, just like MAW members, have contributed to the collection making it an essential resource for mycologists, educators, cooks, and industry.

6 Jan 2004: MAW monthly meeting. MAW Member, Albert Casciero gave a slide presentation of his 2003 Italian Foray in the Piedmont and Val D'Aosta regions.


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