Mushrooms: Field Identification and Fungal Ecology
ushrooms have fascinated and mystified humankind for ages. From ancient origin stories and shamanic practice to modern systematic analysis, fungi captivate us. In this course, participants will explore the diversity and ecological importance of the kingdom of fungi. Over this two-day course, participants will learn the fundamentals of mushroom identification through a combination of classroom and field experience.
Topics include ecology, taxonomy, field identification, morphology, edibility, toxicity, fungi as medicine, bioremediation, and ‘best’ harvesting practices. Participants will also learn how to contribute to the state’s community science initiatives. At the end of this course participants will leave with the foundational knowledge necessary to successfully and confidently identify mushrooms and enjoy a greater understanding of fungi and their fascinating lives. All skill levels and knowledge bases are welcome.
Course Objectives and Goals
- Understand diverse roles of fungi within the global ecosystems.
- Develop competency in understanding terminology & key identifying characteristics of fungal fruiting bodies (mushrooms).
- Successfully identify mushrooms to genus in field and lab settings.
- Develop functional pathways for incorporating fungi into participants’ lives (food, medicine, bioremediation, etc.)
About the Instructor(s)
Dave Muska is a naturalist and educator with the North Branch Nature Center and founder of Ondatra Adventures, a business devoted to providing meaningful connections to the natural world through Guided Excursions, Naturalist Study, and Wilderness Living Skills.
Dave serves on the leadership council of the State of Vermont Fungal Scientific Advisory Group (FSAG) and is collectively responsible for increasing the state’s scientific understanding of fungal communities, diversity, rarity, sensitivities, and their impact on greater ecosystems. Dave studied Mycology at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry.
We will provide coffee, tea, and light breakfast fare (pastries, etc.) each morning. Participants should bring their own lunches and snacks.
- Mushrooms of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada by Tim J. Baroni
- Mushrooms of Northeast North America by George Barron
- Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets
- Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora
- Mushrooms of Northeastern North America by Arlene Bessette, Alan Bessette, & David Fisher
Course begins 9 AM on Saturday at North Branch Nature Center. Course begins on Sunday at a time of the instructor's choosing. Course concludes by 5 PM on Sunday.
Participants must be able to travel at least two mile each day on dirt trails and off-trail on uneven and hilly terrain. Participants should be comfortable outside in potentially cold or wet conditions for long periods of time. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about mobility and/or other accessibility needs.
Academic Credit / Professional Development
This course may qualify for 1 graduate-level credit for an additional $200 course fee. All BioU courses are accredited by Castleton University. Participants interested in receiving credit must contact us at least 2 months in advance so we have time to arrange course accreditation.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that home institutions will accept the credit. Participants pursuing academic credit will be required to complete an additional assignment above and beyond the course hours, including literature review, reflective writing, or a field-based project.
This course qualifies for 20 hours of professional development hours and continuing education units. Certificates of completion are provided at the conclusion of the course.
While we realize that unexpected circumstances arise that are out of our control, North Branch Nature Center cannot guarantee refunds for registrations cancelled within 30 days of the course. If a cancellation occurs within this window, NBNC will attempt to fill the space from our wait list and provide a full refund. If the course needs to be cancelled by NBNC, we will provide a full refund.