Fungi Fest

September 23 | FREE

TICKETS required for MORNING AND AFTERNOON activities
NO TICKETS required for evening activities

Get Tickets Here
(Sold Out!)

Fungi Fest is a full-day celebration of all things mushrooms. Join us for fungi forays, learn how to identify mushrooms,  get involved with the Fungi of Vermont Program, and attend presentations by regional experts. In the evening, enjoy dinner, live music, and a fungi-themed art exhibit featuring artists from across New England. Due to space limitations, (free) tickets are required for the morning and afternoon portions of the event. Or skip the tickets and join us for evening festivities.

Sponsored by:

Full Schedule, Outings and Activities

Morning - tickets required (Sold Out!)

8:30 – 9 am: Welcomes and Introductions at NBNC

Meet the leaders and get oriented to NBNC and Fungi Fest.

9 – 11:30 am: Guided Mushroom Forays in the Montpelier area

Guided groups will explore nearby forested sites in search of mushrooms to collect and bring back to NBNC for later ID and documentation. Forays are a popular way to encounter great fungal biodiversity in a fun group setting. Participants should be comfortable walking on dirt trails up to two miles with some hills and uneven terrain. Please let us know how we can accommodate your mobility or other accessibility needs.

11:30 – noon: Mushroom ID and curation begins at NBNC

Back at the NBNC laboratory tent, we’ll work together to lay out the morning collections and begin identifying and documenting our findings. Specimens will be curated and displayed all day so that visitors of all experience levels can enjoy and learn about our local mushroom diversity.

noon – 12:45 pm: Lunch (bring your own)

BYO picnic lunch. NBNC will provide some refreshments including lemonade, fruit, cookies, etc. Refrigerators and microwaves available.

Afternoon - tickets required (Sold Out!)

1 – 5 pm: Mushroom ID and curation continues

Identification and documentation of the morning’s collection continues all day at the NBNC lab tent.

1 – 4 pm: Presentations by regional experts

Several indoor slideshows featuring the fascinating research and work of regional mushroom experts and enthusiasts. Click each presentation below for more information

Join author, photographer, and mycology educator, Meg Madden for a presentation of her favorite photography subject – mushrooms! Meg's mushroom photos offer an intimate glimpse into the often-overlooked world of these extraordinary organisms. Meg wrote about some of her most beloved mushrooms in her new book, This Is A Book For People Who Love Mushrooms. During her talk she will take you on a visual journey through the forests of Vermont – from a unique snail’s eye view – while telling the stories of some of the state’s most fascinating fungi. 

Meg Madden, can often be found in the forests of her childhood practicing what she calls “mushroom yoga" -- laying on the ground, standing on her head, or balancing precariously on a log -- to capture the perfect snail's-eye view of a mushroom. Inspired by the belief that people are more likely to take care of something they love, she finds great joy in facilitating fun and meaningful connections between humans and nature. Meg shares her knowledge and contagious passion for the fantastic world of fungi through visually engaging presentations, mushroom walks, and via her Instagram gallery @megmaddendesign. An advocate for fungal diversity and community science, Meg teaches iNaturalist workshops and is helping to compile an Atlas Of Fungi for the state of Vermont.

Mycorrhizal fungi have been networking with flora for over 400 million years. We will explore two different contexts in which mycorrhizae are applied in local, regenerative agriculture. Design, methods, data, and conclusions will be shared about two years of field and greenhouse trials at Diggers' Mirth Collective in the Intervale and four years of mesocosm and field trials at Shelburne Farms in an Ecological Restoration Myco-Phytoremediation pilot.

Jess Rubin is a naturalist dedicated to interspecies collaboration for ecological reconciliation. She facilitates MycoEvolve, an ecological resilience service offering earthworks, education, and research in Unceded Abenaki Territory while also serving as a Myco-Phytoremediation Research technician in UVM’s Plant Soil Science Department. Jess is an earth repair instructor for VT Youth Build. She educates and trains students and community members in eco literacy, ecological restoration science, and technical skills on local farms and in urban wilds. Additionally, she serves on the leadership council of Vermont’s Fungal Scientific Advisory Group (FSAG), which aims to elevate fungi through documentation, increasing understanding of fungal communities, diversity, sensitivities, and role in natural communities. As a lifelong student of trophic relationships, she is grateful to her ancestors, mentors, and partners.

Plants host a diversity of microbes inside and around their roots, known as the microbiome. The microbiome is composed mostly of fungi, bacteria, oomycetes, and archaea that can be either pathogenic or beneficial for plant health and fitness. In this presentation, we will look at the beneficial relationship between fungi and plant roots and how studying the fungal community in blueberry roots may provide new knowledge about plant-microbe interactions.

Sandra Nnadi is a Nigerian who joined the University of Vermont to study for a PhD degree in Plant Biology. Sandra works in the Harris Lab at the Plant Biology Department where she examines the link between the root fungal microbiome and aboveground traits (flower number, bud count, and anthocyanin content) of Northern Highbush Blueberry. Her research is in partnership with Waterman Orchards in Johnson, where she obtains experimental samples, and is funded by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). Find Sandra on Twitter at @sandrannadi1

We will discuss the need for greater understanding of fungal diversity and explore the global efforts of mycologists to 'crowd-source' this valuable information. We'll also discuss how enthusiasts and professionals alike can get involved in the statewide effort to contribute to Vermont's fungal species inventory through the Fungi of Vermont Program.

Dave Muska is a naturalist and educator with the North Branch Nature Center as well as the 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 also serves on the leadership council of the State of Vermont Fungal Scientific Advisory Group (FSAG). The Fungal SAG is responsible for elevating fungi and increasing the state’s understanding of fungal communities, diversity, rarity, sensitivities, and their impact on greater ecosystems. Dave offers courses and apprenticeships in Fungal Ecology, Mushroom Identification, Wildlife Tracking, Wilderness Living Skills, and more throughout the Northeastern US. He has studied with many talented individuals in his fields of expertise and, following his curiosity and passions, continues to learn, believing that a true educator must also be a student.

3:30 – 5 pm: Painting with Mushrooms workshop

Local naturalist and artist Rachel Sargent Mirus demonstrates how to use mushrooms and lichen to make inks of all colors in this drop-in, hands-on program for all ages.

Evening (no tickets required!) 

All activities 5 – 7 pm and open to all

  • Dinner **Update** Our vendor's food truck broke down today! We'll have lots of snacks and hearty appetizers, but unfortunately we will no longer have a dinner optio. Feel free to bring your own dinner.
  • Art Reception: "Fruits of the Forest Floor" in NBNC’s art gallery (remarks and poetry at 6 pm)
  • Live Music by Lewis Franco and friends
  • Mushroom ID and exhibits continue all evening at the NBNC lab tent.
North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206

Hours: Center Open Monday-Friday 9-4
Trails Open 24/7