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General News · 23rd October 2020
Chris Dragseth
Tis the Season for…

Mushrooms! The recent rains have precipitated an explosion of fungi poking their fungal bodies up through the damp earth & moss.

The Children’s Forest Trust organized a low-key MycoBlitz over two days. You may well ask, ‘What is a MycoBlitz?’ “A MycoBlitz is a quick, intense survey of the fungal species present in a specified area.” The Children’s Forest Trust had 2 overarching goals in conducting our first ever MycoBlitz: to initiate an inventory of fungi in the Children’s Forest, and to offer a public educational opportunity. We had the good fortune of working with Paul Stamets, and having his expertise in fungi identification and his passion in sharing mushroom lore.

Six youth & adults were mentored in mushroom identification and the art of being a nature guide on Saturday, October 17. Interpretive skills were honed on Sunday, October 18 as the youth guided families through fungi stations in the Children’s Forest. An amazing total of 63 species of macrofungi were documented over the two days!! Imagine how many more fungi are waiting for discovery. Amongst the highlights was the identification of ‘Galerina autumnalis’, Autumn Skullcap, the most deadly fungi in the Pacific North West. Because the goals of the MycoBlitz were research and education, there was no harvesting, but there was discussion on ethical harvesting.

The MycoBlitz findings will be added to the comprehensive list of plant & animal species in the Children’s Forest that is currently being collated for the Cortes Island Biodiversity Project. This is soon to be posted on the Children’s Forest website, so watch for a public announcement in the coming weeks.

Directors from the Children’s Forest Board were present and ensured that safety precautions for Covid 19 were followed. We hope to make this an annual or bi-annual event for more family participation in the future.