So, What Happens at a Foray?

contributed by OMS Board Chair Debra Shankland

We at the Ohio Mushroom Society are excited to once again offer in-person forays for our members.  These field experiences are fantastic opportunities to learn more about identifying mushrooms!  Some of you may not have been to a mushroom foray before, so here’s what to expect at an OMS-sponsored foray.

First, register with the foray Host (this step is very important!).  Once you’ve done this, you’ll receive an email confirmation detailing the location and where to meet for the event.  The confirmation should have an attachment of the OMS waiver form.  The waiver is for everyone’s protection, and a waiver must be completed for every foray you attend, since they’re only valid for the date specified.  To save time, we ask everyone to complete the waiver at home and bring the signed copy with you.

Forays are open and free to all OMS members; your membership will be verified by the Host prior to the foray.  If you were a member in 2020, your membership will automatically be extended thru 2021.  If you’re not a current member, you can join OMS on the spot–just complete a membership form and bring $15 in cash or check for a family membership.  You can download a form from the OMS website under the Join tab.  The foray Host should also have some copies. 

Some forays will take place in areas with spotty cell phone service, so it’s a good idea to check the route and perhaps print a map before you leave home.  Depending on how ‘out-of-the-way’ a foray location is, there may be an “OMS Foray” directional sign or two to help you locate the meeting spot.  Look for the Host, dressed in field gear, loitering near their car at the meeting spot.  They’ll greet you, ask you for your paperwork and check your name off the list.

To be prepared for a foray, one should be adequately dressed for the conditions in the woods, and packing drinking water, a whistle or other signaling device, a phone (in case cell service is good), a basket and a knife.  Other helpful items to have include smaller, rigid containers for tiny or fragile mushrooms, a notepad, field guide, and magnifying glass.  This year, we also ask that everyone wear a face mask covering the mouth and nose.  Everyone’s safety is a top concern!

With everyone and their gear and paperwork present and accounted for, your Host can facilitate introductions.  You can expect an explanation of the best ways to harvest mushrooms for identification purposes.  You’ll also get tips on safety, ways to handle mushrooms to keep them in good condition, and minimizing the group’s impact on the environment.  Your Host will orient you to the habitat types and trail conditions at that location, and let you know where and when to meet with the collected specimens for ID.

The group will be asked to separate into smaller sub-groups of 2 – 6 people to ensure as wide a search as possible for specimens.  Smaller, widely-spaced groups are not only safer during this pandemic, but it also prevents compaction of forest soils and damage to vegetation.  In a few locations, participants may be asked to stay on trails.  The only downside to separated groups is that some species may be over-represented, since one group may not know that another group has already collected a turkey tail, for example.

Usually, the woodland search occurs over 1.5 – 2 hours.  When the groups gather together once again, identification and examination of the collected specimens takes place, usually over the course of an hour, depending on how many species are collected.  The mushrooms are placed on individual paper plates on which their names (scientific and sometimes also common names) are written.  This makes for a great photo composition, where the caption is already written!  This is when you can learn the details that help you discern one species from a look-alike, ask questions, and discover more about seasonality and habitat preferences of different mushrooms.

The paper plates are collected at the conclusion of the foray, and the species names are recorded for the benefit of the landowner and our own understanding of which mushrooms occur where and when.  At some forays, some mushrooms, along with their habitat details, are collected and prepared as voucher specimens, to scientifically document their occurrence at a particular site.  Usually this happens at major, two-day forays, which also include guest speakers.

In short, a mushroom foray is not at all like the dictionary definition of a foray:  a sudden raid or military advance, to take plunder.  The goal is rather to learn more about mushrooms and enjoy a day in the woods, while leaving no trace of our presence.  There may be forays where modest harvest of plentiful species are allowed, but this isn’t always the case.  Places to gather for mushroom forays are few, and you can bet that more places will be closed to us if they’re ransacked.

I hope this helps to get you excited about this year’s forays!  OMS board volunteers are working hard now to secure foray locations and work out logistics so that these events can be conducted safely.  Look for the foray schedule under the Events tab, or in upcoming Mushroom Log issues.

Good News for 2021

Hello Ohio Mushroom Society members and guests!

Here’s some good news for the New Year:  this years’ membership is free!  If you were a current member in good standing in 2020, your membership will automatically be renewed for 2021 without the need to write a check.  Folks wishing to join OMS for the first time this year will need to pay at the normal levels, but with no increase in dues (starting at $15 for an electronic family membership).

Also, remember that OMS membership gives you a $5 discount on North American Mycological Association (NAMA) membership dues.  Dues for both OMS and NAMA are due in January.  See https://namyco.org/join.php for more information.

If you’re looking for more good news, look to the woods!  Time in nature is calming, therapeutic, and time well spent.  Even a walk around your neighborhood is a healthy tonic.  You never know what happy surprises await you in unexpected places…

About a month ago I discovered a large colony of a short-stemmed gilled mushroom in the mulch under some planted evergreens in a yard.  Though I still haven’t identified it yet, I’m using it as an opportunity to practice my identification skills before the “real” field season begins.

We’re all anxious to get out there for group discovery and learning again.  Your volunteer board members are, too!  We plan most of our mini, and biannual major forays, at an annual February meeting, this year on Zoom of course. We hope to put together a calendar of activities covering at least the first half of the year, subject to change as always.  Calendar listings will be found here under the Events tab and in the March-April edition of the Mushroom Log.

Until then, be well, seek good news, and discover the nature near you!

-Debra

OMS Board Member Bob Antibus Honored

Congratulations to OMS Board Member Bob Antibus, who now has a trail access named after him by the Johnny Appleseed Metro Park District, for whom Bob has served as Park Commissioner for the last 27 years! This impressive sign is in a small park that provides an access point to the Miami-Erie Canal Towpath Trail. (The park will eventually have trails but is now wooded.) If you happen to be biking or walking in the Lima, OH area you can find it at 12335 Zion Church Rd, roughly midway between Spencerville and Delphos.

An honor much deserved! Isn’t it great to see Bob and Joanne’s lovely faces in this time of separation?

About that…

We hope you weren’t pinning too many of your hopes on our July mini forays; as anxious as we are to get back to hunting together, it seems July is the wrong month to do it in. Please click over to the Events page for another update on our foray calendar, and stay hydrated and healthy out there!

On a brighter note, the next issue of the Mushroom Log newsletter will be forthcoming very soon! Here’s a photo of a pristine Laetiporus cincinnatus from 2019 to tide you over.

(photo credit Lonelle Yoder)

New Book Recommendation – Appalachian Mushrooms: A Field Guide

We get occasional inquiries on recommended field guides which cover our region. Walt Sturgeon has published a new field guide through Ohio University Press which I highly recommend. Here is a link to a recent review from well known nature photographer Ian Adams. – Jerry Pepera

http://ianadamsphotography.com/news/appalachian-mushrooms-a-field-guide-walter-e-sturgeon/

2018 Dick Grimm Memorial Banquet

2018 Dick Grimm Memorial Banquet

This popular annual event will take place on Saturday, November 3, 6:30 p.m. at Wooster’s Broken Rocks restaurant.  We will have our own room downstairs in the rustic-artistic Rox Gastropub, and enjoy the full menu of fresh, locally-sourced and lovingly prepared food.

We very much look forward to a presentation entitled The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization, by British-born mycologist and university professor Nicholas P. Money.  This man of letters is the author of many excellent books, including his latest, The Rise of Yeast, and historical fiction, as well as scientific papers.

Head to Wooster early to enjoy the annual Buckeye Book Fair, where you can purchase books by Nik and many other Ohio authors.  It takes place 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Fisher Auditorium.

Please contact Debra Shankland at dks@clevelandmetroparks.com or 440-263-2334 to reserve your spot for the Banquet.  Space is limited!

 

2018 OMS Fall Foray – Hiram College

2018 OMS Fall Foray

Dates: Oct 6-7, 2018

We look forward to returning to the rich and unique, 500-acre James H. Barrow Field Station of Hiram College, located in Portage County, for our annual Fall Foray.  This living laboratory supports over 200 acres of mature Beech-Maple forest, along with other forest types and riparian habitats.

Our ongoing partnership with Hiram College has been very beneficial.  It could even be considered symbiotic if that wasn’t such a corny mycological analogy!  Seriously, engaging with Hiram students on this foray injects a great energy into the event, and the college faculty and staff have been wonderful hosts.  The Field Station is just three miles away from the Hiram College campus.

In addition, we’ve secured permission at a private property, Camp Asbury, for our Sunday foray.  Composed of a variety of mature and nurtured habitats, Camp Asbury always yields interesting and many different finds from those at the Field Station, which is only four miles away.

We are very fortunate to have author and outstanding field mycologist Walt Sturgeon as this foray’s mycologist and presenter.  His illustrated program about “Edible Mushrooms on Wood” will be of interest to everyone.  Winning national awards for his mushroom photography, Walt takes care in putting together presentations that are beautiful to look at, but also richly document the key features and habitats of the mushrooms that are included.

The Kennedy Observation Building at the Field Station will be our headquarters for this foray on Saturday.  It can be accessed at 11305 Wheeler Road in Garrettsville, OH  44231, between State Routes 82 and 305.  To download a map and directions, go to http://www.hiram.edu/academics/support-services/field-station/map-and-directions/

On Sunday we will commute by car caravan over to Camp Asbury to meet with camp director, ecologist, and foray guide, Rev. Bill Graham.

Space for those seeking on-site accommodations at the Field Station is very limited.  Advance registration for those wishing to camp onsite is required by contacting foray coordinator Debra Shankland between August 30 – October 3 only.  You can call 440-263-2334 or email dks@clevelandmetroparks.com to register or get additional information.

Schedule of events

Friday, October 5

Limited primitive camping at the Observation Building available beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 6

9 a.m.  Registration and coffee at the Observation Building

9:40 a.m.  Welcome and orientation

10 a.m. – 12N  Morning forays

12:15 – 1 p.m.  Potluck lunch (please see “What to Bring” below)

1:30 – 2 p.m.  Illustrated discussion of “Edible Mushrooms on Wood” by Walt Sturgeon

2:15 – 4:15  Afternoon forays

5:15 – 5:40  Table talk concerning noteworthy collected specimens

6:10 p.m.  Dinner at The Brick in Garrettsville (go to FreddyBurger.com to see the menu)

Sunday, October 7

9 – 10:30 a.m.  Coffee & light breakfast at the Observation Building; review collections

10:30 – ?  Clean up

11:15 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Final foray at Camp Asbury in Hiram

1 – 1:40 p.m.  ID & discussion of finds

2 p.m.  Farewell!

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS

Limited, primitive on-site camping at the Observation Building is allowed free of charge on October 5 & 6 only.  There are no developed camping facilities here, so you must be self-sufficient.  There is a single restroom in the Observation Building.  Showers are available for our group at the athletic center on campus.  Contact Debra for more information, or to reserve a spot.

The Hiram Inn (http://www.thehiraminn.com) is right on Hiram’s campus two miles from the Field Station. This beautifully renovated century-and-a-half home is located on the corner of SR 700, SR 82 and SR 305.

Bed and Breakfast accommodations in picturesque Burton include the Red Maple Inn and Goodwin House.  Plan to spend $125+ per night.

Unique and affordable places to stay may be found on airbnb.  Begin your search in Garrettsville, Hiram, and Burton.

WHAT TO BRING

Please know that the Kennedy Observation Building is a learning lab for the Field Station and was not built with banquet facilities nor large groups in mind.  Space will be snug but with everyone’s help and cooperation in changing room setups, we have found it to be adequate.  Thanks in advance for remembering this!  That said, you’ll find these supplies very helpful to bring along:

  • Refillable water bottle
  • Reusable coffee/tea mug
  • Food/drink to share at the potluck; please make sure it’s ready to serve–there is just one dorm-size refrigerator and one sink, but there are plenty of electric outlets available.
  • Utensils and knives needed to serve your potluck item; cooler if necessary.
  • Cash for a donation (Forays are free, but your generosity buys coffee, paper products, nametags, goodwill for our hosting institutions, speaker expenses, and more. Thank you!)
  • Basket (paper bag can do in a pinch)
  • Sharp knife
  • Mushroom field guide(s)
  • Notepad and pencil/pen
  • Magnifier
  • Camera
  • Hat, rain gear, change of shoes/boots
  • Compass
  • Whistle