The Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz is all about educating its members and the general public about the dangers and delights of collecting wild mushrooms for consumption or study. Learning takes place many ways: at meetings, forays, classes, workshops, and at our big event, the Fungus Fair. Classes for learning the systematic procedures of mushroom identification (critical knowledge if consumption is planned) are given at no charge to Federation members by knowledgeable instructors.
Special workshops are sponsored for members at no charge. Past events have included cultivation, microscopy (use of microscopes to assist in identification), lectures by experts focusing on identification techniques for specific genera, how to dye fabrics using mushrooms, and field sessions identifying edible mushrooms and plants. These workshops are all offered to members at no or minimal charge.
Monthly meetings, held from September through May, are open to members and the general public at no charge. Informal identification sessions before meetings provide the opportunity to bring mushrooms to local identifiers. We arrange for noted mycologists to present lectures at each meeting, sharing cutting edge topics in mycology.
Our annual Fungus Fair boasts several hundred local species on display, identified by name, where it can be found, and whether the species is edible or poisonous. Lectures and cooking demonstrations broaden understanding and provide inspiration (and tasting!). Smaller classes given include an intro to mushroom collecting, poisonous mushrooms, latest advances in mycological technologies, the medicinal properties of wild mushrooms, and similar topics. Vendors are available where many things “mushroomy” in nature can be found (books, cultivation kits, t-shirts, posters, etc.). A panel of identification specialists is available to inform attendees about which species they have. And there is fabulous mushroom food for sale! Special outreach programs for both younger and older students offer free entry to the fair for mushroom study. And the Kids’ Room introduces mushrooms to children at an early age!
We also offer scholarships! Mycology students can write applications for funding for specific projects, classes or assistance. Members have been supported in taking special classes, outside workshops regional and national forays. The Federation has assisted in establishment of the new herbarium at UCSC, which will become a significant resource over time.
Knowledgeable members of the Federation have made themselves available to provide mushroom identification services. Local hospitals consult a select group of identifiers as needed, and the FFSC Google Group is a lively forum.