2018 Spring Fungi of the Sierra Nevada - SFSU Field Station (by )

? WHEN: 03-08, June 2018
? WHERE: SFSU Sierra Nevada Field Campus - Yuba Gap

Dennis Desjardin, Professor of Mycology at San Francisco State University, offers this fantastic class annually.  With assistance from his super-knowledgeable grad students, Dennis provides a week-long examination of the spring mycoflora of the Sierra. Students are presented both an overview and the the finer points of identification, including the use of the microscope, various reagents. This is a great introduction and a good way to up your ID skills. You'll meet fellow fungiphiles from different areas and have a great time in a beautiful place. Details follow below.

And...FFSC offers scholarships! Our Minister of Education, Jeanne Gonda, administers funds to cover costs of registration for the class. The student would cover their camping/dining fees. We hope that those who attend would then be equipped to give us a hand at the ID table at the Fair and other events. This is a great opportunity to expand your own knowledge and be a resource for the community as well. Scholarship info and application can be found here.

General Description:

Students will be introduced to the different kinds of mushrooms and other large fungi that occur in the spring in the Sierra Nevada (See SNFC species list). Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of macro- and micromorphological features, as well as ecological roles, to aid in the identification of taxa.

The daily class routine consists of an 8 -10 a.m. lecture followed by a field trip until approx. 3 p.m. Transportation on the field trips will be by car pooling. Upon return to the camp, collections will be examined and identified in the laboratory (3:30-6 p.m.) in collaboration with the instructor and a knowledgeable graduate student assistant. All equipment, microscope slides, cover slips and reagents required for accurate determination of specimens will be provided. In the evenings, several lectures and slide shows will be presented and the laboratory will be open for additional work on collections. If sufficient quantities of edible fungi are collected, they will be prepared for consumption and served to the class by the camp's chef.

Class Schedule

Participants should plan to arrive Sunday afternoon in time to attend an orientation lecture on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. The last class meeting ends 12 p.m., Friday.

Supplies and Other Useful Items


  • Collecting basket
  • Wax paper
  • Sturdy knife
  • A small hand cultivator or garden trowel (for digging truffles)
  • A 10X hand lens


  • California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide, by D.E. Desjardin, M.G. Wood and F.A. Stevens, Timber Press, 2015. Order at Timber Press or Amazon. The instructor will have copies available for purchase at SNFC.

Camping gear

  • Warm sleeping bag
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Alarm clock
  • Camp chair
  • Bring your own tent or use tents with beds provided at the field campus

Days are warm, even hot, while evenings are quite cold (close to freezing). Clothing that can be layered for variable weather conditions is best. T-shirts and shorts or lightweight pants are often perfect during the day, with a wind jacket or raincoat as backup. Long pants, warmer shirts and sweaters with a coat are necessary in the evening. Sturdy hiking shoes/boots and comfortable shoes for around camp, sun hat, wool hat and gloves are all important. A swimsuit may come in handy.

Sclerotinia veratri by Douglas Smith, via Mushroom Observer


Food and Lodging





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