Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why join your local Mycological Association?

Some weeks ago I went for the first time to the Mycological Association of Washington (MAW) monthly meeting at the Chevy Chase Public Library (it is usually there and at the first Tuesday of each month, but you feel like going please check on first to make sure they haven't changed the venue). The meeting usually starts at 7 pm and it is a great opportunity to learn more about mushrooms, get to know other mycophiles from all ages and experience levels, and learn about all the mushroom related activities in the surroundings. Every meeting people take their recent findings, either to get an educated opinion about identification, or just for the sake of showing off to other people. On the last meeting there were a huge variety of mushroms, including jelly ears (Auricularia auricula), meadow mushrooms (A. campestris), reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum), Boletus fraternus, Thick Maze Oak Polypore (Daedaleopsis quercina) and a large variety of unidentified mushrooms.

In many ways, the meeting reminded me of the Bambui (a very nice Spelunking group in my hometown) meetings I used to go. The format is a little bit more formal, but still informal enough to make it enjoyable. The current president (Ray LaSala) makes sure everything that needs to be reported gets reported. Also, there was a section on mushroom identification by one of the former presidents, which displayed most of the field guide available and discussed the pros and cons of each one (really useful information). Last, there was a slide section with hundreds of mushroom images with nice commentary by a former president of MAW and time for questions. Really good stuff!

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