While hiking, fishing, hunting, or just enjoying a leisurely walk through some natural setting, have you ever found yourself wondering, “What kind of mushroom is that?” Are you curious about some mushrooms that seemed to pop up in your yard overnight? Are you aware of the roles played by fungi in nature?
Frances Slocum State Park will host the annual Wyoming Valley Mushroom Fair on Sunday, Sept. 18. Club members will be available at the fair to help attempt to identify collections of mushrooms. This event takes place in the Nature Center which is found in the lower portion of the park, near the lake. Activities are slated to begin at 11 a.m. and run until 4 p.m.
Anyone who happens to find some wild mushrooms that they wish to discuss is invited to bring the mushrooms to the event. There are a few guidelines to remember when making a collection of mushrooms in hopes of discussing the species identity.
First, try to extract entire mushrooms. To do this, it may be necessary to dig the bottom of the stalk out of the ground. Features found below ground level may be important.
Second, try to not lose any of the material that comprises a mushroom. For instance, some mushrooms have rings on their stalks or scales on their caps. Do not remove any of these types of features. It is not necessary to wash or otherwise clean the mushrooms. Just place a collection into a paper bag, not a plastic bag. A mushroom stored inside a plastic bag will quickly begin to rot. If different types of mushrooms are found, it’s a good idea to place separate collections into separate bags, although this is not necessary. If possible, mushrooms stored for several days should be refrigerated.
Eating a toxic mushroom may result in extremely dire consequences. However, it is not dangerous to simply handle a poisonous mushroom. Keep them away from small children and pets. Do not store mushrooms of an unknown identity along with types that are meant to be eaten. Do not assume that an unknown type may be harmless. Poisonous mushrooms come in many sizes, shapes, and colors.
Mushroom club members will be on hand to discuss identities. There will be a few other attractions besides the identification table. A microscope will be set up with mushroom features ready to observe. Mushroom field guides will be available for viewing. A club member will be available to entertain small children.
Anyone wishing to discuss this event, or to possibly become a club member, may contact Dave Wasilewski via email at [email protected] Please enter “Mushroom Fair” into the topic heading of the email.
Dave Wasilewski is president of the Wyoming Valley Mushroom Club. Reach the Dallas Post newsroom at 570-675-5211 or by email at [email protected]