What happens when you gather fungus fanatics from across Newfoundland and Labrador (and Canada and beyond) for a few days in September? Foray 2015 at Killdevil!

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Mushrooms collected and identified at Foray 2015.

There are currently 1500 species of mushrooms identified in Newfoundland and Labrador!

In late-September, mushroom enthusiasts from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, the United States, and Europe all gathered at Killdevil Camp in Gros Morne National Park to take part in Foray 2015. Participants ranging from amateurs to professors with a worldwide reputation come together every year to learn more about mushrooms while actively collecting them in the field.

The Newfoundland and Labrador mushroom foray has been happening annually since 2003. An annual foray like this focuses on species identification, list development, and census of the types of mushrooms in the area, while learning through lectures and workshops (plus, of course, the less formal types of learning through outings and social events). The participants spend a day out in the field, hiking and collecting mushroom specimens around Gros Morne National Park. They bring their specimens back to base (in this case, Killdevil Camp) where they are identified and sorted. The following day mushroom experts lead participants through an explanation of what was found, and any potential uses or fun facts about each species.

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Mushrooms drying after being collected in the field.

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Mushrooms drying after being collected in the field.

However, beyond these explanation sessions (table sessions, as they were called at the foray), there was also a session on watercolour painting (led by Glynn Bishop) and cooking wild mushrooms (led by Jason Nesbitt). There was even a short talk called Mushroom Poetry led by Michel Savard, and a walk led by Michael Burzynski and Anne Marceau called Pick for the Pot about finding edible mushrooms. Something for every mushroom enthusiast!

Glynn Bishop leading a watercolour workshop in the Killdevil Camp chapel.

Glynn Bishop leading a watercolour workshop in the Killdevil Camp chapel.

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Chef Jason Nesbitt leads a workshop on cooking wild mushrooms.

It is speculated that there could be as many as 7,000 species of mushrooms in Newfoundland and Labrador!

The foray isn’t all fun and games though — serious science happens! The group keeps a list of all mushroom species found and are working on building a list of every species in Newfoundland and Labrador. Every year new species are added to the list. According to Foray NL (the group that organizes the foray) “there are currently about 1,500 species on the Newfoundland and Labrador list right now”, but they guess that there might be as many as “7,000 species of native mushrooms in the province”! They’ve even discovered brand new mushroom species during the foray, with some of them being named after areas of Gros Morne!

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Andy Methven (professor emeritus of mycology and lichenology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Eastern Illinois University) leads a discussion about some of the specimens collected.

So are you a mushroom enthusiast? Whether you’re just starting to learn about mushrooms or you’re a long-time fanatic, you can learn more about Foray NL at their website. Next year the foray will be in Goose Bay, NL!

 

Cooking with Wild Mushrooms Workshop with Jason Nesbitt

Watercolour workshop led by Glynn Bishop

Table session with Andy Methven

Learn more about Foray NL at their website: nlmushrooms.ca.

Tom Cochrane

Tom Cochrane is a digital storyteller and the creative director of Old Crow Magazine. Tom's photography and videography work can be found at tomcochranephoto.com. Tom is based in Newfoundland, Canada.