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Quiet Hunt for Forest Gold: Mushroom Foraging
with Olena Johnson
Saturday, August 14, 2021
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
In this course, you will learn the basic skills needed to safely identify and collect wild mushrooms.
An initial hour-long classroom discussion will include a Mycology overview, identification, ethics, safety, storage, and preparation. We will cover top edible mushroom species to know and learn top poisonous species to avoid. In addition, we will discuss the best tools and techniques for efficient and environmentally-conscious mushroom hunting – including weather watching, trip planning, land surveys and mapping, mushroom hunting outfits, reference materials, new mushroom ID documentation, and mushroom preservation. We will have a Q&A session following the presentation.
Weather permitting, we will reconvene in the State forest for two hours of mushroom hunting where we will apply newly learned knowledge.
After you participate, you will receive a copy of the class presentation for your reference.
Who This Course is For:
This course is ideal for anyone interested in learning and improving skills of efficient and safe mushroom hunting, whether in a wilderness, rural, or urban setting. This course will be great for:
- Beginning mushroom foragers seeking an introduction to mushroom hunting
- Experienced mushroom hunters wishing to add new skills and insights to their existing foraging practices
- Outdoor enthusiasts desiring better familiarity with the wild mushrooms they encounter in the field
- Parents who wish to teach children the safest ways of interacting with wild mushrooms
- Any mushroom-curious folks who want to identify the mushrooms they encounter!
Mushrooms are out there! Let’s go and get them!
About the Instructor: Olena Johnson is a certified wild mushroom harvester living in Chanhassen and Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota. She says the following of her foraging story:
“I grew up in Ukraine and have been mushroom hunting for as long as I can remember. Back in Ukraine, every fall my family frequented forests near the Belarussian border to hunt for mushrooms.
This annual tradition ceased after a Chernobyl nuclear accident when approximately 2,000,000 acres of forests were contaminated by radiation fallout and gathering of wild berries and mushroom foraging were prohibited.
I rediscovered my mushroom hobby 15 years ago while hiking in Banning State park. Big clusters of Honey mushroom (Armillaria Sp.) brought back childhood memories and I was back in familiar territory.
The rest is history; I was hooked on mushroom hunting again. Every summer and fall, I have been trekking to woods up north in search of the elusive ‘forest gold’. I knew my mushrooms but wanted to confirm North American species and learn English common names. I bought heaps of mushroom guides, read a multitude of internet posts, and watched an insane amount of YouTube videos. I took mushroom classes and got certified. Lo and behold, I started noticing mushrooms everywhere and began sharing my knowledge with curious folks seeing me with baskets full of mushrooms. The challenge now is to find as many or more than the year before and learn new species along the way.
Most of the time I go alone for my ‘quiet hunt’. I guard my ‘forest gold’ spots and do not share them even with my close friends. On very rare occasions, I will guide small groups of mushroom hunters. But I am always open to help ID mushrooms I know well and frequently share my mushroom bounty.”