April 11, 2014
The April 11 Highland Wonders event on Wild Mushrooms and Fungi Ecology was dedicated to OHA volunteer Marge McCormick, who recently passed away after a battle with cancer. In this photo, Marge is getting a close look at fungi growing on a tree at Lost Lake (Red belted polypore, Fomitopsis pinicola). We appreciate everything Marge did to help further OHA's work in the highlands, and she will be greatly missed.
Written for Highland Wonders by Julie Ashmore
Here comes flying squirrel, he’s digging around
He’s really excited about what he’s found
A truffle means dinner; but it means more than that
This is not just a way for a squirrel to get fat
This is how the forest takes care of itself
With creatures that spread around all the wealth
The squirrel disperses the spores all around;
Truffles help trees to get the food and water they need
There’s a fungus among us, all of the time
Whether hiking the forest or sipping some wine
Do not forget all the roles fungi play
And lucky for us, they are here to stay
The networks of fungi under the ground
Share and communicate without a sound
As nutrients pass from tree to tree
And messages are sent silently
There’s a lot more to fungi than you can see
But the parts that are visible above the earth
Wild mushrooms colorful, shapely, they’re worth
More than it seems as you quickly pass by
So slow down and notice before things get dry
The incredible way these unique things live
And pause to consider just how much they give.
Helen Lau presented an introduction into the world of macro-fungi and discussed some of their ecological functions.
Helen discussed the role of mycorrhizal underground networks.
She discussed human uses of wild mushrooms...
Helen discussed safe local edibles, as well as which species to avoid.
This slide provided basic rules for consuming wild mushrooms.
Helen Lau is a botanist for the USFS on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. She manages the rare botanical species (plants, lichens, bryophytes and fungi), native plant restoration and invasive plant program on the Cle Elum Ranger District.
The audience was provided with an introduction to fungi morphology.
...and provided tips for identification.
Helen's research interests are in fungi biodiversity and she received an undergraduate degree at Evergreen State College and her master's degree on mycorrhizae ecology in the Biological Sciences Department at Central Washington University.
A large group of over 100 people gathered to learn about Wild Mushrooms and Fungi Ecology.
Thank you very much, Helen, for an informative and fascinating presentation!