BAMS banner

about us

BAMS is dedicated to increasing knowledge of and appreciation for the wonderful world of mushrooms.

We teach the safe and mindful collection of mushrooms, through field trips, lectures and classes, references and an online pool of local experts. We encourage the celebration of the beauty and wonder of mushrooms through photography and illustration, poetry and prose.

We foster participation in "citizen science," where amateurs can contribute in meaningful ways to the advance of mushroom knowledge.

We encourage cooperation and collegiality between the many mushroom societies of Northern California, and believe that the synergy of many talented individuals help to make a greater whole.

David Rust and Debbie Viess, BAMS Co-Founders

David Rust and Debbie Viess, BAMS Co-Founders

Debbie Viess is a biologist, naturalist, writer and artist, obsessed with mushrooms in general and amanitas in particular for over 20 years. In 2006, she co-founded the Bay Area Mycological Society, a science-centric mushroom club. She has been instrumental in creating and managing the annual Point Reyes National Seashore Fungus Fairs, and has been a prominent contributor to the Point Reyes Mycoblitz and the ongoing Yosemite Fungal Survey. In 2007 she gave a two hour, richly illustrated talk on California Amanitas for the UC Berkeley Natural History Museum "Science Cafe," a national and local forum that brings science to the general public. Debbie has taught mushroom field classes for the California Academy of Sciences, the Audubon Society, Albany Adult School, Point Reyes Field Seminars and the University of California Botanical Gardens, and has lectured about mushrooms to audiences around the country. In 2009, she published an extensive, illustrated article on "Amanitas of the East Bay" in the Bay Area botanical journal, The Manzanita. She has written for Bay Nature Magazine, is a contributing editor at Mushroom, the Journal of Wild Mushrooming, and was a contributing editor at FUNGI Magazine until 2014.
In December 2014, Mushroom, the Journal published her extensive rebuttal to the controversial 2008 Rubel/Arora paper in Economic Botany, which advocated treating Amanita muscaria as a "safe" and "broadly accepted" edible species. She is a frequent mushroom spokesperson for radio, television and newspapers around the Bay, and also consults on Bay Area mushroom poisoning cases. Debbie loves making mycology accessible and fun for everyone, and uses humor and great visuals to sweeten her science. She is a member of several local and national mycological societies, including NAMA and the MSA.

David Rust is president of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA). He is co-founder of the Bay Area Mycological Society. He created the All California Club Forays in 2005 and coordinated the Mycoblitz science forays at Point Reyes National Seashore from 2005-2007. He is an active participant in the Yosemite Fungal Survey. He is past president, vice president and fair committee chair of the Mycological Society of San Francisco. For over a decade, David has followed news and research about the devastating forest pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, which causes the disease known as Sudden Oak Death. He is a member of the California Oak Mortality Task Force. David is a participant in the North American Mycoflora Project, a new citizen science endeavor to document all fungi on the continent. He has given talks to mycological societies in California and Oregon and is a regular speaker at the Point Reyes National Seashore Fungus Fairs.