point reyes mycoblitz
Well over a hundred people showed up for the final Point Reyes Mycoblitz on Saturday, December 29, 2007. By 9:00 am, the auditorium at the Bear Valley Visitor Center was packed with people, eager to get a "taste" of collecting mushrooms for science. The buzz was audible, and the weather was cooperative. We had surprisingly mild temps and a light mist of a rain to bless our enterprise.
Fueled with strong coffee and a great pile of muffins, happy mushroom hunters of all stripes gathered to collect mushrooms at the spectacular Point Reyes National Seashore. Participants ranged from top professional mycologists, to first-time fungiphiles. All gathered wads of Waxtex wax bags, a basket or bag, and as many specimen labels as they could scavenge, and then scattered to scour the many trails of Point Reyes.
Our myco-target was primarily to fill in some species gaps in the four hundred plus species list already composed by Dr. Tom Bruns for the area, we all had a great time discovering the grand myco-diversity in the field. We also helped folks to discover the wonderful world of mushrooms, the mycoblitz' worthy secondary goal.
© photos by Hugh Smith
My favorite field stop had the most physically challenging collecting. Our local connection told us that fungal diversity was amazing in the burn areas (Mt. Vision had a major burn about fifteen years ago), so we headed to the top of Mt. Vision. Curious to see what lay beneath the tightly woven second growth Bishop pine, I crawled on in. Although I remained on my knees for the entire journey, once inside the shelter of the pines, animal trails ran everywhere, just tall enough for a four-footed Deb. The pine duff was thick and sheltering under-knee, and damned if fungus and mushrumps and many, many holes dug by other animals weren't everywhere that I looked!
It was paradise in there for hypogeous fungus hunters. Furry, buck-toothed "trufflers" preceded me through the duff. Back-picking their holes, I came up with a wide variety of truffles. Gee, now I can see what all the excitement is about with these lumpen and mostly occult fungi; it really is like digging for buried treasure!
When the rains started in earnest, we reluctantly left the exposure of the field. Returning to the sheltering Red Barn with our haul, we discovered a great mass of excited and successful hunters. Tables were covered with specimens and specimen labels, and folks circled the tables, talking about and looking at our finds.
What a great community event this has turned out to be. Members of all of the local clubs showed up, from many eager BAMS members, to a few stellar, long-distance FFSC folks, friends and colleagues from SOMA, and the MSSF. Cooperation and collegiality was the order of the day.
Thanks to all of the participants; a good time was had by all.
Todd Spanier with Hericium © Photo by Hugh Smith