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Enthusiasts and curious spectators filled the Chetco Grange Community Center last Saturday for the first Wild Rivers Mushroom Festival.
Organizers estimated 1,200 visited the free event.
People from as far away as Kalaupapa, Hawaii, Sitka, Alaska, Atlanta, Georgia, and Norwood, North Carolina were in attendance.
The main event was the mushroom identification tables where an array of local mushrooms were labeled and on display in their natural habitats. Several expert mycologists and experienced “fungiphiles” were available to discuss fungi, as well as any brought in by festival attendees looking for identification and information.
The mycologist of note was the keynote speaker Dr. Dennis Desjardin from San Francisco State University where he has taught biology, botany, mycology and evolution for more than 27 years.
Desjardin is co-author of the field guide “California Mushrooms.”
Accompanying him were his wife Dr. Ann Kladwang, his co-author Michael Wood, and colleague Dr. Brian Perry.
Desjardin not only assisted with the identification of mushrooms, but also sold and signed copies of his field guide and delivered a lecture, “Understanding Mushrooms” in the afternoon. The lecture was at the Chetco Activity Center, where the 100 people in attendance spilled into the hallways.
Throughout the day, there were workshops “Dehydrating Mushrooms,” “Growing your Own Oyster Mushrooms (Spawn Inoculation)” and “Safety in the Outdoors.”
There were many contributors to the raffle and silent auction for the festival. Organizers said their generosity was greatly appreciated.
Vendors varied from food to clothing and jewelry. There was also a table with U.S. Forest Service publications for sale. The sponsors of the festival, the Wild Rivers Mushroom Club, had a table to share information with interested members.
Chetco Brewery was on hand to offer special brews, and two Wild Rivers Mushroom Club members cooked up wild morels, chanterelles, black trumpets and boletes. The lunch treats on the menu included everything from quiche to soup and pulled pork.
Mushroom workshops set
Southwestern Oregon Community College is hosting mushroom identification workshops taught by mycologist Bob Burch in Brookings and Port Orford.
Positive identification of local edible and non-edible species — as well as favorable locations, preparation and preservation methods — will be covered. The group will participate in a field trip the next day to hunt for wild mushrooms. After the field trip, students will have an opportunity to taste the mushrooms. Registered students may bring mushrooms to the class for identification.
In Brookings, the class begins with a lecture from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at Southwestern’s Curry Campus, 96082 Lone Ranch Parkway, followed by a field trip from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The Port Orford class begins with a lecture from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, in the Port Orford City Hall council chambers, 555 W. 20th St., followed by a field trip from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19.
The cost of the workshop is $45. For more information or to register, contact the college at 541-813-1667 or 541-247-2741.