320 Nucleus Ave
Columbia Falls, MT 59912
PO Box 1444
Columbia Falls, MT 59912
Instructor: Tim Wheeler, B.S.
Saturday September 26 - Sunday September 27, 2020
This course will provide a thorough introduction to edible mushrooms and the role fungi plays in the northern Rockies ecosystem. You will need no previous education in mycology to take this course, but since most fungi have no common names, familiarity with the concept of genus and species names will improve your appreciation of the material. Students will gain familiarity with the use of a botanical key in identifying fungi, and learn the ecology and uses of edible mushrooms and how to discern between edible and poisonous mushrooms in the field. Since spring and fall species are quite different, be sure to sign up for our Summer Mushroom and Lichens to get a complete mushroom experience.
*Note: One night of lodging at Field Camp is included in the course fee. If you do not require lodging, call the registrar at 406-755-1211 to subtract $35 from your course fee at the time of booking.
Meeting Place: Glacier Park Field Camp Meeting Hall (see campus map).
Meeting Time: Saturday, September 26 at 8:00 AM
Tentative itinerary (subject to change):
Saturday: We will begin the day with questions, discussions, and slide viewing throughout the early morning, and then depart for prime mushroom habitat near Glacier. We will learn to identify and study the complexities of local mushrooms and search for mushrooms growing in such specialized habitats as riparian areas and recent forest burns. We will seek out the different ecological niches- riparian, sylvan, alpine and montane of northern Rockies fungi and we’ll probably find several species in each site. Students will get a glimpse of the enormous number of fungi that are the source of nutrition for the entire forest.
Saturday Evening: After dinner we will regroup for an extensive slideshow of different mushroom groups. With thousands of slides from which to choose, we will glimpse a bit into the wide array of fungi that inhabit the Northwest. We will uncover the amazing life cycles of these varied species of fungi, and discuss the overall importance of mushrooms in a healthy habitat.
Sunday: After spending the morning roaming in the moist old growth cedar hemlock forests, we will sit down to identify the most curious of our finds. The final lecture will summarize the groups of fungi, the hallmarks of field identification and a summary of the genera covered in class. The course will come to an end by about 4 PM.
Food: Students are responsible for their own meals. Please bring a sack lunch and ample snacks for trail days. Use of the kitchen is restricted to Glacier Institute Staff only. No food or cooking is allowed in the cabins.
Required Equipment (all seasons): Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots, daypack, water (2 liters minimum), raincoat, warm layers
Course Equipment: A field journal and pencil to take notes while you learn and any field guides that you like to use are optional. If you have a basket that you like to use for collecting mushrooms please bring it along. We will provide paper bags for specimens. Please bring fresh samples of any mushrooms you have found in the days before class.
Weather: This course will not be canceled due to weather. Please check the weather forecast in advance and refer to the gear list for proper attire.
Physical Requirements: Moderate hikes- less than one mile and 500 feet elevation gain. We will mostly be hiking off-trail through both open and dense stands of forest, searching for our fungal friends.
Transportation during course: We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.
Accommodations: Additional lodging can be purchased for $35/person/night at the Glacier Institute Field Camp. Facilities include bunkhouses, a community bathhouse, a library and a kitchen. Please call the registrar at 406-755-1211 to book lodging.
Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2020 Academic Credit’ Link on our website to learn about OPI credit and FVCC and UM credit for our courses. There is a $20 administrative fee to receive OPI renewal units with FVCC.
Fungi are often invisible, showing themselves only when they fruit. A familiarity with the basics of fungal terms and anatomy, or at least appearance, will greatly enhance your appreciation and ability to work with these amazing organisms. Although any book with photographs will allow you to visualize the fungi, photos are notoriously inadequate in documenting these transitory beings, which sometimes shift from firm to squish in hours. Good written descriptions can be found in the following:
North American Mushrooms. Hope & Orson K. Miller.
Mushrooms of North America. Roger Phillips.
Mushrooms Demystified. David Arora.
A Field Guide to Western Mushrooms. Alexander Smith.
Mushroom: The Journal of Wild Mushrooming. Leon Shernoff, Editor.
Fungal Jungal Newsletter. Western Montana Mycological Association, P.O. Box 7306, Missoula, MT 59807