Wild Mushroom Show benefits from 'myco-storm' of fungus

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 16, 2013 

WILD MUSHROOMS

Wild mushrooms were on display Oct. 17, 2010 at Bloedel Donovan Park in Bellingham as part of the 21st annual Wild Mushroom Show. The event was put on by the Northwest Mushroomers Association and featured wild mushrooms from around Whatcom County.

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Fans of fungus are calling it the "perfect myco-storm," an explosion of mushrooms spawned by the Northwest's seasonally early rains in late August and early September.

"The rain came at just the right time," said Pete Trenham, president of local group Northwest Mushroomers, which is holding its annual Wild Mushroom Show from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, in the community building at Bloedel Donovan Park.

Admission is $5; free for children 12 and younger.

Rain is important, because it stimulates fungus species to produce the fleshy fruit bodies commonly known as mushrooms.

"They're beautiful and interesting," Trenham said. "This has been a big year that comes once only every 10 years."

Featured at the show are examples of Northwest mushrooms, many of them displayed as they were found in their natural habitat. There will samples of various edible mushrooms for visitors to sample - particularly the chanterelles and boletes that Trenham said are particularly plentiful this year.

"This a great area for fungal diversity," he said.

Experts will be on hand to answer questions, and the event features short talks on various mycological subjects, such as how to grow mushrooms, how to identify various species of mushrooms, and how to make paper out of mushrooms.

"Basically, you take them and put them in a blender and liberate the fibers," Trenham said.

For a small fee, Trenham said participants in the "how to" class - sponsored by the local farm Cascadia Mushrooms - will be able to create and take home a log that's primed to grow fungi.

Here's a full class schedule:

12:30 p.m.: "Edible Mushrooms and Some Common Lookalikes."

1:15 p.m.: "Craft Workshop - Make Paper From Mushrooms."

2 p.m.: "Demonstration on Growing Mushrooms At Home."

3 p.m.: "Cooking With Mushrooms."

3:45 p.m.: "Natural and Supernatural History of Psychedelic Mushrooms."

Psychedelic mushrooms?

"It's the sort of unspoken question that everyone comes up with," Trenham said.

AQUARIUM FEEDING AT PADILLA BAY

Padilla Bay nature center's aquarist Mark Olson leads a behind-the-tanks view during an aquarium tour and fish feeding at 11 .m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Breazeale Interpretive Center on the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 10441 Bay View-Edison Road in the Skagit County coastal village of Bay View.

Admission is free - although donations are accepted - and the center's other natural history exhibits are open as usual. For more information, go to padillabay.gov or call 360-428-1558.

Robert Mittendorf is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Contact him at 360-756-2805 or at robert.mittendorf@bellinghamherald.com.

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