Final Confirmation Mushroom Retreat

September 27, 28 & 29, 2019 •  Almond, WI 
Please Read this Letter Thoroughly if you are attending the September 2019 Mushroom Retreat. 
If you wish to download the letter, you may do so here. 

Final Confirmation Letter — September 2019 Mushroom Retreat

Welcome Mushroom Women!
We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks at the Midwest Women’s Herbal’s - 3rd Annual Mycelium Mysteries: A Women’s Mushroom Retreat September 27, 28, & 29, 2019 in Almond, WI. Our team is finalizing the arrangements for the retreat, and is excited about the line-up of speakers and activities. If you have not had a chance to look at the schedule, click here. If you have, you will most likely agree that there is something for women of every level of experience and skill!

Please read the letter below carefully as it contains valuable information to ease your arrival, departure, and time at the Retreat. Thank you in advance for your attention to the details and requests we have shared. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us no later than September 25, 2019 at After that date we will be at the Camp preparing for your arrival!
Autumn Blessings to all,
Linda, Tracy, Elinor, Catherine, Lauren C., Lauren S.
Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference Organizing Team




Women are forming carpools and ride-shares through this carpooling site. Go green and find a driving buddy or two!

The Retreat will be held at Camp Helen Brachman: 9341 Asbury Dr Almond, WI 54909. Your GPS will take you the middle of Almond and not to the camp, so use this link.  You can also ask your GPS to take you to Pickerel Lake State Natural Area.

Assistance on the Way:
If you need help the day of arrival (lost or late etc.), call 608-224-9608
For questions in advance (before September 25) please call 608-884-0108 or email
While Facebook is fun, it is not the most reliable way to reach us. We are sure to receive your messages if you call or email!


WHEN TO ARRIVE: Main Retreat Participants 

Arrival times are staggered to ensure that settling in is as smooth as possible. Please honor the stated arrival times and plan ahead to provide yourself enough time to arrive and get settled. The registration area, located in the marketplace tent, where you will receive your lodging assignment along with other important information, is only open during the times listed below. When you registered, a copy of your registration was emailed to you. Please review your registration to refresh your memory on which lodging option you chose. Arrive before dark if at all possible! 

Thursday Arrivals: If you registered and paid for the Thursday lodging and Friday additional breakfast option:
- Arrive on Thursday evening between 6:00pm and 8:30pm.

-Your first meal at the camp is Friday breakfast. 

*Please note that the check in/registration area is only open between 6:00pm and 8:30pm on Thursday.


Friday Arrivals: If you did not register and pay for Thursday arrival:  
- Arrive Friday between 10:00am and 12:30pm.
- The Opening Circle begins at 1:45 pm. Arrive with enough time to get settled and participate in this gathering, where you can meet the women who are your sisters in the weekend village!
- Your first meal at the camp is Friday dinner.  
- If you would like lunch on Friday it is available to those who pre-purchase it. If you would like to add Friday lunch to your registration, please email prior to Monday, September 9th. Friday lunch is served 12:15pm – 1:15pm, and is only available during that time.

*Please note that the check in/registration area is only open between 10:00am and 12:30pm. 


WHEN TO ARRIVE: 3 Hour Pre-conference Workshop Participants 

If you are attending a 3 Hour Pre-conference workshop on either Thursday night from 6:00pm–9:00pm, or Friday morning from 9:00am – 12:00pm, please read the separate Pre-conference confirmation letter carefully to know your arrival times. This letter was sent to you via email. 

- Please come to the Registration table (in the marketplace tent) upon arrival. These ladies will show you your space and get you checked in. Samantha Stolle is also available to help you and answer any questions that come up.

-All Marketplace booths need to be set up, with vendor vehicles moved to the appropriate parking area by 11:00am on Friday. The Marketplace opens for business at 11:30am on Friday.

- If you have registered for Friday arrival, please arrive between 7:30am and 8:00am on Friday. You will need to set up your Marketplace booth and move your vehicle to the parking area by 11:00 am.
- Your first meal at the camp is Friday dinner.

-If you have registered and paid for Thursday Arrival, and you are not attending Thursday dinner, please arrive between 6:00pm and 8:30pm, you may begin setting up your booth between 6:00pm - 9:00pm that evening. Your first meal at the camp is Friday breakfast, please make sure that you have also pre-registered and paid for Friday lunch if you wish to join us for that meal. 

-If you have pre-registered and paid for the early Thursday vendor dinner option, please arrive between 4:00 – 4:15pm. There is an early dinner option on Thursday night for vendors, from 4:30 – 5:30pm, and is only served during that time. Please note that you need to pre-purchase this meal, email right away if you would like to purchase Thursday dinner. 


WHEN TO ARRIVE: Work Exchange
Work Exchange Team:  
- You will receive your arrival time from the Work Exchange Coordinators.
- Please honor the arrival time you agreed to with the Work Exchange Team – your timely arrival is crucial to the success of the Retreat.
- Questions should be directed to:


Please make sure to check in at the Registration area after you have arrived at camp. 

-If you are camping, you may offload your gear and park your vehicle in the main parking area, and then come check in at registration. 

-If you are staying in a cabin, you may pull into the small parking circle, and park briefly, check in at registration, and then offload your gear to your cabin, and move your vehicle to the main parking area (which is a large field out near the tent camping). 

The Registration area, located at a table within the Marketplace tent, is where you will receive your specific cabin assignment, meal information, name tag, program and map. The Registration area is only open during the above stated arrival times. 

*The marketplace tent will be a large white tent, directly outside the front of the dining hall. 



There will be parking attendants available to direct you to your designated unloading area. Women will drop off belongings at a central point near their cabin or camping area, then park their vehicles in the main parking area. The parking area is about a 10-minute walk to the Main Camp. 

The community that we create during our time at Mycelium Mysteries is a vehicle-free space. Please honor this by parking, and leaving, your vehicle in the designated main parking area (near tent camping) for the duration of the weekend. This ensures a safe and comfortable retreat for all women attending. 

If you have mobility needs, please make arrangements by emailing right away.



- If you would like lunch on Friday, it is available to those who pre-purchase it. Email letting us know you would like to purchase Friday lunch and we will send you an invoice. Friday lunch is served from 12:15 – 1:15 pm, and is only available during that time. If you have purchased Friday lunch, you will receive a meal ticket for this meal once you check in at registration on-site. 


Camp Helen Brachman is located on 200 acres of pine forest, hardwood forest, and prairie. Please bring what you will need for protection from sun exposure, rain, insects and temperature fluctuations.

Some things you are likely to need:

- Water bottle
- Sun hat/shawl/parasol
- Rain Jacket/Umbrella
- Set of twin sheets/warm blanket or sleeping bag/pillow

- Sweater, jacket/extra layers
- Pens, pencils, art supplies, blank notepad for drawing workshops or journaling
- Sturdy, comfortable walking/hiking shoes

- A lightweight camp chair
- Yoga mat (for those attending morning yoga sessions)

- Drums, rattles and/or other instruments (percussion workshop, drum circle & campfire time)
- Cash/checkbook for the Marketplace, silent auction, and next year’s conference registration
- Flashlight
- Your wooden name tag from a past Midwest Women’s Herbal gathering
- Small items that mean something to you -like rocks, flowers, photos -  for the altar at the Opening Circle

-Earplugs for sleeping (all cabins are sleeping in shared space with other women, if you are someone who needs more quiet while asleep, please bring earplugs to accommodate your needs)

-Alarm Clock

-Camping gear, if you are tent camping (tent, sleeping pad, lantern etc.)

- Snacks if you are someone whose needs are not usually met when eating a variety of foods buffet style with ingredients listed (food must be stored in a cooler/lidded bin, no open food is to be stored in cabins) Camp Helen Brachman is a nut-free facility so please leave nuts at home!



All meals from dinner on Friday, September 27, through lunch on Sunday, September 29 are included in the Retreat registration. The menu will accommodate the most common requested dietary preferences i.e. carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free. Meals will be local, natural and organic when available. Ingredients will be listed so you can make informed choices. If you have eating preferences outside of this scope, please consider bringing nut-free snacks in case the options do not meet your needs. Food allergies stated on your registration form have been taken into account by the caterer. Please ask at Registration what the plan is for your meals. If you have a food allergy not stated on your registration form please email immediately so we can share this with the caterer. Meals are only served during scheduled times. Please check the schedule HERE and plan your arrival accordingly.

The water at the camp is safe and tasty well water. Nourishing herbal infusions will be available throughout the day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as will water and tea. Coffee is served and available in the morning only (7:00 – 10:00 am), please plan accordingly. Using your own reusable water bottle or container is appreciated. There will be a water station for filling water bottles set up near the dining hall, and should make filling your bottle easy. REMEMBER TO STAY HYDRATED!

Retreat Registration includes lodging on Friday and Saturday night. You will receive your lodging assignment when you check in on site. If you need lodging Thursday night and you have not already registered for it, please email right away. 


Cabins: If you are an elder or someone who needs a lower bunk and has not registered and paid for one, please email right away. Bring your own pillow, linens and towels. Please note that if you are bringing a babe in arms, a child under the age of 2 (who is not yet mobile), you will share a bottom bunk with your child. 

Camping: Bring all of your own camping gear, tent, bedding, lantern etc.

All cabin beds have a twin-sized mattress. Please bring your own pillow, linens and towels. Your lodging choice of a top bunk or a bottom bunk was chosen on your registration sheet, please review your registration to refresh your memory on which lodging option you chose.

Bathrooms and Showers:
All cabins have a bathroom but not necessarily a shower. There are bath houses close by that contain restrooms and showers. Porta-Potties are also available next to the camping area.


Shared Space:

The retreat is a community space, shared by many women with varying needs. Please keep this in mind, especially if you are sharing sleeping space in a cabin. If you need earplugs for a quieter night, please bring them. If you need a sleeping mask for extra darkness, bring it. If you would be more comfortable sleeping alone, consider camping in your own tent. Please remember that all women have varying needs and it is important to get your needs met as well as respect the needs of others.

Village Care:
All women who attend the Retreat are invited to join us in co-creating a village where service is joyfully provided by all present - women willing to care for themselves and others - by helping serve meals, rearranging chairs, by keeping spaces clean and organized and a willingness to respond to requests for help as other needs arise. 

-If you wish to help out over the weekend, please talk to a Work Exchange coordinator, or a member of the main organizing team, we would love for you to participate more deeply in our spiral of service!
"It's very fulfilling to step up and help support the community around you. You become more than an attendee - you become a part of the community, and it's so satisfying to share a part of yourself." –Kelly, past event participant


Helping Others:
Women often ask how they can help and this year we have some opportunities for those interested:
-Silent Auction items to benefit the Midwest Women’s Herbal scholarship fund. Donated items can be given to the coordinator in the Marketplace Tent. Anyone can donate to the silent auction. 

-If you wish to help out over the weekend, please talk to a Work Exchange coordinator, or a member of the main organizing team, we would love for you to participate more deeply in our spiral of service!

Opening Circle:
There will be a community altar set up. During the opening circle women will be invited to bring a small object to contribute to the altar. Items can also be added throughout the weekend. The vision is for the altar to represent our many connections: family, community, spiritual beliefs, ancestors, the earth and our natural relations and elements. Items could be anything from a mushroom, a picture, to a rock or leaf.


Babes in Arms:
We are committed to supporting mothers who would like to attend. Babes in arms are welcome in all workshops. If you bring an infant to a workshop or to any of the activities, please be mindful of your baby’s needs and excuse yourself if necessary so that everyone can enjoy their experience. Please note that Babes in Arms, are children who are not yet mobile. 


The Marketplace will consist of vendors providing handmade and specialty items. You can support your local herbalists, mycologists and natural health communities by purchasing their wares. The Moonwise bookstore will carry many of the books authored by our workshop presenters and will also happily accept your early registration fee for future Midwest Women’s Herbal events. Some vendors are unable to accept credit cards, so having cash or check with you is advisable.

Marketplace hours: (subject to change)

Friday 11:30-1:30 pm, 3:15-7:00 pm

Saturday 8:30-10:45 am, 12:15-7:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am-2:45 pm

Silent Auction:
The Silent Auction, for the benefit of our Scholarship Fund, will be located in the Marketplace from 11:30 am on Friday through 1:00 pm on Sunday. Winners must pay for their items in full and pick them up before the Marketplace closes Sunday at 2:45 pm.

-If you would like to donate an item to the silent auction, items can be given to the coordinator in the Marketplace Tent. Anyone can donate to the silent auction and all proceeds go to support the Midwest Women’s Herbal scholarship fund. 


Early Morning Activities:

-Yoga will be offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. If you plan to participate please bring a yoga mat, blanket or large towel. 

-Sound Healing & Meditation will be offered on Saturday and Sunday mornings. 

-Greet the Day with Songstress Lauren McElroy before breakfast each day. 


Keynote Activities: 

On Friday evening join us after dinner for the Keynote: Mama Mushroom: Navigating Birth, Caregiving & Death with Psilocybin Mushrooms — with Katherine MacLean, PhD

On Saturday morning join us for the Keynote: Guardians of the Ecosystem: Can Mushrooms speak to trees and save the bees — with Gina Rivers Contla


Saturday Late Afternoon Activities:

There will be Hand Drum Making (pre-register and pre-paid workshop), self guided hikes, African dance, archery, mushroom soap making, dyeing with mushrooms, oyster mushroom cultivation & a shiitake log inoculation demonstration. Please note that during free time activities, some of these will be sign up in advance classes. Check out the registration table to sign up for Archery and Oyster Mushroom Cultivation. 

*Please bring closed toe shoes for archery. 


Evening Activities:

On Saturday evening, join us after dinner for a panel about Women in Science with questions and discussions about this exciting topic.

Later in the evenings, there will be various activities including: a talking circle, tea & visiting, a drum circle w/ Ayo, plus a fireside singing circle with Lauren McElroy – bring your instruments and songs to share!”

*Be sure to bring along a drum or other percussion instrument for the Percussion workshop and the Saturday evening drum circle!


All Through the Weekend:

There will be a spore print art station and a mushroom identification table.


Best Prices: 

Discounted registration will be available at the Moonwise Herbs booth in the Marketplace for the May 29, 30, 31, 2020 Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference.




We women are mindful of the interconnectedness of all life. We honor the existence and reproductive purpose of each fungal fruiting body in the forests and fields. We abide by the indigenous ways of reciprocity, giving back after asking if we may make good use of a fungus. We ask its permissions before harvesting only a third to a half of the sporocarps. At this gathering we will not harvest except for the purpose of teaching or an authorized collection for sharing at meals.



Please be aware that there may be ticks and mosquitoes. Be prepared to check for ticks each night and to bring what you need if you get a tick bite. The First Aid basket will have some herbal/first aid supplies that you might need. 

Electronics/Technology Use:

We ask that the use of mobile devices be limited throughout the Retreat. If you need to make a call or use your device, please step off to a private place so as not to disrupt workshops or other participants. Please note: The camp will not have WiFi available to participants, and depending on your carrier, you may not get cell reception. Please keep your cell phone on silent mode throughout the conference and consider bringing an alarm clock if you are staying in a cabin instead of using your phone.  This allows you to power-down your phone for the evening and allows the women around you who may be extra sensitive to the electromagnetic frequencies emitted from cell phones to get a good night’s rest.

Fragrance-Free Request:

Many attending the Retreat are allergic to and/or sensitive to perfume, bug sprays and other personal care products with fragrances, including essential oils. Please use unscented products at the Retreat. In order to focus on the plants that grow around us and to honor those with sensitivities, we have requested that vendors minimize the essential oils or other strong scents in their products. We hope that this will contribute to an enjoyable, healthy and comfortable weekend for everyone.

Women-Only Space:

We are creating a space just for women at this retreat. Women have herstorically created nurturing spaces to heal, share and learn together. We trust that well-nourished women return home and contribute to well-nourished communities!

There will be some male staff providing support behind the scenes. They will remain in the background and minimize interactions with us. Please be kind to them and know they are there supporting this women’s space.


Registered Participants Only:

Only those registered for the Retreat are permitted at the Camp. If any child needs to be exchanged with a male parent or other caregiver we ask that this takes place in the parking lot.


Solicitation-Free Space:

The Marketplace is specifically set up for registered vendors and sponsors to share resources, services and products. Because of this we ask that women refrain from soliciting outside of the Marketplace. If you have questions or concerns prior to or during the conference about this, please contact us at


Drug/Alcohol Free Space: 

The retreat is a community space. Please be respectful of others and do not bring drugs or alcohol to the camp grounds. 



There will be many women departing the camp on Sunday afternoon. You may want to pack your belongings early in the day and take them to your vehicle for ease of departure after the closing circle, at approximately 3:45 pm on Sunday. There will be some periodic breaks throughout Sunday, staggered between workshops and meals, to ease your departure by having extra time to pack up and get organized through the day. With the exception of the work exchange team and vendors, all participants depart the Camp after the closing circle.

Vendors will take down their booths on Sunday, after the closing circle, and must have all items removed by 5:30 pm.


Sharing the experience:
Invite your friends and ask them to register HERE!

We look forward to meeting you and spending the weekend with you!


To follow us on Facebook, visit the link here. 

To follow us on Instagram, visit here. 

To follow us on Twitter, visit here. 

To follow us on Youtube, visit here.