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Workshops

8th Annual Mycelium Mysteries
A Women's Mushroom Conference
September 20-22, 2024 | Almond, Wisconsin
mushroom workshops
For Pre-Conference Workshops, click here!

Here are some of the amazing workshops, activities, & forays planned for Mycelium Mysteries. Check back often for updates, workshop descriptions, and more!

Keynote Addresses

Eugenia Bone | Have A Good Trip

This talk seeks to share what is known, what is knowable, and what is unknowable about the psychoactive properties of Psilocybe species. 

Rose Tursi | Overlooked Women of Early Mycology    

The invention of the printing press, microscope, and telescope along with the protestant reformation forever altered the social context of natural philosophy in the west. It helped kickstart the scientific revolution of the 17th century which brought us such concepts as the scientific method and taxonomy. By the 19th century, the study of natural science had come into the purview of professionals and institutions and the term 'scientist' was coined in 1834.


But in those highly patriarchal times, women were seen as property of their fathers and husbands. They could not vote or access higher education, much less practice a profession. Despite these obstacles, some determined women persevered, though unfortunately due to the culture of the time, they rarely received recognition for their accomplishments.


Have you ever wondered about the first lady to name a fungal taxon? Did you know a woman correctly theorized about the hybrid nature of lichens nearly a century before it was proven true? Or that it was a woman who identified the mold responsible for the potato blight famines? Or that a woman was the first person to successfully germinate mushroom spores in England?


In this talk, we'll delve into the sadly short list of ladies who helped advance the science of mycology prior to 1900. We'll learn who they were, what they did, and give them some long overdue thanks!"

Susan Leopold | Shapeshifters and rule breakers, Plants that look and act like fungi….

Susan will provide a deep dive into the world of Parasitic Plants from Ancient Herbals to Modern Scientific. Take a historical journey of scientific literature and botanical art of medicinal parasitic plants found around the world. The understanding of these plants coincides with the scientific study of parasites in the human body, an exchange that occurs in the 19th century when the invention of the microscope and cellular research intersect. Our knowledge of fungi as well as parasitic and hemi-parasitic medicinal plants expands with implications related to their role in the ecology and their chemical and medicinal uniqueness. 

Workshops & Activities

Aishwarya Veerabahu | The Midas Mushroom: Ecological Impacts of the Invasive Golden Oyster Mushroom

The golden oyster mushroom (GOM; Pleurotus citrinopileatus) is an invasive wood decay fungus that is rapidly spreading through North America and impacting native fungal communities. Native to east Asia, GOM was introduced to North America for cultivation purposes and sparks critical questions: How do we prevent fungal invasions and protect endemic fungal diversity? Should we have legislation/management around the transportation of fungi, just like we have for aquatic organisms, firewood, plants, and animals?

Aishwarya Veerabahu | Life Lessons from Life Science Communication

As science increasingly impacts society, how do we mindfully communicate about life science issues that affect us all? I turned to the social sciences to learn how to communicate about invasive species and other sensitive, multi-faceted topics in science. What I learned completely transformed how I think, how I reflect on society, and how I conduct myself as a scientist. Join me in an open conversation about how we interact with science and each other.

Alicia Gasaway | Song Workshop

Description Coming Soon

Andi Reisdorf (née Bruce) | Forest to Farm: Cultivating Wild Mushrooms

By learning to cultivate wild mushrooms from our local woodlands, we can bypass the need to buy commercial spawn and safeguard against the introduction of non-native invasive mushroom species. We’ll leverage low-tech techniques to create spawn from native fungi and discuss strategies for small-scale home grow set-ups. This DIY approach to cultivation creates opportunities to deepen your mycological knowledge while also playing a crucial role in preserving your local ecology.

Andi Reisdorf (née Bruce) | Wild Edible Mushrooms of WI

Learn the basics of foraging for wild edible mushrooms in this beginner-friendly lecture. We'll cover 14 species commonly found in Wisconsin (and much of North America), focusing on key identification features, practical foraging tips, and how to distinguish them from look-alike mushrooms. This is a great way to kickstart your journey into safe and satisfying mushroom foraging!

Andi Reisdorf (née Bruce)  | Unearthed Enigma: Exploring Mycelium Mysteries

How do mushrooms forcibly eject spores with accelerations in excess of 10,000 g? How do mushrooms actually create their own breeze for spore dispersal? Why do stinkhorns, well, stink? This lecture leverages scientific findings to reveal weird and wonderful ways that fungi live their lives, exposing mechanisms often invisible to the naked eye.

Anna DeMers | Birch Polypore Medicine

The birch polypore has medicine that we can all access. In this workshop, build your relationship with this special mushroom by learning about its medicine in community. In addition to learning, we will make a salve together that you'll be able to take home to continue your relationship with birch polypore.

Caro Arevalo | Fostering a Deeper Connection with the Natural World through Creativity

Peruvian visual artist Caro Arevalo will be sharing how artmaking has become, for her, a doorway to explore both her own inner worlds and a means to foster a deeper connection with the natural world. Caro will share with us the meticulous microscopic observation and research that goes into all of her paintings. She will also share with us the important role ceremony, intentional time in nature and learning with elders has in her creative process. showcasing examples of the deepening connection with nature. The intersection in between science and spirituality are the doorways to her creative expression and we will see an in-depth look into these throughout this conference. Drawing from her own experiences, Caro will offer practical strategies and techniques to cultivate curiosity in artmaking and deepen our relationship with the natural world. How can we dive deeper into our personal relationships with non-human kin? How can we become citizen scientists and explore nature in our own ways? Attendees can expect inspirational insights that can be applied to their own creative practices and daily lives, regardless of their current relationship to creativity. She will also be sharing with us some practical ways in which we can all get more curious about art making and deepen our relationship with nature through it.

Colleen Corrigan | Sketching mushrooms in their space: a simple and meditative drawing practice

This workshop will support participants in creating simple sketch images of the mushrooms’ natural worlds all around us. We will look at examples of notebooks, journals, and drawings from different artists, including the instructor’s journey of sketching for more than 20 years, before trying it on our own. Participants will begin their own calming practice of drawing lines on paper that reflect the beauty of our planet. We will progress with some different drawing practices that might get you inspired to start sketching on your own. You will leave with some ideas about the kinds of materials you could use to continue this calming and rewarding practice. No experience is necessary. If you can draw a line, you are ready!

Cornelia Cho | Introductory Taste of 'Transform Your Voice, Transform Your Life'

On a minute-to-minute basis, your tone of voice reveals rich information about your life struggles, vulnerabilities, and state of mind. Fortunately, because it's linked directly to your brain, your voice has neuroplasticity: the capacity to be re-wired. This allows you to challenge and unwind the stories that have wrapped themselves around your brain, breath, and vocal cords. Changing your tone is not about forcing yourself to pretend; it means you get to re-wire your brain while still holding on to what makes you truly you. Cornelia will guide you in identifying exactly what you're revealing to the world through your voice. Then she'll help you explore ways to begin loosening the grips your early patterns have on your current life. Using the listening partnership platform, we’ll create a connected, supportive environment to help you start shifting your tone. Come with bravery, expect to face hard feelings—and leave with notable changes in the way people respond to you. Please prepare to stay for this entire activity.

Cornelia Cho | Medicinal Mushrooms

Amidst all the medicinal mushroom press out there, how does one sort through it all to develop a workable and effective plan for yourself and those you love? Dr. Cho will discuss traditional knowledge, current research and cutting edge case studies, sharing the many ways mushrooms can help us, improving function of our skin, gut, immune system, nervous and cardiovascular systems, as well as addressing inflammation, blood sugar regulation, depression, addictions and more. Many of these mushrooms are easy to cultivate on logs and DIY grow environments. You'll leave with a clearer understanding of which mushrooms you'll want to welcome into your personal apothecary and how to safely do so.

Eugenia Bone | Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook

This is an illustrated talk about making a community sourced-cookbook, and the lessons I’ve drawn from testing hundreds of mushroom recipes, to wit, how and why mushrooms behave differently in the kitchen than other foods.

Falcon River | Tree Lore

In this workshop you will learn tree lore of Northern Europe and North America, and explore the mythical, magical, science, and healing properties of selected trees.

Gina Rivers | Deep-Dive into Mushroom Compounds

Join Gina Rivers, MycoHerbalist and formulator, in an exploratory discovery of what makes the “functional” in “functional mushrooms”. From polysaccharides to triterpenes – you will leave with a thorough understanding of these amazing compounds, many of which are unique to the world of fungi. We will discuss several key

species often used in traditional practices and examine the scientific evidence validating these unique substances as health-promoting wonders. This is a class designed for intermediate to advanced

herbalists or clinical practitioners, but all are welcome.

Helen Bond | West African Drumming Workshop

Helen will share the joy of traditional hand drumming. You will learn basic patterns and we will play a rhythm together. Everyone is welcome no experience is needed. Your instruments are welcome. Some djembe and bass dunun drums will be played.

Helen Bond | Percussion Playground

Come create music together and share your voice. Bring your instrument. Some drums and various percussion instruments will be available. Come and go as you like.

Helen Bond | Clean Water Solutions: Changing Lives and Communities at Home and Across the Globe

In the face of deep poverty and great challenges, compassion, determination and friendship has lead to over 100,000 individuals having access to clean water in Guinea, West Africa. Learn about Motherland Rhythm Community’s ongoing BioSand Water (BSF) filter initiative which is transforming lives in West Africa. BSFs are based on traditional slow sand filters removing pathogens and suspended solids from water.

Ingrid Daudert | Deep Dive Shiitake

Come learn about this wonderful edible mushroom that has been cultivated in China since 1100 AD, and in the US since 1972. This wonderful edible mushroom is so much more than a tasty mushroom. As a medicinal it has properties that are great for mitigating arthritis symptoms, diabetes, cholesterol, and immune deficiency. In Japan it is used as an adjunct for some cancer treatments. Ingrid will share her knowledge about log grown shiitake mushrooms and several ways to incorporate them into your diet.

Ingrid Daudert | Innoculation Station: The Wonderful World of Fungi

In our 1 ½ hours together we will explore the fascinating and diverse world of fungi, acknowledging their vital role in maintaining life on this planet. How can we interact with them in ways that will help us forge a bond with this ancient yet hardly understood world living all around us? • Introduction to the world of fungi ecology • A brief primer on mushrooms for food and health • An overview of mushroom propagation • Some basics of mushroom foraging This class is a primer that will “inoculate” you for the in depth classes offered this weekend.

Ingrid Daudert | Basic Foundations of Mushrooms

Description Coming Soon 

Kari Witthun | Threshing & Winnowing Seed

Explore and learn about the ancient agricultural practices of harvesting and readying seeds for storage. While our forebears utilized baskets, gourds, and the wind, we'll practice streamlined ways to speed up the process. Come immerse yourself in a time honored tradition. Feel free to bring seeds to swap as well!

Katherine MacLean | Magic Mushrooms: Creative Death Rituals and Plant Allies

The mushroom curanderas of present-day Oaxaca, Mexico originally called themselves Chaj Ndi Yo, or people of the dark. Because many of their traditions and rituals have survived “underground” as a result of several rounds of colonial conquest (notably by the Aztecs and the Spaniards), and in response to acts of betrayal by outsiders, the full scope of the original Chjine/Mazatec healing method remains hidden. We do know that so-called magic mushrooms (from the genus Psilocybe) play an important, but not singular, role in a complex repertoire of song, prayer, fire, and other sacred plant medicines. In this workshop, we will investigate the relationship between psilocybin-containing mushrooms and various sacred plants and healing herbs by drawing upon qualitative (interview-based) academic research, biographical explorations of Maria Sabina’s life, and anecdotal stories from present-day mushroom healers. The primary plants we will explore alongside Psilocybe mushrooms are San Pablo (Nicotiana rustica or sacred tobacco), San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoiina, a sacred cactus also called Huachuma), and Salvia divinorum. We will also discuss a more modern concept, of the role of the mushroom ceremony in preparation for death. This workshop is inspired by Katherine's experience as a psychedelic researcher and guide at Johns Hopkins University and School of Medicine, as well as her experience holding space for her family members during death. Please note that this workshop is not intended to support illegal activities and does not include ingesting any psychoactive substances. Attendees are encouraged to bring stories and observations of mushroom-plant relationships that have been healing in their own lives.

Laura Adrian | Exploring Fungi through Symbiosis

Fungi are the great connectors of the forest. They often form relationships with other organisms that are beneficial to both. The Wood Wide Web is a great example of how fungi pair with tree roots to form an incredible network that provides benefit to both fungi and trees involved. In this workshop, we’ll explore symbiosis in the forest and in our own lives as well.

Lauren Re | Approachable Intermediate-Advanced Mushroom Identification Skills

Do you find yourself working to identify mushrooms but end up feeling stuck and discouraged in the process? You’re not alone! Together, we’ll cover frequently used terminology found in field guides/keys as well as how to break down and remember taxonomic names in an approachable way. There will also be a hands-on component where we'll practice field skills such as: photography for ID purposes, taking measurements, using loupes/dissecting microscopes and more.

Linda Conroy | Drink Your Mushrooms

Learn to prepare delicious mushroom beverages. We will work with whole mushrooms and herbs to create delicious beverages, including mushroom "coffee", soda, aperitif, bitter digestive beverages, chai, hot cocoa, and much more. We will make and sample beverages, and recipes will be shared for future concocting.

Linda Conroy | Mushroom Cafe: Drink Bar & Visiting

Visit the mushroom beverage bar for samples of homemade beverages that feature some of our favorite mushroom allies. Samples of hot as well as cold beverages will be served. Bring a friend or meet new ones while you enjoy drinking mushrooms in this community mycelial space.

Linda Conroy | Miso & Tempeh Making

Join herbalist, mycophile and fermentation expert Linda Conroy for this fun and inspiring session. We will learn about the fungi that are used in the fermentation process that results in miso and tempeh. Once we learn about these, there will be a participatory hands on experience and preparing these for fermentation. Instructions on how to incubate each of these will be covered. We will end with a sample and instruction on how to incorporate these two foods into your diet.

Marci Zink | Somatic Imagery

Learn simple and quick imagery exercises to engage the physical and emotional bodies using the power of the mind. Imagery can reduce stress and anxiety, deepen your connection with nature and with others, induce positive thinking, discover new ways to feel about events from your past, and so much more. Providing stimulation for the mind while relaxing the body, practicing imagery shows us how to create the ideal inner environment in which transformation can take place.

Mariah Rogers | Our Collaborative MycoBook

Together, we will face the blank page. Some will be ruled, some unruled, some even graph. We will explore a traveling library of mycology books on many themes and handle fresh mushrooms. Creative tools will be provided. Recipes, poems, observations, facts, quotes, stories and drawings can all go in. All experience levels are welcome. We may then allow our pages to be digitally recorded (or not) and then take ours home or give them away.

Melissa Klotka | Mushrooms in the Kitchen (Part 2)

Proper cooking of mushrooms will be demonstrated, storage and handling, and then do a tasting at the end of the demonstration with a question and answer session following. Informative and delicious!

 

Rebecca Trudeau | Create Your Own Mushroom Journal

In this hands-on workshop, you will create your very own field mushroom journal for capturing notes, drawings, spore prints, and more. A variety of paper colors and textures will be available along with other craft supplies to personalize your field journal. Instructional handouts will also be provided so you can continue making your own journals at home. All bookbinding materials will be provided. All bookbinding materials will be provided.

Rose Tursi | Make and Take Mushroom Medallion

Paint a bisqued stoneware clay mushroom wall hanging that Rose has cast from vintage 1960s Arnel's ceramic molds while she regales you with mushroom stories and anecdotes. Learn cool mycological facts, ask any questions you like, and make-and-take a beautiful memento of the weekend home with you.

Ruth Barrett | Chants for Mother Gaia

This singing workshop focuses on chants that honor and celebrate Mother Earth and the elemental powers of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. Learn some and share a favorite. Percussion toys welcome.

Sarah Foltz Jordan | Edible Mushrooms: A Multi Sensory Deep Dive Tour of the Mushroom ID Table

For this workshop, Sarah will talk you through interesting aspects of the mushroom edibility display-- a much-celebrated element of the conference each year. You will have the opportunity to touch and smell key edible mushrooms and their look-alikes, learn about their diagnostic features, habitat associations, foraging and cooking tips, and much more. We will also discuss the (often surprising) genetic relationships of fungi, using a printed phylogenetic tree showing the evolutionary relationships of hundreds of mushroom genera.

Susan Leopold | TBD

Description Coming Soon

Tess Kenney | Open Mushroom Painting Session

Many species of mushroom and lichens can provide beautiful lightfast permanent pigments used to dye fiber, make paints, and more. Tess Kenney invites you to drop in and play with pre- made mushroom watercolor paints in a variety of colors and create a painting to take home with you as a keepsake of the weekend. All materials are provided.

Tess Kenney | Making Mycological Art in the Style of Beatrix Potter

This workshop will explore the mycological art inspired by Beatrix Potter emboding the enchanting world of fungi through a delicate, scientifically accurate, and whimsical lens. Potter, renowned for her beloved children's tales, was also an avid naturalist and mycologist. Her mycological illustrations showcase her keen observation skills and artistic precision, capturing the intricate details of various mushroom species. Dr. Kenney will assist participants in creating their own rendered fungi, focusing on each fungi’s unique textures, colors, and forms. Participants will increase their observation abilities by recreating the mushrooms’ natural beauty and diversity. Working visually is scientifically informative and aesthetically pleasing, reflecting Potter's dual passions for nature and storytelling. This art form blends the charm of Victorian botanical illustration with a touch of fairytale magic, inviting viewers into a hidden world teeming with life and wonder. Most importantly it is a lot of fun.

Highlights!

Sarah Foltz Jordan | Edible Mushroom Display

This display of identified mushrooms is provided for our collective learning and enjoyment. Mushrooms are organized into 4 categories based on edibility (Easy & choice edible, More difficult and/or less significant edible, Inedible, and Poisonous). Medicinal and hallucinogenic mushrooms are also noted. Each mushroom has an identification card associated with it including the scientific name and common name when available. Please feel free to look, hold, and smell the mushrooms as you wish, but be careful to keep mushrooms on the correct plate with the correct ID card. If you have mushrooms to contribute to the table, please place them in the designated area near the display where they can be identified, labeled, and placed in the appropriate category.

 

Sarah Foltz Jordan | Mushroom Phylogeny Display

This display will help us better understand the evolutionary relationships of fungi using a large printed phylogenetic tree of 256 genera, coupled with specimens and photos of many commonly-encountered genera. By presenting the mushrooms in this way, you will be able to see first-hand how similar morphologies have evolved independently in multiple lineages, and how morphological closeness does not necessarily indicate genetic closeness. Prepare to be surprised!

Tess Kenney | The Forest Floor Exhibition

Dr. Kenney’s work in the Forest Floor is a culmination of work done when it was impossible to go on forays and the world was in lock down. She has continued this series and expanded the series from painting to etching, lithography, relief printing and ceramic painting. The Forest Floor concentrates on representing artistically Wisconsin fungi. The exhibition includes each specimens taxonomy, common and formal names, descriptions and habitat. This work is an artist exhibition of citizen science yet so much more.

Forays

Anna DeMers | Tree ID for Mushroom Hunting

Each mushroom has relationships with specific trees, and knowing those trees can help you find relationship with those mushrooms you may want find. Learn what features to look for on the trees - both in summer and winter. You'll leave knowing the trees of the Midwest better, as well as which mushrooms have relationships with the trees.

Lauren Re | Expanding Your Mushroom ID Toolkit: How to Engage the Senses

Mushrooms are famous for their variety of flavors when cooked, but it’s far less known that tasting mushrooms in the field can actually help you identify them correctly! In this workshop we'll cover how you can safely engage each of your senses to help deepen your relationship with fungi while also refining your ID skills. Participants will have the chance to interact with both dried and fresh specimens as we explore and experiment together.

Community Science Workshop & Foray: How We Can All Contribute to Mycology! | Mariah Rogers & Lauren Re  Participants will learn about projects that have helped empower mycophiles around the world to contribute to our collective understanding of fungi. We’ll introduce the interactive app/website iNaturalist.org where anyone can share their fungal finds with the global community and learn more about what’s been found in their own neighborhood. Attendees will also learn the simple process of preserving their collections for further study. We’ll explore the area together and get hands-on practice using iNaturalist.

Linda Conroy | Tools of the Trade: Foray Equipment

Learn what basic equipment to take on a foray and how to use them. We will spend a fair amount of time observing mushrooms, learning how to use a loupe and getting comfortable using field guides. We’ll discuss how to make a spore print, why it’s necessary and best practices to harvest, collect and transport mushrooms. Bring a mushroom or tree ID book that you want to learn to use and jewelers loupe or magnifying glass if you have one.

Loni Ronnenbaum | Googlyeyefungi UV Night Walk

Join your fellow FunGals in exploring the trails of WI in a whole new light.. the dark. Please bring UV flashlights if able, a few will be provided to small groups along with glow in the dark googly eyes for foray pictures. We may find foxfire, fluorescent fungus and glowing mushrooms … or they may find us!

Melissa Klotka | Mushrooms in the Field

Part 1 will include a 90 minute guided foray where we discuss mushroom identification, and safety and look for mushrooms in the field. This workshop will also delve into HOW to find mushrooms and how to understand the relationships that they have with the world around them including habitat, substrate, and key ID characteristics. We will also talk about how to find your favorite mushrooms and additional resources that new folks can use to get better aquainted with the world of mushrooms. Questions will be encouraged along the way as we walk.

Pat Armstrong | Talking Tree Walk

“The Ancient Oak to the Druids spoke, but any Tree can talk to me.” Bigger than a whale, Older than methuselah, Trees join Earth to Sky and hold millennia of wisdom. Your conversation with Trees becomes more intimate and personal when you honor them by knowing their names.

Pat Armstrong | Looking for Lichens

“Algae met some fungi. They all went a-hikin’. The fungi were hungri. The result was a lichen.” The Tea Phytologist, 1943 Two plants living as one; is it mutualism or controlled parasitism? Let’s see how many different kinds of lichens we can find at Camp Helen Brachman. You might want to bring along a magnifying glass or a 10 power hand lens if you have one.

Rose Tursi | Fun and Fungal Mushroom Walk

A walk in the woods with lots of storytelling. We will observe and identify mushrooms, but also discuss their folklore, etymology, role in the environment and how they have been used by people for food, medicine, crafts and other purposes. Almost every mushroom has a tale behind it. Rose has countless anecdotes from years of foraging that is sure to inspire beginners and intermediate mycology enthusiasts alike.

Sarah Foltz Jordan | Woodland Wonder & Wander

This walk will invite you to expand your understanding of mushroom identification and ecology as we take a close look at the various species encountered on our journey. Discussion will include mushroom edibility and critical identification features, along with some of the more subtle aspects of morphology and biology such as smells, tree associations, and evolutionary relationships. There’s always plenty to marvel at!

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Registration for  Mycelium Mysteries is NOW OPEN!
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