With interest in fungi spawning across the city, the New York Mycological Society is celebrating New York City’s first ever Fungus Festival on Randall’s Island Park, on Sunday, October 23rd, 2022, from 11 AM – 3 PM. This free community centered event welcomes all ages and all mushroom-curious amateurs and experts alike!
What’s on offer
Guided mushroom walks
A mushroom display and identification table
Lectures by experts
Kid’s corner with face-painting, costume making and mushroom drawing and watercolor workshop
DNA sequencing demonstration
Vegan pizzas by James Baldwin Outdoor Learning Center
Displays by partners: Smallhold, Biotech without Borders, Mycology at NYU and many more
Workshop on mushroom cultivation by the Cornell Small Farms group
Displays on edible fungi in the city, medicinal mushrooms, poisonous mushrooms and more
Merchandise including books and mushroom-themed art
The New York Mycological Society is New York City’s very own mushroom club and open to anyone with an interest in fungi. The club was founded 60 years ago by avantgarde composer John Cage and friends. Our 1,400+ members enjoy walks every weekend, ID session, lectures, workshops and much more. Our mission is to document the amazing fungal diversity in New York City’s parks for science and conservation and create greater awareness for the wonderful world of fungi.
Fungi everywhere in North America are under threat from habitat loss, climate change, loss of host organisms and too much nitrogen in the soil. And yet there are no fungi on any endangered species lists and they are not considered in conservation policy or projects. Why? There simply too little data on fungi – not enough to build a case that a species is in need of special protection.
Community scientists can help change this by documenting rare and threatened fungi. Fungal Diversity Survey (FunDiS) has made it their mission to make this easy and fun.
Simply familiarize yourself with the 20 target fungi here by downloading the pdf (they’re all easy to identify even by beginners) and if you think you’ve found one, take lots of good pictures and put it on iNaturalist. Someone from FunDiS will get in touch to verify your find and will tell you what to do next.
I’ve found Butyriboletus billieae a couple of times in Staten Island, and I can tell you it’s really exciting to find one of these rare critters!
Block pickup: Saturday July 9th, 11-3pm Cultivation lecture: Sunday July 10th, 5-7pm on Zoom
Louis, Craig and Ciara
The New York Mycological Society has partnered with Smallhold for a very special giveaway for our members. Smallhold is not only New York’s preeminent urban mushroom farm, they also create innovative systems that help businesses and restaurants all over the country grow mushrooms.
Smallhold currently does not have the capacity or space to second-flush their blocks, so they compost the substrate blocks after only one flush. It is however quite easy to get a second and even third flush of mushrooms from them. Spent mushroom blocks can also be used as spawn, and broken up and mixed with more substrate to cultivate more mushrooms. They can also be used towards compost, gardening, and myco-remediation projects.
On Saturday July 9, from 11-3pm Smallhold will be giving away these blocks to NYMS members free of charge! Blue oyster and lion’s mane mushroom blocks will be available. All that we require is for members to pre-register using this form.
Please submit the registration form by Saturday, July 2nd.
The giveaway will happen at Smallhold’s headquarters at 630 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206, right by the Flushing Avenue subway stop.
Each block weighs around five pounds and is quite bulky. If you are planning to take them home by public transit, plan to bring a large reusable or IKEA-type bag.
How can I find out more about fruiting these blocks or using them for other applications?
We’ve scheduled a Zoom lecture with three panel presentations by urban mushroom cultivation experts the following day, Sunday, July 10th, from 5-7pm. The program will provide an introduction on how to handle and to use the blocks towards various applications, including block, bed, and log cultivation, as well as, compost and soil building. The program will also be a great primer for those who want to inoculate their outdoor spaces and community gardens with mushrooms.
The link to this lecture is
Growing your own fungi is a wonderful way to better understand fungi – the conditions they need to fruit and their magical abilities to transform substrates. We highly encourage our members to take advantage of this special offer and to watch these great lecturers!
More information on the panelists:
Louis Vassar Semanchik/Smallhold has been cultivating mushrooms for a decade, growing a variety of wood- and compost-loving mushrooms, both outside in the garden and indoors using DIY methods, as well as, in professionally-designed indoor automated fruiting chambers. He is also well versed in non-sterile and sterile techniques for starting and maintaining mycelium cultures. He is a homegrown New Yorker, who currently lives in Austin, TX, and heads Research and Development at Smallhold, a distributed network of indoor specialty mushroom farms in NY, TX, and LA.
Craig M. Trester/Harlem Grown is an educator and citizen scientist who utilizes principles of biomimicry and traditional ecological knowledge through applied mycology to develop regenerative solutions for many of the environmental challenges that impact our world. Through educational outreach he has sought to provide people with the knowledge and resources to recognize and practically apply the benefits that fungi have to offer our health, environment, and society. Craig believes novel approaches for bioremediation, carbon sequestration, and regenerative agriculture can be made a reality, through research of fungi and soil biology, diligent observation of our surroundings and intentional application of beneficial microorganisms.
Ciara Sidell/Randall’s Island Park Alliance Urban Farm is a lifelong New Yorker, committed to growing food in educational spaces in NYC. Ciara has farmed at the Queens County Farm Museum, taught with City Growers on Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop farms, managed Harlem Grown’s network of growing spaces, and currently manages the Randall’s Island Park Alliance Urban Farm — an educational farm, designed completely with teaching and learning in mind. Ciara is endlessly interested in engaging folks in learning and discussion around the intersections of farming, justice, community, and the urban landscape. Recently, she completed Cornell Small Farm Program’s Community Mushroom Educator Training and has been incorporating mushroom cultivation into the farm on Randall’s Island. Outside of farming, she enjoys non-competitive team sports, and gets her adrenaline fix from biking on city streets.
Sneha Ganguly, NYMS Community Outreach Coordinator + Sigrid Jakob, NYMS President
I took a course at Eagle Hill some years ago with Tom Volk to study Polypores. The sheer profusion of lichens made finding polypores quite difficult! This is a great place to study lichens. – Paul Sadowski
Title: Lichens and Lichen Ecology Instructor: Troy McMullin Dates: May 15–21, 2022
Description: This seminar is suitable for beginners and those with an advanced understanding of lichens. It is designed to help teachers, students, those working in state or federal positions, and naturalists of all skill levels become more knowledgeable about lichens. Lichens are abundant and diverse along the coast of Maine, so participants can pursue topics of interest and develop identification skills for a wide range of species. This seminar emphasizes both fieldwork and laboratory studies. The main focus is on identification using books, keys, and chemical tests. Chemistry will be examined with ultraviolet light, spot tests, and thin layer chromatography. Instruction will be provided on how to do these tests and how to cut sections of lichens and their fruiting bodies in order to examine internal structures. Lichens from open, forested, and seashore habitats will be studied. Lectures and slide presentations will cover topics such as structure, reproduction, ecology, human uses, and pollution monitoring. This seminar is recommended before taking more specialized lichen seminars. Participants are encouraged to bring their own specimens to study.
▪ Interactive color flyer for this seminar is available here! ▪ Details a
bout costs, discounts, accommodations, and meals can be found here. ▪ COVID-19 vaccination (including booster) is required for acceptance into our seminars.
We’re excited to announce that we finally have a 21st Century automated membership system. Why is this such a big deal? After all, the club has done fine for the last 60 years entering names into a ledger, or, more recently, into a spreadsheet.
This method worked fine back in the day when the club had 200 or 300 members but in the last couple of years the Club’s membership has ballooned (or dare I say, mushroomed) to over 1,500 members. Data entry and membership management fell to our Secretary and Treasurer, both of whom spent many hours every week trying to keep pace with the flood of applications. A frustrating and thankless task for our officers, and sometimes a frustrating experience for members who didn’t always get an immediate response or confirmation.
But all that has changed. Thanks to the work of Elan Trybuch, our new Secretary, who also happens to be an experienced software engineer, we now have an automated system that makes onboarding members a breeze. For our members, it bring a whole basket of new benefits:
Membership applications are confirmed the moment the $20 membership dues hit our PayPal, triggering a welcome email with lots of info and useful resources.
Members can now manage their membership themselves, changing their address, adding social media handles and even add a household member for free.
Once logged on, they have access to members-only content like information on walks, and ID sessions as well as lecture recordings. This makes it easy to stay on top of the many events that NYMS organizes year-round.
Memberships are now for 365 days instead of just to the end of the calendar year.
We will now be sending out reminder emails when memberships are about to expire, so no more accidental unenrollments or lapsed memberships!
Best of all for our team, we can now focus on the fun stuff, and spend more time in the forest and less time in front of our computers.
We thank our members for their patience while we were piloting the system and hope you enjoy the new benefits as much as we do.