Fascinated with fungi?
You are walking along a forested trail when a glowing orange mass among the trees catches your attention. Closer inspection reveals it to be a beautiful bracket fungus commonly called Chicken of the Woods. You have found a consumable culinary delight, but soon discover many other mushrooms fruiting at this time of year in the Upper Delaware River region. While all are interesting to observe and to photograph, many are best left where they are found, as consuming certain species can cause illness and even death.
To enhance your understanding of the fascinating world of fungi, begin by gathering some good field guides devoted to the Northeast region. One of my favorites is George Barron’s “Mushrooms of Northeast North America.” Notch up your knowledge by tuning in to local mycologists like Nathaniel Whitmore and Jack Barnett. They and other mushroom admirers offer their expertise through the Delaware Highlands Mushroom Society (DHMS), which schedules walks and talks and welcomes new members. (Learn more at www.dhmushrooms.org.)
One upcoming mushroom hike led by Whitmore will take place at Lacawac Sanctuary on September 30, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Visit www.lacawac.org/public-pro grams.html for details.
The DHMS is currently conducting a polypore identification project to catalogue species in the Upper Delaware River region to raise awareness of local wild mushrooms and their importance to regional ecosystems. Submit your photos of polypores to email@example.com to participate in the project.