2020 Monthly Meetings

Due to the COVID-19 crisis our meeting location at the Murphy-Oakley Recreation Center is closed until further notice for the health and safety of our community. In the meantime, we are bringing members our monthly meetings virtually. Members-only links to the meetings will be sent out. Please see Sporadic News for more information.

Monthly meetings are open to the public and feature a guest speaker and identification of recent area finds.

When: The last Thursday of the month, March through October.
November business meeting, second to last Wednesday of the month.
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: (March to September and November) The Murphy-Oakley Recreation Center located at 749 Fairview Road, Asheville, NC 28803.

(October only) USDA Forest Service located at 160 Zillicoa Street, Asheville, NC 28801.

2020 Meeting Schedule
Date Speaker - Topic - Bio
March 26

Mike Hopping
Topic: Morels!

Canceled
because of the City of Ashevile temporary ban of large meetings on city property. The content of Mike's presentation, in essay form, is available here.

Spring is morel season, eagerly anticipated by mushroom fans from beginners to the most grizzled veteran. As always, the Asheville Mushroom Club commemorates this kickoff to the 2020 season with a presentation on our locally resident species and where, in other people's favorite patches, to look for them. (In view of the large number of innocents likely to be in the audience, please leave your weapons at home. The speaker promises to omit GPS coordinates.)

Bio: Mike Hopping didn't develop an interest in mushrooms until a big morel score in 2011 whispered that the woods weren't done surprising him. That summer he joined the Asheville Mushroom Club, pestered Charlotte Caplan without mercy, and it was all downhill from there.  For five years he worked on the foray committee, successfully evaded elected office, and began work on Mushrooms of the Carolinas with Alan and Arleen Bessette.  It was published in 2018. That same year, at the instigation of Sheila Dunn, he and Charlotte launched the Asheville Mushroom Club ID Group to assist a new generation of mushroom identifiers in developing themselves.
April 30 Jeanine Davis
Topic: We Really Can Grow Black Perigord Truffles in the Southeast!

In this fun and colorful presentation, she will take you through the past two decades of successes and failures of trying to produce the Black Perigord truffle in the Southeastern US. It’s a great story of how growers, scientists and truffle enthusiasts have worked together and -- with little money but lots of passion -- are now experiencing success in many orchards.

Bio:
Dr. Jeanine Davis is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. She is located at a research and extension center in western NC near Asheville.  For over 30 years, she has researched new crops, vegetables and organic agriculture, and shared her knowledge on these topics with farmers and home gardeners across the country. Her current efforts are focused on woodland botanicals, hops, truffles, organic vegetables and hemp. She is the lead author of the book “Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals”. Jeanine and her family operate Our Tiny Farm where they raise and board mini-donkeys.

May 28 Leif Olson
Topic: Fungi in Environmental Remediation and Restoration

The ability of fungi to break down complex pollutants and tackle various environmental challenges has been known for decades, but the use of fungi for environmental cleanup and land management has limited prevalence for several reasons. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the use of fungi for improving land health and a growing popularity of “mycoremediation”. This talk will provide an overview of the roles fungi play in the environment and how this relates to their potential for improving environmental health including building soil, filtering water, breaking down toxins, controlling pest outbreaks and enhancing nutrient cycling. Simple techniques for incorporating fungi into the landscapes will be discussed, as well as logistical considerations for designing and implementing mycoremediation projects.

Bio: Leif Olson is an environmental scientist and educator with a background spanning commercial mushroom production, field ecology, wetland science, phytoremediation and residential landscaping. He currently consults on fungi-based land management projects and research with municipalities, academia and private companies and teaches around the country about applied mycology and bioremediation. He holds a Master’s degree in Ecotoxicology from Duke University and Bachelor of Science in Ecology from University of California at Santa Cruz and currently operates Integrated Land Enhancement, a research, education and consulting business based in western North Carolina.

June 25 Ed Kostansek
Topic: A 50-Year Mushroom Journey

This talk comprises three sections coinciding with research he was involved in during his professional career. The first is how the exact three-dimensional chemical structure of β-Amanitin toxin from Amanita phalloides was determined using x-ray crystallography and a lot of computing power, which was research done at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. The second topic covers the challenges of designing fungicides and the dangers of monoculture. There will be a discussion of how we saved the worldwide banana crop from the fungal disease known as Black Sigatoka, a leaf spot disease caused by the Ascomycete fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis. The third topic concerns the effect of the simplest plant hormone, ethylene, on the growth and aging of food produce including especially perishable items such as fruit, berries, leafy vegetables, mushrooms and cut flowers. Ed was involved in developing a new technology hormone mimic (1-methylcyclopropene) that can help maintain the fresh-picked quality of produce and flowers. Successes and failures will be discussed, with emphasis on mushrooms and how they differ from plants.

In between the above technical topics will be discussions of interesting mushroom-related items and stories covering a wide range of material, including: mushroom art, morels (of course), dining at some of the best mushroom restaurants and studies of magic mushrooms and other psychoactive botanicals with the late eminent Harvard ethnobotanist Professor R.E. Schultes.

Bio: Dr. Ed Kostansek is a scientist and inventor with over 30 patents and publications, who has worked in over 20 countries. He studied under Nobel Laureate Professor W.N. Lipscomb at Harvard University where he received his chemistry and chemical biology doctorate, part of which was the determination of the chemical structure of a toxin in the Amanita phalloides mushroom. He has worked in many fields of technology including fungicide/biocide design, plant-growth regulators, food and produce preservation, plastics and coatings (paints) during his corporate career. He invented the world’s largest-selling protectant fungicide formulation. Ed is an expert in nanoparticle technology and formulation science and currently has a small technology consulting business, Alkymst, LLC. Mushrooms have always been an important part of his and his textile-artist wife Rosemary’s lives.
July 30 Rick Van de Poll
Topic: Edible & Medicinal Qualities of Fungi

Fungi have been used for tens of thousands of years for food and medicine. Yet every day we learn more and more about their nutritional and medicinal value as more and more people study, eat, and run trials on various fungi. With over 4 million species estimated on the planet, there are as yet undiscovered benefits of using fungi for food or medicine. Beyond the well-known oysters, boletes, and chanterelles there are hundreds of good to excellent tasty treats in the mushroom world. Equally and perhaps more importantly, beyond penicillin, shiitake and chaga there are dozens of valuable fungi that provide critical immune support, cancer-fighting capabilities, and circulatory relief. Join us for an informative hour of a slide-based webinar that looks more deeply at the attributes of a much-maligned group of organisms.

Bio: Dr. Rick Van de Poll is the principal of Ecosystem Management Consultants (EMC) of Sandwich, New Hampshire. He has taught mycology at the undergraduate and graduate levels for over 35 years. He has been on the Northeast Mycological Federation (NEMF) Faculty list since 1996 when he co-chaired the joint NAMA-NEMF Foray at Mt. Ascutney. He is currently the President of NEMF and the Sandwich Area Mushroom Club in New Hampshire.
August 27 Marc Williams
Topic: Ethnomycology

Ethnomycology is a wide area for potential study combining the two sciences of Ethnology concerned with the traditions of human cultures and Mycology which focuses on the organisms within the fungal kingdom. It includes both the exploration of mushroom uses fit for the table and the medicine chest. Some examples include decoctions, jerkies, pates, teas, tinctures, and more. Various mushrooms are also used for crafts which serve as an area of interest as well.  Choice species of edible, medicinal and craft mushrooms will be featured as part of this presentation and discussion.

Bio:
Marc Williams is an ethnobiologist. He has studied the people, plant, mushroom, microbe connection intensively while learning to employ botanicals and other life forms for food, medicine, and beauty. His training includes a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture with a minor in Business from Warren Wilson College and a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies concentrating in Sustainable Development with a minor in Geography and Planning from Appalachian State University. He has spent over two decades working at a multitude of restaurants and various farms and has travelled throughout 30 countries in Central/North/South America and Europe as well as all 50 states of the USA. Marc has visited over 200 botanical gardens and research institutions during this process while taking tens of thousands of pictures of representative plants. He is also Executive Director of Plants and Healers International www.plantsandhealers.org and on the Board of Directors of United Plant Savers. He has taught hundreds of classes to thousands of students about the marvelous world of people and their interface with other organisms while working with over 70 organizations in the last few years and online at the website www.botanyeveryday.com. Marc's greatest hope is that this effort may help improve our current challenging global ecological situation.
September 24 Andrew Methven
Topic: Coral Fungi of the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Coral fungi comprise an often overlooked group of fleshy fungi which display beautiful colors, fascinating forms, and occupy unique habitats. This presentation will focus on how to recognize common genera of coral fungi, representative species which are discovered in the southern Appalachian Mountains, fungi which mimic coral fungi, and a mycological mystery or two.

Bio:
Andrew Methven recently retired as professor and chair of Biology at Savannah State University. He is also an emeritus professor of mycology and lichenology at Eastern Illinois University and has taught courses in mycology, lichens, medical mycology and field mycology, and maintained the Cryptogamic Herbarium (with more than 15,000 collections of fungi and lichens) at Eastern Illinois University. Included among his research interests are systematics and ecology of fleshy fungi, mycogeography, the application of compatibility studies and molecular techniques to fungal systematics, and the identification, distribution and ecology of lichens in eastern North America.

His research program continues to examine mycogeography of the mushroom genus Lactarius in the Western Hemisphere, the application of molecular techniques to phylogenetic studies in the fungal genera Clavariadelphus, Gyromitra, Lentaria and Macrotyphula as well as learning more about the mycota of the Georgia low country. Recent research projects involving undergraduate students include lichen community structure on swamp chestnut oaks, molds in building ventilation systems, and fungi which inhabit Spartina (cord grass) in the estuaries of coastal Georgia.
October 29 William Padilla-Brown
Topic: Cordyceps Cultivation from the Wild to the Farm

William has spent the past five years focusing on developing new technologies for cultivating Cordyceps mushrooms. The culmination of his research and a collection of advancements from friends has been published this year in "Cordyceps Cultivation Handbook Volume 2."

Bio:
William Padilla-Brown is leading the country in the field of Cordyceps cultivation. He is the founder of MycoSymbiotics, a social entrepreneur, citizen scientist, mycologist, amateur 'phychologist', urban shaman, writer, YouTube vlogger, contributing editor for Fungi magazine, researcher, poet and father. He holds Permaculture Design Certificates acquired through Susquehanna Permaculture and NGOZI, Inc. William regularly teaches around the country at mushroom clubs, festivals and agricultural conferences.
November 18 Annual Business Meeting. Current members only, no speaker.

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