Colorado Mycological Society's Online Expo
The Colorado Mycological Society’s (CMS) Annual Mushroom Fair has always been a major summer event for Denver Botanic Gardens, sometimes drawing more than 2,000 visitors in a single day. While we were unable to see the usual crowds, the 43rd Annual Mushroom Fair still carried on, this year as the 2020 CMS Online Mycology Expo. The fair was a combination of live-streamed lectures featuring guest speakers and organizations, with a small in-person component for mushroom enthusiasts to bring their fungal collections to be identified and preserved by Gardens scientists and mycology volunteers.
The keynote speaker was Montana State University’s Dr. Cathy Cripps, longtime friend and colleague of CMS and Gardens staff. Gardens scientists and mycology volunteers lectured on topics ranging from tree identification to poisonous mushrooms of Colorado. Other speakers and organizations affiliated with CMS spoke on identification, cultivation and cooking of mushrooms.
A total of 170 specimens were brought in this year by about 10 collectors. Although it has been a very dry year for mushrooms, collectors had several successful forays and found a diverse collection of species. All specimens came from Colorado, and locations ranged from high altitude mountain zones to downtown Denver. Many of the specimens were featured live on assorted guest lectures, as many of the lectures took place at the Gardens. These specimens will be databased and find their new home in the Gardens’ Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi, where they will be used for fungal research in biodiversity, morphology and genetics for years to come.
This blog post was written by Gary Olds, Ph.D. student at University of Colorado Denver. Gary is interested in environmental science and biodiversity. His research focuses on fungal diversity in the Colorado Rockies.
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