It is with utmost pleasure that I report that the official dedication of the Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi was a smashing success. Approximately 45 colleagues, friends, and admirers of the late Dr. Mitchel met for a formal luncheon today with presentations by Vera Evenson, Curator of the Herbarium; Dr. Barry Rumack, Colleague who worked with Sam on mushroom poisoning research; Dr. Hope Miller, mycologist; and Rosa Lee Brace, long time friend, patient and colleague of Sam's. A video was shown featuring highlights of Dr. Mitchel's connection to the Gardens.
Denver Botanic Gardens is proud to introduce the Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi. To honor his memory, an endowment was established to support the scientific application of the collection. The primary goal for the Herbarium of Fungi is to continue to realize Sam Mitchel’s vision of a premier Rocky Mountain fungal collection that serves the public and scientific communities by continually expanding and improving collections, contributing to education programs, serving the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center, and other activities.
Dr. Duane H. "Sam" Mitchel (1917-1993) was a medical doctor by training. He turned a love of wild fungi into a second profession in 1965 when he established a collection of preserved fungi at Denver Botanic Gardens. He donated his time, equipment and supplies to create the foundation of our mycological lab; the first with proper documentation of collections for this region. Dr. Mitchel’s initial collection of almost 4,000 specimens was the foundation for our now world-class collection of over 24,000 specimens, including several type specimens (the original voucher for a newly discovered species). The fungal herbarium at Denver Botanic Gardens is now the largest and best curated collection of Rocky Mountain fungi in existence.
This blog post was written by Anna Sher, Ph.D., adjunct researcher and former director of the Research & Conservation Department at Denver Botanic Gardens.