We’re here at the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe with the Illinois Mycological Association. Today we are hosting our Annual Show here at the garden, which we do every Labor Day weekend. We are a club of amateur mycologists and just generally mushroom enthusiasts. Part of our mission is to educate the public about the mycological benefits and importance of mushrooms. The Saturday before the show here at the botanic garden is when we have our largest foray of the year. Yesterday we had about 50 club members who came out in force.Andy:
So, today’s display was all collected from a local Cook County forest preserve.Alan:
There’s really good diversity out right now. A lot of really weird things. Some stuff we don’t even have names for.Andy:
There’s lots of different things like puffballs, coral fungi, as well as your normal mushrooms and agarics.
We have mycologists who came in this morning very early to work on the identifying, tagging everything up and preparing for the public, so we can talk about them.
And I can really geek out on stuff like this, because there’s just so many fascinating and beautiful and interesting things to be studying.
Well it’s certainly important to get the public involved with mushrooms. One of the main reasons is it gives them a good reason to oppose the forests being cut down.
Fungi happen to behave very cryptic. They’re often hidden, out of sight. And as a result they’re out of the minds of most people.
But if people don’t really learn the mushrooms, and they don’t eat the mushrooms, and they don’t hunt the mushrooms, then often they don’t even care if the forest gets cut down.
And I think the purpose of a show like this is to help open people’s eyes to the diversity that’s out there and the importance ecologically of this entire kingdom of organisms. And that’s what we try to do in the Illinois Mycological Association, is to give back and give people the opportunity to learn about this very important group of organisms, and how they contribute to their lives on a daily basis.
Illinois Mycological Association