On Saturday, Nov 18, 2023, on a beautiful, bright autumn day, Free the Fern welcomed special guest, mycologist, Cody Labossiere, to host a Mushroom Walk on the Red Alder Trail. The walk began at 10am in the Douglas Fir Teaching Garden (just east of 3530 Swansacre) with a short lecture on the study of mushrooms, before heading out to view species along the trail.
25 people showed up for this event, from the ages of 5 to 65 +. Children attending asked the most interesting questions of the specialist, Cody, and were right up next to him hunting for and pointing out their finds. Cody was very relaxed, knowledgeable and able to interact and connect with everyone in the group.
There were ample specimens to discover along the walk. We saw various mushroom, such as False Turkey Tail, Oyster, Witches Butter, Inkcaps, Crust Fungus, Blue cheese polypore, Puffballs and several others. We looked closely at mycelium, which is a root-like structure of a fungus consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae.
Cody emphasized that there is an etiquette to mushroom foraging and it is important not to disturb the area.
After the walk, we all returned to the Douglas Fir Teaching Garden for tea and snacks and to wrap-up the lecture. Cody LaBossiere served his homemade mushroom tea, consisting of a few varieties of edible and nutritious mushrooms, boiled, then strained and it was delicious.
Cody cautioned us about the importance of researching a mushroom identity before ever assuming that it is edible. It can cause grave illness and /or death if a poisonous mushroom is mistaken for an edible one
It was a very informative and fun day. Thank you Cody for leading the walk and Free the Fern Executive Director, Grace, for organizing it. Special thanks to Free the Fern directors, Barbara, Anne, Genevieve, Catherine, and Robin, and volunteers, Jay & Tom, for helping with event set-up, sign-in, photography, note-taking, and clean-up. Thank you to all our 25 participants who attended the walk – we hope to see you back for a future Free the Fern event!
Free the Fern, Secretary
Photographs by: Anne Banner, Barbara Lane, Catherine Munn, and Jay Peters.
This free walk was made possible thanks to funding from Park People.