Rochester Area Mycological Association


Visit NEMF at their website.

by Stacey Kalechitz

The North East Mycological Federation (NEMF) is made up of eighteen mycology clubs that range geographically from Montreal to Virginia. Each year, for the last thirty five years, NEMF clubs have hosted mycological conferences. Member clubs agree to host the conference, and working together, they choose a location, explore foray sites, solicit speakers, plan workshops, manage registration and publicity prior to each year’s event.

If you attend a NEMF [event], you can spend time hunting for fungi with professional mycologists, and authors of mushroom books as well as enthusiastic amateurs of all ages and talents and so much more. NEMF conferences are all about the fungi! At a NEMF [foray], you can meet new mushroom friends, greet old acquaintances, gather fungi, attend lectures about fungi, meet authors of books about fungi, sample new dishes made with fungi, talk about fungi at evening socials and compete for most interesting fungi find of the day.

The 35th Samuel S. Ristich NEMF Foray will be held on August 11-14, 2011 in the Adirondacks at Paul Smith’s College, which is north of Saranac Lake, New York. Host clubs for this event are the Central New York Mycological Society, Mid York Mycological Society, Rochester Area Mycological Association and Susquehanna Valley Mycological Society.

Have you ever considered taking a fungal vacation? Have you ever wondered what happens at a NEMF conference? Anywhere from 250 to 300 people attend these conferences annually. It’s a chance to reconnect with old friends, and to meet new friends. You can choose how many days you want to attend when you pre-register. Many attendees attend all four days. Some attendees prefer to attend as a commuter and attend only one or two days. Prices vary somewhat from year to year, but are usually in the $325 to $400 range for four days, depending upon whether you choose to room as a single or double. This cost covers room and board for three nights, breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, lunch on Friday and Saturday, and dinner on Thursday and Friday and a banquet on Saturday, Additionally, there are socials Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, immediately following the evening program, with a variety of snacking foods and a cash bar available.

If all of those meals and socials aren’t enough to satisfy your appetite, there is a special session on Saturday - called mycophagy - that allows the attendees to taste various dishes prepared with wild mushrooms.

Over Thursday, Friday and Saturday , there are anywhere from 13 to 17 planned forays that attendees may choose to participate in. Descriptions of walk sites and locations are provided to help attendees with their selection. Buses transport individuals to the foray sites. Mushrooms are gathered on these forays, and then brought back to the pre-sort tables. Each mushroom that is picked on the forays is labeled with the walk number and a description of the area in which it was found. Mycologists and other identifiers review and verify the genus and species of each mushroom and then attach the correct identification to the specimen. All fungi found are entered into the official species collection list for that conference. Once identified, the fungi are organized on display tables for people to view and review. Imagine twenty or more tables filled with hundreds of different species of fungi. If time allows, there is a review of the tables by mycologists or identifiers on Sunday morning after breakfast. When many mushroom enthusiasts get together to foray, many hundreds of micro and macro fungi are found! The opportunity to learn new fungi is limited only by the amount of time you choose to spend at the tables.

If you’d rather stay indoors, there are daily lectures and workshops on (what else, but?) fungi. Workshops in the past have included: mushrooms used for dyeing (participants dyed scarves); how to grow your own mushrooms; mushroom identification for beginners; intro and advanced microscopy; medicinal mushrooms; cooking with mushrooms, etc. Workshop and lecture topics vary from year to year.

Vendors display their mushroom related wares at tables, hoping to entice attendees to purchase newly published mushroom books, vintage mushroom books, crafts, art work, tee shirts, walking sticks and even dried mushrooms. Imagine talking to the author of one of your mushroom books or purchasing a signed copy of his or her book!

Each evening, there is a formal program with prepared lectures given by leading mycologists, and awards are given for the outstanding fungi of the day.

Consider including a few days in your vacation planning for a “fungal holiday” in 2011 by attending the 35th annual NEMF foray on August 11-14 at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks of New York state. Paul Smith’s College is located 25 miles from Lake Placid, 143 miles north of Albany, 190 miles east of Syracuse, 88 miles west of Burlington, and 309 miles from New York City. Major airlines serve the Burlington International Airport, 89 miles from campus and the Albany International Airport, 143 miles from campus. Spend time with people who are truly passionate about their hobby and/or their profession of mycology. We are very “down to earth” people.

For more information on the 2011 NEMF foray check out the web site. A slide show is also available on YouTube. Just type in NEMF 2011.


Wild Mushrooming in and Around Rochester, New York

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