Motivated About Mycology
As individuals we each find different aspects of the study of fungi of interest and motivational, and there are many.
Some of us love the process of identification. There are believed to be over 15,000 different species of fungi in the UK and over a million worldwide. Even fungi of the same species can look remarkable different and have a habit of mutating. The only sure way to know what it is you have found is through close inspection under a field magnifying glass or a microscope. Identifying basic characteristics such as how whether the fungi has gills or not, whether the gills are attached to the stem, the shape, colour, smell even and what colour the spore are, all help you get close to knowing exactly what you have. Even then it can lead to debate.
Keeping track of what is growing in our woodlands, meadows and moors helps keep check on the health of our natural environment. Fungi is a good indicator of the health of a woodland for instance. It can indicate the presence or lack of nutrients or of disease. As fungi recorders we look through our natural preserves with a fine eye, first identifying and the recording what species are present. Currently our records are kept with our group's Recorder. These may then reported to the British Mycological Society for integration in to the national database.
For those who are interesting in the delights nature has to offer our kitchens, our forays are a great learning experience. Our goal as a group though is primarily identification and recording, but we have plenty of people that are also interested in edible fungi. Also, as we wander through our natural spaces, it's a great opportunity to learn about the diversity of natural foods around us and some of us can provide some insight in to that.
As we have mentioned before though, we are also mindful that our forays are often on private land, having obtained permission from the land owner. In these cases picking for eating is often not allowed.
We are though, ever respectful of value of our natural resources and the need to protect them at all costs. Our aim then is "Protection Through Education."
We have some keen photographers amongst us. Photographing fungi requires very particular skill sets. Mushrooms can be very beautiful and extraordinary in their rapid development and widespread growth. This affords opportunities for dramatic photography both at the landscape and macro level. Some of us have even attached our cameras to microscopes for an even more incredible view of this extraordinary subject.
A natural part of what we do requires us to get out and get some fresh air in some very beautiful places. Our forays are not usually very demanding, particularly on younger people, but over a couple of hours you can get some useful exercise in, particularly in some of our more hilly locations. What better way to get some fresh air and learn about one of our countryside's most valuable partner and resource at the same time.
As a group we love to share our interests and meet through the year on a social level too. Sometimes we will extend a foray to include a picnic at some of our more picturesque locations, other times we will just arrange and barbeque and meet up.