Foraging

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Toadstools, mushrooms and puffballs pop up in the autumn in Michigan woods and fields, but do you know what ones are edible and which ones could kill you?

Mushroom experts offer more certification courses this fall

Two additional wild-foraged mushroom certification courses will be offered this fall in East Lansing and Mackinaw City to train and certify foragers who commercially harvest and sell wild mushrooms in Michigan. The courses, developed and presented by Midwest American Mycology Information, the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design, and the Michigan Farmers Market Association, are the last classes until next fall. Those who are not yet certified who would like to collect and sell mushrooms in Michigan in the spring or summer 2016 are encouraged to register.

Michigan Food Law requires all mushrooms foraged for sale be collected by a certified wild-foraged mushroom expert. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recognizes those who successfully pass the one-day course as experts and provides certification that is valid for five years.

The full-day training sessions focus on the biology and morphological characteristics used in the identification of mushrooms, and include hands-on work with specimens, direct interaction with mycologists, and a written exam at the end of the day. A test score of 80 percent or higher is required to receive a certification as an approved mushroom identification expert.

The cost of the training includes materials and lunch. No funds for this training go to the State of Michigan.

The exam will be difficult and thorough. Participants are urged to review training materials before the course takes place. Participants should come to the class fully prepared to take the certification exam. The class should be considered a review session where you can review the curriculum with mycologists, and have any questions answered regarding material you may not find clear.

Training dates and locations are as follows: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, Molecular Plant Sciences Building, Room 1200, 1066 Bogue St. (near the corner of Wilson Road and Bogue Street), Michigan State University, East Lansing. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the course is held from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (includes examination time), registration deadline is Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, Mackinaw City (location TBD). Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and course is held from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (includes examination time), registration deadline is Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

For more information, contact Chris Wright from Midwest American Mycological Information, at chris@midwestmycology.org, or visit www.midwestmycology.org.

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