Newsletter from the new MHMA president, John Michelotti

Thank you for your support in voting me in as president of MHMA.
Many thanks to all those that have been a great support to our organization. Especially our Officers:
Past President – Lisa Resnick
VP – Barbara Plume
Secretary – Kelly Sinclair
Treasurer – Cynthia Fisher
Membership Secretary – Carol McDonald
Walks Coordinator – Jill Weiss
When my position started on April 1st, I instantly felt more powerful. I felt charged with the responsibility to make the world a better place through my efforts with MHMA. You can feel powerful too! If you are interested in volunteering your time or becoming a chairperson, please email me directly. I am happy to answer any questions and help you along the way. Our members’ combined efforts are what makes this club what it is.
Over the next year it is my hope to bring in some great mycologists to talk and present on a variety of mushroom topics including microscopy and more on cultivation from a mushroom farmer and teacher in Amherst. I plan to inform our members of the equipment and services they have available in hopes that members will be inspired to work on a mushroom project given the tools we can provide. I would like to recruit members to help with the planning the 2017 NEMF (North East Mycological Foray – a weekend long mushroom gathering with over 250 people and high ranking mycologists). And, of course, I look forward to getting our members in the woods and inspiring others to do the same through sharing a well-rounded education of fungi.
For those of you who are not familiar with me, what follows is more than enough information to give you a background on who I am. If anyone sent me an email this long, I probably wouldn’t even read it so if you stop here, I don’t blame you. Have a great day!
Here’s a Bio covering my mycological background:

John Michelotti resides in Big Indian, NY on a family farm where he cultivates (indoor and outdoor) mushrooms for their healthful components which he uses to create Health Extractions which he sells online, in stores and at farmers markets. He is the owner of Catskill Fungi whose mission is to empower people through Fungi via Outdoor Guided Mushroom Classes, Cultivation courses, Educational Talks, Private consultations, Mushroom Art, and Mushroom Health Extractions. John is the President of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association (MHMA), and a member of Connecticut Westchester Mycological Association (COMA), Pioneer Valley Mycological Association, and North American Mycological Association (NAMA) as well as Amazon Mycorenewal Project researching the utilization of Fungi to remediate oil spills in the Amazon Rainforest. He is a member of the Mushroom Advisory Panel for Certified Naturally Grown who are developing standards for best practices in ecological mushroom production.
That being said, I still consider myself new to mushrooms. I joined COMA in 2010 and it was because of the teachings and warm welcoming of people like Gary Lincoff and Diana Smith that I found my first forest family. I rearranged my schedule around mushroom walks and talks and it quickly became my favorite thing to do. I spent my spare time (and some time at work) reading books from Paul Stamets, Gary Lincoff, Eugenia Bone, etc, cultivating my first mushrooms, and visiting mushroom farms. When an opportunity came to go to Ecuador in 2012 to study mycoremediation, I leveraged an educational award from an AmeriCorps program I earned in 2007 and took the summer off from being a boat captain. This propelled me into the next level of working with mushrooms. At that point I was leading walks, giving talks/presentations on a variety of subjects, as well as hosting inoculation workshops in a variety of places. I moved up to a family farm in Big Indian NY in 2014 and founded Catskill Fungi. My mission is to inspire people through mushrooms while improving my community and the environment. The mushroom walks I host with Catskill Fungi are more of a Fungi-101 Course. They cover basic morphology, ecological roles of fungi, what to bring when you’re going on a mushroom walk, historic uses of fungi, medicinal uses of fungi, technological advancements utilizing fungi, and current scientific research. Oh, and what’s edible and poisonous. I do my best to take the focus away from the “Can I eat it?” questions and instead inspire the “WOW” factor of the fascinating world of Fungi. At the end of the course people are familiar with what a field guide is and how to use one, how to triple-check the mushrooms they want to eat, as well as the next steps to getting involved in mushrooms including local mycological clubs where they can go on walks and attend classes. I hope to expand membership of MHMA and other mycological organizations through my work with Catskill Fungi.
Catskill Fungi Mushroom walks are $10 for any member of a mycological organization if you sign up with me ahead of time.
Catskill Fungi walks are different from MHMA walks. As a member of MHMA the mushroom walks are paid for by your annual membership fee. Catskill Fungi walks are paid per walk and any member of a mycological organization gets a discount. To find out when Catskill Fungi will be hosting walks please go to the website CatskillFungi.com.

Jill is doing a great job putting together the MHMA walk list and you will receive an email about this in the coming weeks.

If anyone has any questions or would like to talk more about anything above, please contact me directly; John@catskillFungi.com

I hope to see many smiling faces in the woods this coming season.
May the spores be with you.
Fungally yours,
John

Archived Newsletter from our President 12/8/2014

Dear Club members, Is it too soon..can I say it? Oh well, (although it used to be later) I think it’s now the start…”Happy Holidays”!

Starting the fall season last month, our  club had a wonderful annual pot luck and meeting. Befitting of the season, this yearly event has moved from December to November during the past few years, a time of thanks for our harvests and all we have.  The meal was illuminated  by Carol MacDonald’s decorations and Jill Weiss’s gourmet mycophagy creations – both were exquisite. Our meeting was  greatly enhanced by the wonderful table that our Vice President, Barbara Plume, put together. The table, with a display of fungi that Barbara identified for us, and Barbara’s on-going work to educate, exemplify our club’s  mission to share our knowledge of mycology. Awards for finding the first of a species were given at our meeting. Congratulations to Sandra Schelhorn who was recognized for finding the first Chanterelles of the season. Many other hands, too many to mention here, helped to bring this event together, from set-up to door prize donations, and of course the comradely of a friendly, like-minded group of people. It was an amazing event. As Henry Halama put it, the dinner was a “100 course gourmet meal”. I heard one person say of the event, “It was the best ever”. Thank you all for your ideas and input at the meeting as well .

For those of you who were not present, or aware of previous letters,  I have been emphasizing the need for people to contribute to the club in whatever way they can; this can be done by taking on an existing club post or office, to giving a workshop, to leading or hosting a walk or in smaller ways of assisting where help is needed. Just ask club officers how they can use help. In addition to decorating our tables, to encourage new people to try leading a walk, Carol generously put together packets to simplify doing this . The packet contains needed forms for leading the walk such as sign-in sheets​.​

Normally we have had one president’s award, given to someone who’s contributions to the club have been outstanding.  I did something different this year. The president’s award was given to two individual’s. Both stepped up to help and exemplified the spirit of making on-going contributions, facilitating on-going club activities. The award was given to Ted Shemella who volunteered to be web master with our new website​; an on-going task. The other award recipient was Robert Senk. During the year, I repeatedly heard Robert’s name mentioned – always in some capacity of contributing to help facilitate our walks. Thank you both again.

Thank you, Connie Lettow, new to our club, who stepped up at the meeting offering to help wherever help is needed. Connie will be our new Volunteer Coordinator. She will be working on collecting info on how you can help and coordinating the efforts.

With regard to filling a post, please know that none of the club posts are permanent positions. According to our by-laws, most were not intended to be filled by one person for more than two years. We need volunteers to help and take on each of these positions. The position of walks coordinator remains open. Secretary and treasurer have been open although the current officers have selflessly continued to fill in until a replacement is found. I also welcome anybody to consider being President, as does Barbara, for Vice President. While I accepted the office of president, sharing the sense of responsibility to give back to the club, and remain dedicated to leading the club, I also recognize that the club would benefit having someone who has more time to devote to it.  I am now working long hours, which limits how much time and how quickly I can attend to club business.

Now is a time that everybody can continue to contribute and help the club to best serve all of us. If you have not responded to letting us know what educational activities you are interested in learning more about, please do so right away. I have received input from a handful of people. We are putting our yearly talks and walks agenda together now-to start in the next few months, and need your input to successfully plan talks and activities that you would like to see. We can’t do this without your input.

So far, from your feedback, there are several requests for a tree identification workshop (before the leaves pop out) and I am working on this. We have several other great ideas that I will work to integrate in programs. Other workshops will be based upon the greatest interest expressed by club members and finding facilitators for those programs.

In summation of the above:

1- We had a great dinner and are looking forward to more interesting meetings.
2- Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer, consider being a club officer or walk’s coordinator, and thank you to all who do volunteer!
3- Send your suggestions for workshops and lectures immediately-to help us find workshops based upon popular interest.
4- Let us know if you can lead or facilitate a workshop/event
4- See the wonderful Fall Report that Bill sent at t​he time of our meeting  below.  I am sorry that I could not get this out sooner. However, it remains important information about fungi, and observations about seasonal trends, that you can continue to reflect upon and  call upon in the future.  Thanks, Bill

Thanks, Lisa

Archived: President’s Newsletter – from Lisa Resnick

We had a wonderful annual dinner meeting. Thank you to all who helped and participated.
 
At the meeting Jill volunteered to resume the position of walks leader and will call upon you to volunteer to host or lead walks. We plan to have our 2016 calendar out at the beginning of the year.
Thank you to our wonderful webmaster, Ted Shemella who was not at the meeting for me to thank personally. Our website has a lot of “hits” and visibility. We can keep this up by maintaining an interesting website. Remember to send Ted your  mycology related articles/writing, photos. As always, I encourage you to write about any MHMA event that you attend. 
 
Winter lectures:Winter is a wonderful time to focus on academics as well as experiential education. MHMA has a rich history of enriching our knowledge of fungi through combined winter meetings and lectures. Last year, in response to the interests stated by members,  the club provided the following educational events:
A  tree ID walk at Margaret-Norrie Park, as well as the following lectures:
Bill Bakaitis on the role of fungi in the ecosystem, 
Lisa Resnick and Alice Barner: macroscopic and Microscopic identification of fungi,   
Gary Lincoff. Mushrooms and Ecosystems-Connecting the Dots
Gerry McDonald- log inoculation
 
MARK YOUR CALENDARS.Our lecture/meetings this year are:
Tues 1-3-16 Bill Bakaitis, Boletes of the Northeast
Mid winter meeting/lecture TBA
Tues 3-1-16 John Michelotti, The Evolution of Mushroom Cultivation in the Northeast
MHMA Logo Contest: Attention artists-Please submit your designs to be used for  a logo for our club. The design may be used on cards, banners etc.
Volunteers needed:
1-The club is in need of an audio-visual manager- who can set up and run equipment at events as needed. Please let us know if you could fulfill this role.
2-Each of our club officers have continued to volunteer past the term of their duties and would appreciate replacements. Please think about assuming the responsibilities for membership chair, secretary, vice president and president and contact us to let us know if are interested in helping out in any of these positions.  
I continue to encourage our members to let us know about and share their expertise as well as hosting and leading  walks . Thank you to John Michelotti who will share his expertise on 3-1-16. John also hosted a walk and  assisted at the log inoculation workshop given by Gerry MacDonald in the Spring. Thank you Gerry and Carol for hosting this. Here is an attachment with Gerry’s article about the workshop. It may also be viewed on our website with workshop photos.
We would like to see more education of our youth. I encourage members to think about setting up family-oriented workshops geared toward young people (and their families)-our future. We will work on reserving the space. We have also provided education at fairs and other sites. Let us know about your events  or opportunities to educate.
 
Thank you all for your support and participation in club activities promoting education about mycology for all, Lisa

 

Post from David Horvitz

Question: Hi,

I’m forwarding this to various people (some friends and contact emails from some Myco website) to see if anyone has any thoughts.

This was written yesterday, It’s now been about 18 hours or so, and I’m not sick!

This was in the Catskills, the mountain range a few hours north of New York City.

Thanks,

David

Hi,

I am trying to make sense of this.

This morning in the catskills I found what I thought was a boletus edulis. From my research I know that there aren’t that many dangerous boletes, so I wasn’t worried if it was a closely related species. I know that the ones that are poisonous are red or stain blue, and there is the inedible bitter bolete.

I found a big one, slightly eaten by some slugs, and a small baby one.

I’ve attached a photo, though it’s not that good. I didn’t bother taking a better photo b/c I thought I had ID’d it.

I cooked it up with thyme, bacon fat, garlic, and then scrambled two eggs on top of it. I cooked it about ten minutes.

About 20 minutes after I ate it I felt a chemical feeling in my mouth, and I felt spaced out, like I was about to start tripping on a psychedelic. As I was typing an email my fingers began to feel light and a feeling of disassociation arose. No one else felt this. I never felt sick. The feeling faded away, but I still have this very very slight spaced out feeling. It’s been about 6 hours since I ate it.

If it was a toxic boletus, I assume I should have gotten sick already…

I also just discovered this lookalike online: Boletus huronensis. Which some say is edible, and some say will make you sick… It says it “slowly” stains blue. The mushroom we ate didn’t stain blue, but I don’t know if “slowly” means we should have waited some time… Though there were some missing pieces in the stalk and cap when I found it which I assume should have turned blue…. Though, some things I’ve read online say that b. huronensis doesn’t always stain blue.

I should have probably saved a piece of this mushroom, or took better photos, but I felt pretty safe about it.

Three people ate the mushroom. I was the only one who felt slightly weird right after. Another person who ate it said he felt strangely great, but he wasn’t sure if it was a kind of high, or if he was just feeling good up in the Catskills. My wife, who also ate some, said she didn’t feel anything. However, later that evening she said she felt a little weird, but thinks it was psychologically provoked when we got a little paranoid reading about the b. huronensis poisonings… This morning she said when she went to sleep she was in an “alert state and the room was animated.” We also stayed up to 1am last night without feeling tired, though the previous nights we were going to sleep around 11pm.

Other things that maybe should be considered:

We were consuming a chaga brew the past few days, could this have reacted with something in the mushroom?
We found this 20 feet up a small hill on the side of a road, but it was a road in the middle of the Catskills in the middle of nowhere, a very very rarely traveled on road…
Weed killer? Could this explain the chemically high feeling without the feeling of getting sick.
I also remember when I ate it it tasted really good. But I didn’t think it had that strong porcini taste that I know. (But it did become a medium for bacon fat…)
Any thoughts?

Thanks,

– David

Wine Making Workshop

Cynthia,

Thank you so much for a magnificent wine making workshop on June 29th. It was obviously enjoyed and appreciated by all.

You helped to simplify a multi-step art and process to teach us. It was not apparent, but obvious in retrospect, how much time and planning you did to teach us so much.  This included preparing- such as  bringing us wine at different stages to observe.  It also took a lot of work and planning to have all of the equipment there that we needed to learn wine making and bottling methods. I, for one, was glad to have the opportunity to learn about a craft that I always wanted to try- but like many things, never got through that yard sale book that I picked up about wine making.  Having someone show you things makes it that much easier to learn. That fits right in with how our club works- teaching people through hands on learning opportunities from people with more experience.

Thanks to Jill and Carol too for their assistance in the class (Carol) and for putting the time in to plan for our culinary accompaniments to the class.

Thanks again,
Lisa 

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