Frequently Asked Questions

The club holds mushrooms forays (and occasional walks) on or near the Cumberland Plateau in east/middle Tennessee in the summer and fall. There are no regularly scheduled "meetings." The foray schedule is usually completed in the spring of each year and is posted to the website under the “forays” tab by April or May.

 

We don’t want finances to be a hindrance if someone with limited resources wants to join, so we want to make dues as affordable as possible.  An option to include a donation with dues is provided on the registration form. Ongoing donations are what allows us to keep dues so affordable.

 

We just started experimenting with PayPal for renewals for existing members this year, and it is working well. For those joining for the first time, we still need to have a release/registration form completed and signed for our files. If someone can print off the form, fil it out, sign it, and scan (or mail) it to us, we could then provide instructions on how to submit payment by PayPal. Alternatively, a person can show up at a foray and do the paperwork and pay there, and many do that. However, they won’t get added to the email group list to receive club news and foray updates until they join. Also, joining the club Facebook page requires club membership.

 

After becoming a member of the club, login to your Facebook account. In the search bar, type, “Cumberland Mycological Society.” Click “Join.” When your request is received, you will be added to the group.

 

In the past, we have tried to help people with identification, but the volume of requests was overwhelming, so we no longer do so. There is a lot more to identifying a mushroom than simply looking at a photo, though there are some species that are very unique and pretty easy to identify. We would suggest joining one of the many Facebook identification groups. However, it’s still important to learn the techniques of identifying mushrooms, which goes way beyond what can be seen from pictures. If you are a club member and have joined the club Facebook page, you can post good quality, in focus photos of different angles of the specimens (including the underside), state where it was found (location, habitat, etc.), and any other characteristics that can’t be seen in a photo, such as texture, smell, etc. Be sure to mention you want help with identification. Sometimes people just post pictures of mushrooms but don’t state anything, so it might be assumed they are just posting them to show what they have found.

 

Consuming wild mushrooms involves risk, and the consequences can even be fatal. If one chooses to consume wild mushrooms, it is critical to become educated about them. Mushrooms identification is a fascinating subject, but can be somewhat complex and overwhelming. There are no “hard and fast rules” to tell if mushrooms are edible or not. One really needs to learn their features and learn to identify them by name, and then determine edibility. Depending on the advice of someone else, especially a stranger, to determine edibility, is also very risky. Since only limited information about a mushroom is transferred in a photo, it is really just downright dangerous to try to determine edibility in this manner. Our advice is to get to know your mushrooms and get to know them well before making decisions regarding consumption and be responsible and take ownership in your decisions.

 

While we don’t want to discourage anyone from attending forays, we also don’t want any misconceptions or misunderstandings about what we do. A lot of people start out with an interest in edibles only to find that interest blossom into other areas after learning some fascinating things about mushrooms and their ecology, resulting in more of a multi-dimensional approach. The stated purpose of the club is “To promote the study, enjoyment and exchange of information about wild mushrooms in East and Middle Tennessee.” People from all different walks of life come to forays with different interests and reasons for being there. We welcome everyone, whatever their purpose may be, but since consuming wild mushrooms contains a lot of risk, we encourage members to learn the basics of the mushrooms and their characteristics and to learn how to identify them. We also emphasize that everyone is responsible for whatever they might choose to consume, and we advise against relying solely on the recommendation of others when deciding what to consume. Mistakes can and do occur in identification, even by those with experience.  There are some mushrooms, maybe a dozen or so, that are pretty easy to recognize and that have no poisonous lookalikes. A newcomer can pick up on those pretty quickly, but to expand that knowledge base to the potential hundreds of others species out there that are edible is going to take some study and effort.

 

We have created a document on what to expect. Click HERE to download it.