An Introduction to the Fungi of the Forest and Farm

Fungi, a world of kingdoms, ecosystems, landscapes, underworlds, fear and joy!

On a chilly night in Freshwater Creek, 53 brave souls gathered to listen to Dr Alison Pouloit’s seminar on Fungi. 

Alison is published internationally renowned ecologist, mycologist and photographer. Those who attended were not disappointed as Alison “wowed” the audience with magnificent photographs, and detailed descriptions of fungi. Alison outlined their many roles in soil and plant health, their intricate relationships with the ecology of all living things, and the joy of foraging for the tasty ones! 

Included in the evening was a display of labelled specimens of local fungi for viewing and discussion. 

For those lucky enough to gain a place in the workshop the following morning Alison built on this wealth of knowledge with identification techniques, and discussed in more detail how fungi interact with the broader environment. To learn about the way some fungi actually provide an underground network linking trees so nutrients can be accessed and shared, was amazing.

At lunch the children from the local Steiner school called in to see the display table and then it was off to look at fungi on a farm, thanks to Andy Smith. Bellbrae Reserve was the last stop for the day, but in the end time and loss of light dragged the still engaged participants back home. Despite the dry conditions there was plenty to find and discuss. 

Many thanks must go to Lesley for organising this event, to Neil Tucker and Angair for sharing their “fungi library” and for Neil’s expert knowledge.

If you missed this year take heart as there are plans afoot to run another similar one with Alison next year. Let us know if you would like to be involved.