Quadra’s fourth annual Wild Mushroom Festival looms

The fungi forays on Saturday aim to collect a broad range of specimens

Oh the glories of the coast in October, when mushroom pop up like… mushrooms, and tasty gourmet treats are free for the picking, if you know what you’re picking.

The fourth Quadra Island Wild Mushroom Festival celebrates the return of wild mushroom forest abundance and offers learning opportunities for those curious about fungi of the forest floor.

“We are delighted to welcome keynote speaker Dr. Shannon Berch and her colleague, mycologist Sharmin Gamiet, to the Quadra Island Mushroom Festival. We are privileged to have such knowledgeable and enthusiastic leaders in our exploration of Quadra’s fungal bounty” said Darcy Mitchell, one of the Festival’s organizers.

The Wild Mushroom Festival is two parts: Oct. 3 features a presentation by Dr. Shannon Berch along with wild mushroom appies in Herons at the Heriot Bay Inn. Oct. 4 and 5 are devoted to forest forays and identification workshops. It’s $25 for Friday evening, $55 for Saturday and Sunday combined.

The Quadra Island Wild Mushroom Festival begins Friday with Dr Shannon Berch’s presentation on “common edible and poisonous mushrooms of the south coast islands” and will include mushroom biology and important identification features. Shannon is a Research Scientist with the BC Ministry of Environment, adjunct professor with Royal Roads University and U.B.C., and a founding member of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society. The evening includes inspiring wild mushroom appies.

The fungi forays on Saturday aim to collect a broad range of specimens; last year during the Festival a species was discovered which was previously unknown to grow as far north as Quadra Island. On Sunday participants will see all that was collected on the various forays and learn about mushroom identification at the Introductory and/or Intermediate Identification workshops with Shannon and her colleague Sharmin Gamiet. Sharmin works with a variety of larger fungi and specializes in south coastal ecosystems and “the notoriously difficult to understand brown-spored mushrooms”.

To register for Quadra Island Wild Mushroom Festival events, call the Heriot Bay Inn at 250.285.3322. The Quadra Island Wild Mushroom Festival is sponsored by the Quadra Island Outdoor Club, Quadra Community Centre, Heriot Bay Inn, and Quadra Island Mushroom Club.