I just returned from the NAMA (North American Mycological Association) 2013 foray held at Shepherd of the Ozarks conference center in the Arkansas Ozarks, near the confluence of the Buffalo and White rivers. We arrived on Thursday and on Sunday drove through back to Knoxville (Asheville, NC for my traveling companions). It was a long drive but well worth the 1300-mile round trip. We stayed in one separate section of the center. The photo below is the main lodge. Top floor was dining; 2nd floor rooms; 1st floor an auditorium and area for species identification and display. I also made a 360 degree video standing in front of the lodge. Lodge video
Many of the attendees, myself included, stayed on the other side of the creek in one of several lodges accessed by a pedestrian bridge River video (I’ll work on how to rotate the video. Made with my iPhone). I was on the ground floor of the Wilderness Lodge pictured below. The evening social time(s) happened on the top floor.
The structure was generally that you had a choice of a guided foray or attending presentations each morning and afternoon. I managed to get signed up for a foray each morning and afternoon and then attended presentations in the afternoon. Before dinner you could walk around and view the collections. Mycologists worked pretty much around the clock identifying and logging in (vouchers) collections from the forays. Below are two interesting ones my foray partner, Paul Hoppe, and I collected.
Leptoporus mollis – Paul collected this one from a dead shortleaf pine, the bark peeled off, and showed it to me. I felt its spongy texture and blew it off as a Fometopsis cajanderi which grows like a weed on dead pines in my area. Fortunately, Paul collected it, and this was the only collection of L. mollis during the weekend. It was presented as one of Saturday’s best finds during the evening group sessions. Once again, I was humbly reminded that “familiarity breeds contempt”. I will not blithely pass by small pink polypores again!! Lesson learned.
Mycena epipterygia – These cuties were growing loosely on a decaying white oak branch among fallen leaves on the bank of our trail. It was my first known collection of this species. Key features are the yellow stipe and a cucumber smell.
There were a variety of presentations in the evening that were quite educational as well humorous at times. They ranged from the ecological divisions and geologic/vegetation features of northern Arkansas to new DNA-based taxonomy and nomenclature. All this was followed by a social hour(s) that lasted until after I went to bed.
My highlights were finally meeting and getting to know people who I have only known through the literature or correspondence; experiencing an area I love (Ellen and I spent a week fly fishing the White River several years ago); new mushrooms; and Britt’s homemade feta and bleu cheeses.
I may not get to the Puget Sound area for next year’s NAMA foray, but I will try to make Wisconsin in 2015. Ellen will go with me and we’ll make a long touring trip out of it.