The Oregon Mycological Society is an educational and scientific organization. Its mission is to study, collect, and identify fungi, to educate members and the public in fungi identification, and to promote health and safety in the gathering and consumption of fungi. The Society is organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Membership is open to anyone who is interested in mycology (the branch of science dealing with the study of fungi). OMS offers activities and educational opportunities for its members.
OMS holds member-only field trips in the fall and spring to educate participants about macrofungi identification and ecological habitats (as opposed to specific sites). Conducted by volunteers from within the OMS, trips are subject to weather and fruiting conditions. We usually limit field trip size in order to minimize environmental impact, expedite organization, and avoid overcrowding. Most field trips are held on weekends, but occasional weekday trips are available. Field trip leaders generally arrange a meeting location, gather the group for preliminary instructions, and suggest locations for participants to search for mushrooms. At a pre-arranged time, participants convene to identify the mushrooms they find. Participants are responsible for their own safety during the hunt and for any mushrooms they choose to consume.
Each year, the society hosts two mycology camps; one in the fall on the Oregon Coast, and the other in the spring in the Cascades. Camps have been held at locations offering comfortable indoor summer-camp style accommodations, group meals, and roomy facilities. We try to keep the costs affordable for individuals and families. Fruiting conditions vary from year to year, but we can guarantee fun, learning opportunities and camaraderie at the fall and spring mycology camps.
OMS meetings feature guest lectures by mycologists, researchers, chefs and workshop leaders on a variety of mushroom-related topics.
Meetings are generally held the second Monday of every month except July and December, in the Forest Discovery Center, Cheatham Hall, 4033 SW Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon. Cheatham Hall is across the street from Washington Park Station on the MAX Red Line, near the Zoo. There is a identification session starting at 6:30 pm, followed by OMS business, and then the guest presentation starting at 7:30 pm.
Beginners and experienced mushroomers alike can benefit from the identification session held prior to each monthly meeting (6:30 pm). Experienced members help identify mushrooms brought in by participants.
In a good season, the OMS Fall Mushroom Show features specimens of over 200 species of mushrooms. These mushrooms are carefully picked, identified and beautifully arranged for an amazed public at the World Forestry Center.
Held usually on the third Sunday of October, this colorful event also showcases mushroom cookery and preservation, toxic mushroom information, books for sale, demonstrations of mushroom dyeing, and much more. OMS members start putting the show together at 5:30 a.m., and open the doors to the public at noon.
The Society usually offers a Beginning Mushroom Identification class in the Fall, and an Intermediate Mushroom Identification class in the spring. These are member-only events. They are popular and usually oversubscribed.
They are hands-on and practical, rather than academic, and generally include about 4 sessions of 2 hours each. They occur generally on weekday nights. The presentation and curriculum varies. They use slide presentations and handouts based on the slides. The intermediate class also often uses the Scates Easy Key to Common Gilled Mushrooms. They sometimes incorporate a weekend field trip.
The Society has other occasional workshops on topics like mushroom cultivation, mushroom identification, and microscopy.
OMS has special interest groups and committees dedicated to subject areas including cultivation, toxicology, microscopy, and cookery. These groups and committees hold their own meetings and activities, and are open to all OMS members.
As with any active organization, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes. Members who enjoy getting involved and want to deepen their understanding and appreciation of fungi (and fellow OMS members!) can find many ways to participate or apply specialized skills. If you have a good idea, interest or skill, there will be an opportunity to use it in OMS.