Members Get Up-close Look at Fungi Kingdom
Land Trust members absorb information during popular tour
Fungi are fascinating, but they can be kind of sneaky too.
Kyle Ostermick-Durkee, our stewardship specialist, discovered that when he led a group of Land Trust members down a wooded trail on North Whidbey Island recently. Kyle was just wrapping up his talk about fungi when he noticed a pair of mushrooms barely popping out of the forest floor at the edge of the trail. He hadn’t see them the first time the group passed that section of trail.
“Oh, yeah!” Kyle said, holding up a matsutake mushroom, prized in Asian cuisine for its spicy aromatic qualities. “We have to show the others. These are the find of the day!” Before long nearly all 17 members who came out that late October morning got a whiff of the mushroom’s spicy scent.
The Land Trust offers more than a dozen guided tours to members each year, usually on or near properties you’ve helped protect. The fungi tour is always one of the most popular.
This year, members were eager to learn about the important roles fungi play in the forest ecosystem.
They saw evidence how fungi break down organic material. They listened to Kyle explain how fungi help other plants absorb nutrients from the soil. Kyle also taught identifying features of mushrooms, where to find them, and other fungal facts.
By the end of the two-hour tour, the group had encountered at least a dozen different types of mushrooms, ranging from shaggy manes to chanterelles. But they saved the best for last.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever found a matsutake,” Kyle exclaimed.