Point Reyes Mushroom Identification

Point Reyes Field Institute

Point Reyes Mushroom Identification

Sunday, Jan. 5th, 10am-4pm

For more information, visit the event page on Eventbrite.

Class Summary

Come explore the mysterious and fascinating world of wild mushrooms. Learn the basics we need to begin identifying wild fungi; including terminology, collecting techniques, spore prints, ID keys, and much more. We’ll begin with a classroom talk about basic understanding of mushroom characteristics for genus and species identification. After lunch, we’ll take a foray into the nearby woods to hunt some currently fruiting fungi. In addition to our primary focus on learning about edible and poisonous species, we’ll also address vital roles that mushrooms play in the planet’s ecosystem, and touch on their applications for medicine, paper making and colorful dyeing. A fresh wild mushroom specimen display will be provided by the instructor. Students may also bring in specimens for identification and discussion. Students are encouraged to bring their copies of David Arora’s Mushrooms Demystified and/or All That the Rain Promises, And More as reference texts, which can be purchased at the Point Reyes Visitor Bookstore. Also open to youth (age 15-17) with parent attendance.

We will meet in the Red Barn Classroom (directions on following page). Class will begin promptly at 10:00 AM. We will start with a session on basic mushroom identification, have lunch, and then take a foray into the park to look for and collect mushrooms (in accordance with the legal limit.) Our day will end at around 4:00 pm. If it is too rainy to venture outside or has not been rainy enough to find many mushrooms, David will present an edible and poisonous mushroom slide show and offer other activities. There is never an end to what we can learn about mushrooms!


• A bag lunch, snacks, beverage and water for the day (we provide coffee and tea.)

• Comfortable walking shoes

• Warm, comfortable, variable weather clothing, including raingear, windbreaker, hat, scarf and gloves.

• Basket and wax bags for collecting mushrooms

• Pocket knife

• Handlens 10X (optional)

• Any mushroom field guides you may have. Recommended: All the Rain Promises and More and Mushrooms Demystified, both by David Arora. We will discuss using the identification keys in Mushrooms Demystified. If you do not own a copy, perhaps you could borrow one for the class.

• Camera gear (optional)

Students are encouraged to bring in specimens for identification and discussion. When collecting specimens, be sure to get the entire stalk if possible and take notes about where it was found, including plants and trees in the area. Wax bags work well for holding mushrooms. Keep specimens separate.


DAVID CAMPBELL has been collecting, studying, eating, teaching and writing about wild mushrooms for over 40 years. He served more than a decade on council for the Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF), including 2 terms as president. Primarily focused on edible and poisonous mushrooms, he leads numerous fungal forays for MSSF and the Sonoma Mycological Association (SOMA). David is active with the San Francisco Poison Control Center for mushroom poisoning incident response in the greater Bay Area. He served as foray leader and event facilitator for several years at author David Arora’s annual mycological field seminars. An expert mycophagist (one who safely eats a wide variety of wild mushrooms) and experienced outdoor group foray leader, David Campbell is Foray Director for Wild About Mushrooms Company, guiding organized wild mushroom adventures, locally and afar. He also has his own company, MycoVentures, expanding his horizons to include ever further reaches; including fungal forays to Oregon and the Colorado Rockies, and truffle tours in Italy…