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  • HMS Online Forays 2020

    Summer Online Foray: August 15 - 23, 2020 - Project Link

    Fall Online Foray: October 17 - 25, 2020 - Project Link


    One goal of this foray is to help understand the biodiversity of macrofungi present in Indiana. Learn more about what we are trying to achieve by watching the video below.


     In order to participate, follow these easy steps.

    Before Foray Week

    1. Request or Download Voucher Slips - Download and Print your collection slips. These slips ensure the basic data is collected and help you to organize your collections.

    2. Download the iNaturalist Mobile App - Both Android and IOS versions are available. Check your preferred app store for the download. If you do not have a mobile device, you can participate by utilizing the web interface to report your observations.

    3. Join the "Summer Online Foray" and/or the "Fall Online Foray" project in iNaturalist - You can join from the mobile app or now from your favorite web browser. You can join this project at any time.

    During Foray Week

    1. Create new observations of mushrooms you encounter. This can be done through the iNaturalist mobile app or web interface. With each new observation, be sure to select the project for your event and whether you collected the specimen. The mobile app uploads the photos to the reports online.
      1. Take multiple photos of the mushrooms with your cell phone or camera. Take a nice image near ground level from the side, as well as an image of the top, the stem, and the spore bearing surface (this gills or pores on the underside of the cap).
      2. If you intend to save the specimen, take an image of the field data slip with the specimen. Please review the information here for more information. 
      3. Enter the field data slip number into the "Voucher Number(s)" field in the mobile app.
    2. Collect the specimen. Store your field slip (or the portion with the number) with the specimen. Fill out your field slip completely before you dry your specimens.
    3. Back at home, dry the specimens with a dehydrator or fan. Use the duplicate number at the bottom portion of the voucher slip to organize collections as they are being dried. Once they are cracker dry (usually 1-3 days) put the voucher slip and the specimen in a Ziplock bag. Please put the iNaturalist number (in the URL of your observations) and the species name on the voucher slips. This will save us a huge amount of time once we receive the collections. 

    Drying Rack

    4. Mail in your dried specimens - Mail your specimens to Stephen Russell. These specimens qualify for the "Library Rate" since they are specimens being mailed to a herbarium. All of the best specimens that are collected as a part of this event will have their DNA "sequenced" or examined. We are likely to find multiple species that are new to science during this event. Your collections could be part of this.


    Post Foray Tissue Collection (done by foray organizers):


    Wrap-up video showing some of the most interesting species from the foray:


    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Do I have to fill out a data slip for each mushroom I see? No, only for specimens you are collecting. If you are simply taking an image of a mushroom to document it, you do not need to fill out a field data slip for it. Just take the pictures and create a report of the observation online.

    2. Do I have to collect all of the specimens I see for them to count towards my totals? Yes and no. Any specimen that you cannot readily identify should be collected. We do not need 100 collections of Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor) or Dryad's Saddle (Polyporus squamosus). If you know the mushroom is common, a picture will suffice. Just be sure to take nice, close images from several angles. No need to collect it. But many mushrooms cannot be identified from a picture alone. Also, we cannot get DNA results from pictures. Saving the specimens allows us to study them further, so please err on the side of collecting the specimens. 

    3. Should I collect a mushroom if I cannot identify it?  Yes! Unidentified mushrooms are often the most interesting ones. 

    4. What should I call the mushroom in the project if I do not know what it is? Just call it "Fungi" and someone will come along and identify it for you.

    5. What if a mushroom is large. Do I have to collect the whole thing? No, just collect a small portion, such as 1/4 of the cap. The best part to save is the top part with the gills/pores, rather than the stem.

    6. Do I need the field data slips in order to participate? No, but it is strongly encouraged. It is tough to maintain organization without them. We highly suggest you download them to help keep track of which specimen is what. Specimens change significantly as they dry, so you will likely not be able to identify the mushroom later in the process without some type of identifying number attached to it. If you do not have field data slips (or run out of them) use the iNaturalist number to keep track of your collections.

    7. What if I run out of field data slips?  You can print more data slips for the project at any time.

    8. What do I need to fill out on each field data slip? The requested minimum information to fill out is the date, your name as the collector (you can use initials), the site name, and whether or not you took field photos. The field for Foray ID is not being used for this event. The more information you are willing to save, the more valuable the report/specimen will be for science. Once your specimens are dry, please put the iNaturalist number for each collection on your voucher slips.

    9. Do I need to smell and taste each mushroom? No, but this information is important for certain groups of mushrooms. These sections of the field data slip are optional, but encouraged. Also keep in mind that taste does not equal swallow. You can taste any mushroom without fear. Just gently chew a small bit of the mushroom and let it sit on your tongue for a few seconds to see if any specific taste starts to develop. Then spit the flesh out.

    10. What are the numbers on the bottom of the field data slip for? The "Voucher Label for Drying" can be torn off and stored in your tackle box or basket with the specimen. This will allow you to keep the specimens organized with the pictures you take (be sure to take a picture of the field data slip with each specimen for the number and the scale bar on the side of the slip).  The "Tissue Label" is not something we will be using as a part of this project. Please keep it attached to the field data slip with the specimens you send in. This section will be attached to the tissue sample tube that will be used for looking at the DNA of your specimens.

    11. Do I have to upload the photos using the mobile app? You have several options to get your images/reports onto iNaturalist. 1.) You can create reports using the mobile app in the field as you go along. If you do not have cell service, the app will store the individual reports until your phone is connected. 2.) You could take pictures in the field without using the mobile app, and upload individual reports later once you are back at home. (This is often the suggested method, as you don't have to fuss with as much in the field and can spend more time enjoying nature.) Finally, 3.) You could take images with a regular camera and upload individual reports on the iNaturalist website through your computer browser.

    12. Does harvesting mushrooms hurt the environment? The short answer is no. It is misguided to think of harvesting mushrooms in the same terms as harvesting plants or other organisms. There have been multiple studies to explore this topic and none of found harvesting to have a negative impact on the mushrooms being harvested. Mushrooms are only the reproductive structure of the organism, like an apple on a tree. The main body of the organism lives under the ground or in the wood that you are harvesting the mushroom from. Walking through the woods off trail (ground compaction) is likely to have a greater impact on the environment than harvesting mushrooms. If harvesting large numbers of mushroom species had any detrimental impacts to the organism, we would be the first organization in like to discourage large-scale collecting. 


    Prizes: We will have a prize pool. The order that the winner for each category gets to pick their prize can be found below. Each individual collector can win up to 2 categories. The winner of a category will go to the next person in the case an individual wins more than two.

    Top Prize - Top Hunter: Most species collected/saved during the week
    Selection 1

    Big Day: Most species collected/saved on a single day
    Selection 2

    Rarest Mushroom
    Selection 11

    Best Photograph
    Selection 12

    Largest Edible Haul
    Selection 3

    Bonus Prize: Beat Steve's 2017 Big Day (211 specimens saved. No single species more than twice)
    $100 Amazon Gift Card


    Daily Prizes: Most species collected/saved for the day

    Monday: Selection 6
    Tuesday: Selection 7
    Wednesday: Selection 8
    Thursday: Selection 9
    Friday: Selection 10
    Saturday: Selection 4
    Sunday: Selection 5

    Fine Print for Prizes:

    All macrofungi count towards species totals. This includes any fungus that has a fruiting body that you can see with the naked eye.

    Slime molds count towards species totals. Lichens do not. 

    Only mushrooms found within Indiana are eligible. You do not have to be from Indiana to participate.

    For all prizes, a species can only be added to your total if you have photographs of the specimen fresh and you save and dry the physical collection. Our goal here is to not only see interesting mushrooms, but to allow this event to have long-lasting scientific value. This can only be done if specimens are saved. This requires organization, but if you follow our suggested protocols above, it should be a fairly easy process for you. You do not need to collect common species (Turkey Tails, False Turkey Tails, Purple-toothed fungus, etc) for them to count towards your totals.

    For the daily winners, individuals can win more than one prize, but an individual species will only be counted once per county for the duration of the event. Example: If you win on Monday collecting in Marion County, you could still win other prizes throughout the week, but you would have to make collections in a different county. Any species you found in Marion County could not be used again towards your totals for the rest of the week, even if it is from a different location in the same county.

    Rarest Mushroom and Best Photograph prizes will be determined by Stephen Russell, at his sole discretion.

    The largest edible haul will be judged by total weight of all specimens of a single edible species. You must provide evidence to support your claim. Only mushrooms harvested during the event week are eligible. You must create iNaturalist records for each find, but you can keep your geolocation turned off for edible species. Just fill in county-level location data.

    Prizes will only be awarded once dried specimens are received at the following address.

    Stephen Russell
    3912 S. Carey St.
    Marion, IN 46953

About Us

The mission of the Hoosier Mushroom Society is to promote the science of mycology and the study of fungi.