Jump to content
  • 2024 Morel & Wild Mushroom Courses 

    Morels and Food Safety - January 20, 2024 - 1pm - 5pm - REGISTER
    Wild Mushrooms - January 27, 2024 - 9am - 5pm - REGISTER

    This will be our tenth year offering wild mushroom courses. These courses provide a way for individuals, chefs, restaurant owners, and others to get the training necessary to correctly identify the most common species of edible mushrooms in the State of Indiana. Prior to this course residents of Indiana did not have a way to comply with the state law requiring all mushrooms being sold commercially to be "individually inspected by a mushroom identification expert." We have worked with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Purdue Extension in order to get the ability to offer certifications that will be accepted by the State of Indiana. For a typical course, only about half of the participants have an interest in selling mushrooms. The other half take the course purely for educational purposes.

    During the pandemic, we moved to online trainings. The format worked fairly well for the material we needed to cover. We will be holding our morel and wild mushroom trainings online this year.

    All aspects of the course will remain the same for the online format. The wild mushroom course will take place from 9am to 5pm. The Saturday morning of the course, you will receive a link and passcode to the Zoom meeting to the email you register with. We will begin with introductions, spend an hour on food safety, spend 1-2 hours on morels, and conclude with a test. The test will be emailed out to participants after the course is complete. By finishing and returning the test, you will have completed the requirements for the course, and we will issue the requisite recommendation to become a morel mushroom identification expert for Indiana. (The summer wild mushroom course online, the exam will be required to be taken at a local testing center.)

    Digital copies of course materials will be emailed once you register for the course.

    Before Saturday, please go to the link below to join a test meeting, to ensure your camera and microphone are properly configured: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115002262083-Joining-a-test-meeting

    At the conclusion of the course, participants will be given a letter providing one of the two references that are needed to be certified to sell wild mushrooms in Indiana. (See FAQ below for additional details on the second reference.) In order to register with ISDH, you will need two references and food safety training to finalize the application. The ISDH Wild Mushroom Expert application is available online here. The morel mushroom course we offer in the spring includes a food safety component that meets these requirements. ServSafe training is another option. It is possible to take the wild mushroom course now and to take the food safety training at a later date.

    The morel mushroom course is typically 4 hours long. Registration will open at 12:30 am and the course will start at 1:00 pm.

    The wild mushroom course is typically 7-8 hours long. Registration will open at 8:30 am and the course will start at 9:00 am. 


    What changes are there for 2024?

    Nothing substantial. The last major changes to the course took place in 2018. A few things to keep in mind. FOR THE WILD MUSHROOM COURSE: Shortly after registering, participants of this course will receive a digital packet of course materials via email. This packet will contain all of the information that is required in order to pass the certification exam. You will not be able to use notes for the certification exam and the exam will be comprehensive of the course materials. It will be very difficult to pass the exam unless you have studied extensively leading up to the course. For each mushroom covered, you will be required to know the scientific name, common name, key identifying characters (gills/pores, spore color, etc), seasonality, and ecological information for all of the edible species we cover, as well as their lookalikes. You will also be required to understand the regulations on mushroom hunting in Indiana. 

    The exam for the morel course is not formally graded. You will pass the course by attending the course.

    You are not required to take the exam if you are taking the course for educational purposes.

    You will not be issued a letter of reference or a refund if you do not pass the exam. If you do not pass, you will be allowed additional attempts at a local testing center.


    What changes were there for 2017? A second letter of reference. 

    All individuals wishing to be recognized as a mushroom identification expert from the ISDH will need to submit a reference letter, from an additional qualified party, in order to be certified for wild mushrooms other than morels. A copy of the application form with the requirements from the ISDH is now available online. This second reference needs to verify that you can identify the species described in the course. These two references will be required in order for the certification application to be considered complete. This certification course counts as one reference.  You may still take this course even if you do not have a second reference. 

    Acceptable references include one of the following:

    1.) A letter in recognition of long term practical or work; experience detailing knowledge and familiarity with wild mushrooms for review and consideration

    2.) A written recommendation from someone who is a mycologist, or who has extensive study in the field of fungi identification, usually a PhD or masters level, or the applicant may provide similar proof of education and experience to the ISDH for review and consideration

    3.) A written recommendation from an individual who has received a certification from a national mushroom organization, such as the North American Mycological Society

    4.) Proof of attendance and successful completion of an equivalent wild mushroom identification course provided by a state regulatory program or accrediting body.

    If you bring your second letter of reference to the course, we will submit it to the IN State Dept. of Health if you pass the test at the conclusion of the course.


    What types of courses will be held?

    There are two different courses being offered - morels and wild edible mushrooms. The morel course will cover all the species of morel mushrooms and include a food handling component. The second course will cover additional wild mushrooms that can be certified in the state, including:

    Chicken of the Woods – Laetiporus sulphureus & L. cincinnatus (with caution)
    Dryad’s Saddle – Polyporus squamosus
    Hen of the Woods – Maitake – Grifola frondosa 
         Lookalikes: Polyporus umbellatus, Bondarzewia berkeleyii, Meripilus sumstinei
    Lion’s Mane - Hericium erinaceus, H. coralloides, H. americanus
         Lookalikes – Coral mushrooms, Artomyces pyxidatus
    Puffballs – Calvatia spp., Lycoperdon spp.
         Lookalikes – Earthballs, Stinkhorns, & Amanita eggs
    Cauliflower Mushrooms – Sparassis spathulata, S. crispa
    Chanterelles – Cantharellus lateritius group, C. cibarius group (No others)
         Poisonous lookalikes – Jack ‘O Lanterns – Omphalotus illudens, Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca
    Black Trumpets – Craterellus spp.
    Aborted Entoloma – Entoloma abortivum
    Oysters – Pleurotus ostreatus & P. pulmonarius
         Lookalikes – Crepidotus spp. Hypsizygus ulmarius; Lentinus levis; Lentinus ursinus, others

    and lookalikes to all of the species above.

    Where will these courses be held?

    The morel and wild mushroom certification courses will be held online. The locations will be:

    January 20, 2024 - Online - Register

    January 27, 2024 - Online - Register


    Is registration limited?

    Yes, and these courses typically sell out. Payment will be required at the time of registration in order to reserve your spot. We will only allow on-site registrations if there are spaces available. We will not offer refunds for this course, but we will offer the opportunity for individuals to adjust the date of the course they attend.


    How much will these certification courses cost?

    The Morel Mushroom Certification course will be $75. The Wild Mushroom Certification course will be $125.


    Why should I get certified?

    One of the reasons wild mushrooms are rarely foraged and sold commercially around the state is a lack of confidence in the system. Many buyers (restaurants and groceries) do not have the ability to properly assess whether the mushrooms someone brings in was identified correctly. A certification program for Indiana will allow a trusted marketplace for mushrooms to develop in Indiana.

    Becoming certified will allow you to legally sell wild mushrooms within the state of Indiana, certifying them yourself, without having to take them to another mushroom identification expert.


    Are there any experience requirements for attending the course?

    Our courses are designed to allow people from all experience levels to become certified. There are no prior experiential requirements. The course will cover all of the necessary components for any individual to become comfortable with the specific mushrooms the course is for. However, you may not use any notes with the exam, and you must score an 80% or better to pass the test. This will be very difficult if you have not extensively studied the primary edible species in the course, as well as the closest poisonous and non-poisonous lookalikes to the edible species. It will be very difficult for individuals who have not studied the materials in the lead-up to the course to pass the final test.

    You must attend a food safety training before you can become certified for any mushrooms, other than morels. The morel course includes a component on food handling that will be required before you can be certified on any of the other species. A food handling certification is an acceptable alternative to the morel course.


    What should I expect from the course?

    Each course will cover all of the aspects that are necessary for proper identification for the specific mushrooms the course is about. Each participant will receive a study guide that contains all of the slides, as well as additional information on the topics being presented.

    There will be a test at the end of the course to test your knowledge on the topic. There will be the opportunity to retest as needed.

    At the end of the course you will receive a wallet card stating that you are a certified expert and what mushrooms you are certified for. Your name will optionally be put into a publicly accessible database of individuals who are certified to sell wild mushrooms in the state.

    Can you tell me more about the test?

    The test will be around 50 questions. It will be a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and identification of pictures and fresh/dried specimens. You will need to score 80% on the exam in order to pass. You will need to know the scientific name, common name, key identifying characters (gills/pores, spore color, etc), seasonality, and ecological information for all of the edible species we cover, as well as their lookalikes.


    Who is the certification from?

    The certification of this course is from the Hoosier Mushroom Society. The Indiana State Department of Health and county health departments will honor this certification as a basis for fulfilling the requirement of mushrooms needing to be certified by a "mushroom identification expert" before they can be sold.


    Does this course allow me to become an expert on all mushrooms?

    No. Indiana has probably 3000-4000 different species of mushrooms. You will not be able to take this course and be able to identify every mushroom in the woods. This course has a very specific list of species that it is focused on. These include the best edible mushrooms, with the most characters to allow for an accurate identification. These species represent the list that have been approved for sale in the State of Indiana and that the Hoosier Mushroom Society is willing to certify people for. You will only be certified for the species listed, not all wild mushrooms.

    This course offers the base amount of knowledge that is necessary to correctly identify a very limited number of species.


    How long will the certification be valid for?

    This certification will be good for 3 years from the Hoosier Mushroom Society. Once you are certified, there is not currently an expiration from the ISDH. 


    Are there age restrictions on the course?

    Yes, individuals must be 16 years or older to attend.


    I live outside of Indiana. Can I register for this course?

    Yes, this program is open to individuals from outside of the state. As we are not familiar with all regulations in surrounding states, you need to speak with your state health department to ensure they will honor certifications from outside of your home state.


    I am not interested in selling mushrooms. Can I attend solely for educational purposes?

    Yes, and it is very much encouraged. One of the reasons we put this course together is to increase the overall level of education about mushrooms in the State of Indiana.


    I have additional questions. Who should I contact?

    Please contact Steve Russell of the Hoosier Mushroom Society by email at steve@hoosiermushrooms or by phone at 765-532-4227 after 5pm.


    Full list of species covered with lookalikes:

    Oysters – Pleurotus ostreatus & Pleurotus pulmonarius
    Lookalikes - Pleurotus dryinus; Lentinus levis; Hypsizygus ulmarius; Phyllotopsis nidulans; Pleurocybella porrigens; Crepidotus spp.; Hohenbuehelia spp.; Lentinellus spp.; Panus spp.
    Chicken of the Woods – Laetiporus sulphureus & L. cincinnatus (with caution)
         Lookalikes - Hapalopilus rutilans; Hapalopilus croceus; Trametes (Pyconoporus) cinnabarinus; Pseudoinonotus dryadeus; Dryad's Saddle - Cerioporus (Polyporus) squamosus
    Hen of the Woods – Maitake – Grifola frondosa
         Lookalikes - Meripilus sumstinei; Bondarzewia berkeleyi
    Umbrella Polypore - Polyporus umbellatus
    Chanterelles – Cantharellus lateritius, Cantharellus cibarius group (No others)
         Lookalikes - Omphalotus illudens; Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca
    Cauliflower Mushrooms - Sparassis crispa, Sparassis spathulata
    Lookalikes - Sebacina (Tremellodendron) pallida; Hydnopolyporus sp.; Podoscypha aculeata
    Lion’s Mane – Hericium erinaceus, Hericium coralloides, Hericium americanus
         Lookalikes - Coral fungi; Artomyces pyxidatus
    Black Trumpets – Craterellus spp.
         Lookalikes - Urnula craterium
    Puffballs – Calvatia gigantea, Lycoperdon pyriforme, etc.
         Lookalikes - Scleroderma spp.; Amanita eggs; Stinkhorn egg

    Deadly Poisonous species: Amanita bisporigera group; Galerina marginata

  • Create New...