From tasty meals to myco-remediation …
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Fungi fanatics are calling it one of the best seasons in recent memory, as steady summer rains spurred a bumper crop of stinky squid, shaggy ink cap and purple slime mushrooms, not to mention delectables like porcini and chanterelles.
This past weekend, a handful of Colorado towns held festivals to celebrate mushrooms in all their diverse glory — if we’re all connected intellectually via the electronic web, then we’re probably also connected biologically, and fungi are one of the key threads that holds the web of life together.
In Telluride, amidst the good-natured fun of mushroom-themed parades and cook-fests, scientists discussed the latest research on myco-remediation. There’s promise that known — along with as-yet unstudied species — that fungi could help with a wide range of environmental and human health issues.
The mushroom festival maintained a lively social media feed on Twitter, sharing images like this:
In some situations, fungi could help clean up lead contamination, and Forest Service scientists are trying to improve restoration of dwindling whitebark pine forests with fungal applications.
In Scandinavia, forest researchers have discovered that fungi play a greater role in the carbon cycle than previously understood, and there are also concerns that a warmer and wetter future world could spur the growth of forest-killing fungi.
Over the years, we’ve also taken quite a few photos of mushrooms in the forests of Colorado and included them in our morning photo sets:
- Morning photo: Brilliant fungi
- Morning photo: Fungi revisited
- Morning photo: Notes from the underground
- Morning photo: Ode to chanterelles
- Morning photo: Mushroom-mania …
- Morning photo: Just a few more mushrooms
- Morning photo: Monday mushroom
- Morning photo: Summit mushrooms are popping!
- Morning photo: Forest finds
- Morning photo: Forest friends
- Morning photo: A few more fungi
And a couple of years ago, local videographer Jenney Coberly created this awesone video of a short mushroom foray in Summit County:
And this link should lead you to a pretty good archive of Summit Voice mushroom stories: Colorado’s fabulous fungi.