Formed in 2012, the University of Minnesota Mycology Club is a platform for learning, teaching and celebrating fungal biology. Their aim is to unify the diversity of fungal knowledge around the campus and community through educational lectures, hands-on workshops, outreach and forays. It is a graduate student-organized university club whose members include undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, faculty, USDA scientists, local mushroom producers, and other interested mycophiles in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
During the warmer months, they grow and sell several kinds of mushrooms (shitakes, oysters, wine caps, lion’s mane) at the local university farmer’s stand. The proceeds from the fungal garden end up funding most of the club’s activities. The club also organizes mushroom forays at nearby state parks that bring in a diverse crowd of attendees who range from ‘expert’ to ‘not sure what a mushroom is’.
During the school year, the club organizes a number of on-campus events geared towards bringing mycologists together and educating the broader community. They also host a weekly myco journal club that is typically attended by graduate students, postdocs, and faculty, and has been a great way to regularly bring together mycologists in different departments and get to know one another. The club brings in researchers to give seminar talks on campus and puts together several workshops, on topics such as log inoculations and cheese-making. And of course, it hosts happy hours and mixers that bring the myco community together.
The UMN Mycology Club does outreach in the Twin Cities areas. The club and its members have organized events at locations such as the Bell Museum of Natural History and at local farmer’s markets. Which are great opportunities for them to bring out their own specimens and engage the public in what they do! The club also has a set of nifty Fungal Flashcards that help people learn common fungi found in Minnesota.
For more information about this club check them out on facebook (University of Minnesota Mycology Club), twitter (@UMNMycology), or their website (mycology.cfans.umn.edu/about-us/).