Show offers the dirt on mushrooms

Learn about local mushrooms Sunday at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary

The return of the fall rains heralds the return of a variety of fall mushrooms growing not only in the forest but in fields, yards and parks throughout the region. Those curious about these mysterious annual visitors are able to see and learn about hundreds of species in the region at the annual South Vancouver Island Mycological Society Mushroom Show on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

Over 200 labelled mushroom species will be on display and mycologists will be in attendance to discuss what makes mushrooms do the things they do. Members of the association spend the days before the show collecting specimens from throughout the region to showcase the broad range of what grows on the South Island.

“The event is just one in a series of mushroom courses hosted. They provide a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge and to foster understanding and appreciation of nature through direct experiences inspiring personal action in an urban nature sanctuary that brings people and nature together,” said Swan Lake executive director Kathleen Burton.

Each year the variety of mushrooms on display changes as temperature and rainfall in the previous spring and summer affect when a mushroom decides to appear. Each year a few rarely seen species are on display.

“Participants are encouraged to bring in their own mushrooms from their yards for identification,” said program manager Renée Cenerini. “The community is welcome to drop in at any time during the event to take advantage of the firsthand knowledge and expertise available to them.”

Club members will be cooking freshly picked wild mushrooms, including chanterelles and pine mushrooms, for visitors to taste.

The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is located at 3873 Swan Lake Rd. Admission to the SVIMS Swan Lake Mushroom Show is by donation.