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Regional mycology club convenes in Carbondale

Locations: News Published

The Western Colorado Mycological Association (WCMA) will host its inaugural meeting in Carbondale at the Third Street Center at 7pm in the Calaway Room. The organization is a new branch of the Colorado Mycological Association, based in Denver, and focuses on educating people of all ages on all things fungi.

This meeting will act as a membership drive for the brand new 501(c)(3) nonprofit, where attendees can join the club for $30 or simply purchase a general entry ticket for $20 dollars. The three-hour event will include baked goods, mushroom drinks and a keynote presentation from Jeff Ravage, a practicing forest manager, naturalist, scientist and author. He will discuss how fungi can benefit Western Colorado’s ecosystem and the possibilities of mycelium for fire mitigation.

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“My talk will be on the concept of ‘coldfire,’ the fungal capacity to deconstruct wood and other organic compounds like fire, but without the potential dangers,” Ravage said. “I will give a good overview of our native forests, their current conditions and their projected course in the near future.”

He will also touch on other ways that fungi can benefit society, such as their effects on soil health and the benefits for humans of consuming certain edible mushrooms. After his presentation, he will have a book signing for his most recent book, “The Green Evolution.”

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Some of the benefits of becoming a member include, but are not limited to, professionally guided forays, expert talks, educational programs, networking and other community outreach events, as well as a raffle ticket and drink ticket at the first event.

WCMA’s mission statement, provided by WCMA President Hamilton Pevec, is to foster a community of individuals who share a passion for fungi and their essential place in nature, and to elevate mycology and provide resources in Western Colorado.

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“Mushrooms are having a moment in our culture right now that doesn’t seem to be going away,” said Pevec. “It’s lasted quite a few years now.”

Another goal of this new organization is to demystify edible fungi and provide knowledge to decipher which mushrooms in the wild are poisonous and which are safe for consumption or medical use.

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“We just want to build a community around mycology in the Valley and do outreach,” Pevec said. “We want to create a space for mycology to happen in Western Colorado. There aren’t other Western Colorado mushroom clubs that exist, and our statewide mushroom club only operates on the Front Range. So we’re trying to fill the gap that exists for us in the mountains.”

He elaborated that the study and interest in fungi are for everyone, including children and families, experts and amateurs. He explained that while science has identified nearly all plant life on earth, only around 2% of the fungi in the world have been identified, leaving room for stigma and misconceptions about the mutualistic lifeform that WCMA is looking to break.

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That sentiment is shared with fellow board members Gabriela Mejia and Matthew Mateo Rader of Toadstool Traditions, a local company based in Carbondale that sells edible mushrooms. Each member of the board, which also includes Jake Renner, is a longtime mycophiliac; they are often found foraging, researching and educating others on fungi.

“It feels good to branch out into other thought webs and ways we can improve our community and common spaces,” Rader told The Sopris Sun.

“We’re hoping, also, to gather the community,” Mejia continued. “Especially those that love mushrooms and are trying to get more into it. This is going to be a container for people to dive into more research and study.”

Though membership is encouraged, monthly WCMA meetings will be open to the public. According to Pevec, the organization wants everyone to feel welcome to participate. “We are taking a play from the Colorado Mycological Society and opening up our meetings to the general public so that people can just see whether or not they want to participate,” he said.

For WCMA’s website, with a meeting and events schedule and other resources, visit

Tags: #Colorado Mycological Association #event #fungi #Gabriela Mejia #Hamilton Pevec #Matt Rader #mushrooms #mycology #Toadstool Traditions #WCMA #Western Colorado Mycological Association
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