Walking Mountains Science Center hosting 2-day mushroom extravaganza | VailDaily.com

Walking Mountains Science Center hosting 2-day mushroom extravaganza

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It's easy to take in the scenery of the Rocky Mountains when out and about in the wilderness, but often we pass over the smaller features of our dynamic environment.

Hiding underfoot nearly everywhere we go is a complex and fascinating organism that has lived on this planet for millions of years. Long before trees shaded our slopes, mushrooms occupied and enhanced Earth's changing landscapes.

Walking Mountains Science Center and mycology enthusiast Michael Heim will lead a Fungi Foray Field Day on Friday.

New Understanding

An introduction to the study of mushrooms, or mycology, is a great way to leap into harvest season. Participants will learn to identify the ideal growing conditions and habitat for local mushrooms, practice responsible foraging ethics and take home a bounty of their own if ideal conditions exits.

Not only do these ancient fungi form symbiotic relationships with countless plant species, many of them provide nutrition for humans and wildlife alike. Harvesting wild mushrooms is an activity that takes time and patience. Knowing which flowering fungi to choose and which to avoid is a skill earned through practice and training.

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Heim will also present on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for an evening of all things fungal as part of Walking Mountains' monthly Science Behind series. Attendees will learn the basics of identification and classification, delve into etymology and best harvesting practices, and explore the delicious and nutritious side of these forest floor dwellers.

Through his presentation and practical application, participants will leave with a new understanding and appreciation for magical mycelium, fantastic fungus and miraculous mushrooms.

'Pure and Honest'

Heim founded his business, Enso Farm and Forage, to unite his passions for foraging, land stewardship, farming and sharing the joy that all those things bring with his community.

"Wild food is pure and honest. I want to honor that purity. Ultimately leaving behind a legacy of good habits and a protected environment, cultivating ethical standards that become industry standards," Heim said.

The Science Behind Mushroom event on Thursday is free, with a $5 suggested donation; and cost for the Fungi Foray Field Day on Friday is $125. Participants must register separately for both events.

IF YOU GO …

Editor’s note: Participants must register separately for the field day (paid) and the Science Behind event (free).

What: Fungi Foray Field Day.

When: Friday, Aug. 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Meet at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon at 9 a.m.

Cost: $125 per person.

More information: Space is limited, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org to register.

What: The Science Behind Mushrooms.

When: Thursday, Aug. 10, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon.

Cost: Free, $5 donation suggested.

More information: Space is limited, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/sb to register.