MSU is an all-volunteer organization that seeks to provide opportunities for pleasure, recreation and socializing for those in our community interested in mushrooms.
MSU meets on the first weekend of the month June-August for forays in small groups led by volunteers. The purpose of a foray can be to hunt for edibles, collect for scientific study, or enjoy the beauty and diversity of fungi.
MSU also meets at the end of summer for an annual multi-day gathering called the Fall Foray. This event usually includes workshops, lectures, contests, forays, camping, dutch oven cooking, and help with identification.
Year long events include talks, workshops, potlucks and art activities. Beginners are welcome at all MSU events.
Starting in 2021, MSU began hosting the Northern Utah Funga project. The goal of this project is to contribute high quality mushroom observations to the iNaturalist database and to describe the fungi of Northern Utah, including rare, potentially threatened, and under-documented species. NUF plans to maintain a collection of northern Utah fungi for use in DNA sequencing, vouching specimens in curated fungaria, and lead mycology and citizen science education in northern Utah.
The Mushroom Society of Utah was founded in 1993 by Ardean Watts and several charter members who shared an interest in mycology (the study of fungi). The first ever MSU foray took place at Fish Lake in conjunction with the Utah Native Plant Society. KUER's RadioWest made a short video of Ardean mushroom hunting in 2015. Check it out below.
Ashley Simon, President
Ashley got involved with the Mushroom Society of Utah in 2017 after finding a mysterious mushroom in her lawn. This expanded into learning mushroom identification and moderating online discussion groups on the topic. Since then, she has served as a general board member and as the current president of MSU. She holds a Master's degree in Middle East Studies and Linguistics, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Her interests include leading forays, understanding fungi as part of a larger ecology, community science and conservation. She is also an avid orchid collector and a retired bee keeper.
Jesse West, Vice President
Jesse was born and raised in East Tennessee. He grew up enjoying nature and began taking an interest in fungi after moving to Knoxville. After graduating from college, Jesse started working as an advocate for the hemp industry and other natural resources. Jesse moved to Utah in 2022 and attended the MSU foray. He enjoyed connecting with the community and is happy to help be a voice for mushrooms.
Chandler Rosenberg, Secretary
Chandler was born and raised in Holladay, UT and holds a BA in Public Policy from the University of Virginia. She is the managing director of Plant Based Utah and an organizer with Save Our Great Salt Lake and the Utah Food Coalition. She got involved with MSU in 2021 and although new to fungi, she is passionate about planetary regeneration and repairing our relationship with the land and is excited to learn more about how fungi can play a role in this process.
Aimée Nguyễn (she/her), General Board Member
Aimée’s journey in fungi began with an interest in foraging, but unable to satiate her curiosities with only learning about a select few mushrooms, this quickly evolved into a passion for studying and appreciating fungi in all aspects. From the knowledge she gained through her reading and field observations, she created an afterschool Intro to Mycology course at the school where she teaches 8th grade Language Arts. In creating the curriculum, she was challenged with the fact that the field of study is not readily accessible and decided to expand her teachings by joining the MSU board. She holds undergraduate degrees in Biotechnology and English with a creative writing emphasis and minor in TESOL, as well as a masters degree in The Art of Teaching.
Adam Luker, Past President
Adam is a lifelong Utah resident who discovered MSU while trying to find information about the five species of mushroom growing in his front yard. He took his (at the time) homeschooling family into the Uintas for an MSU foray the next weekend, and was immediately hooked on the science and wonder of these underappreciated organisms. Always eager to learn new things, Adam doesn't always find time for being as active a mushroom-hunter as he'd like (he's also a business owner, author, technology guru, teacher, woodworker, naturalist, father of five, devout Christian, and many other roles) but he always thoroughly enjoys it. He took over the MSU presidency at the request of founder Ardean Watts and could not be more pleased with the leadership team that has succeeded him.