About Us

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 also has the following goals: 

1. Provide education and mentoring

2. Foster community and social interaction

3. Culinary applications

4. Awareness and aesthetic appreciation

5. Scientific contribution

 

Activities 

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.

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.

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History

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.

Our Board

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.

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Gabriela D’Elia, Vice President

Gabriela was born and raised in the mountains of Utah. Gabriela is Director of Fungal Diversity Survey (FunDiS), North America's nonprofit for fungal biodiversity and conservation, Vice President for Mushroom Society of Utah, and Project Leader for Northern Utah Funga FunDiS local project. She holds a B.A. in fungal ecology and has taught classes on macrofungi, fungal ecology, cultivation, mushroom medicine, and aspects of fungal philosophy. She is interested in how mycophiles can impact how fungi are understood and protected through community science organization. She also finds value in exploring fungi through observation, imagination, and symbolism.

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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. 

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Cole Hughes, General Board Member

Cole was born a naturalist in beautiful Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Fascinated with nature from a young age, he attended St. Lawrence University in New York State where he double majored in Environmental Studies and Biology. It was during this period of his life that Dr. Karl McKnight, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America 2nd ed., introduced him to the world of fungi, and changed his life forever. Cole then joined MSU when he moved to Utah in 2019. He now works as a Field Ecologist for the National Ecological Observatory Network, a project of the National Science Foundation.

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Jaycie Thompson, General Board Member

Jaycie got involved with the Mushroom Society of Utah in 2021 after developing an interest in foraging. Since then, she has served as a general board member. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Her interests in the fungi realm include foraging, medicine, conservation and art.

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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.

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