On April 12th, 2022 we heard a talk from Karl McKnight about the eight year journey of creating the second edition to the Peterson Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America. A labor of love, he and his daughter Kirsten McKnight Ward worked to expand and improve the first edition, authored by his parents Kent and Vera McKnight.
We were truly inspired to hear about the difficulties of both projects, taking a combined 23 years to complete. If you happen to use the new edition, you'll notice a very different approach than most guides and keys. It uses a method of mushroom identification based on key features such as size and gill color that do not require a microscope or technical vocabulary. It also restores many of Vera's original watercolor mushroom paintings, and the work of a previously unknown and extremely talented mushroom illustrator Louis Krieger.
Check out the full talk below:
Bio: Dr. Karl McKnight spent the summers of his childhood collecting mushrooms in Maryland, the Uintah Mountains of Utah, and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks. After completing a B.S. and M.S. at BYU he earned the Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He has been a teacher and scholar at St. Lawrence University since 1985, publishing on a wide variety of ecological and biodiversity concerns, including mushrooms, mosses, trees, and insects. One of his goals is to be a competent naturalist. He thinks within a decade that goal will be at least in sight.