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Archive of Past MST Meetings

Meetings for 2022-2023

Speaker Series: Tuesday, May 17, 2022 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Kathy Vatcher

Presentation: The Tip of the Iceberg - Discoveries in the world of mycology and its important role in our past, present and future

Kathy Vatcher, an accomplished visual artist and educator, lives in Toronto but escapes the city as often as possible to hunt for wild mushrooms. She’s been studying them since joining the Mycological Society of Toronto a decade ago, though her interest began 35 years earlier. A frequent foray leader, she’s helped identify hundreds of species collected on dozens of forays and Bioblitzes. Yet she’s always eager to learn more from both mushroom experts and gifted amateurs. She’s taught mushroom identification at the Mycological Society of Toronto, The Kortright Centre for Conservation, Rouge National Park and for private corporations.

Mushrooms also pop up in her art. During the pandemic, she began creating unique decorative plates, many featuring fungi, that may be viewed at Tectonic Plates on Facebook. She also paints mushrooms, landscapes and portraits of pets and people. And recently she wrote Beatrix Potter Tells Her Tale, a play inspired by Potter’s challenges and contributions to mycology that she hopes to present in the future.

“The study of mycology has something for everyone. Anyone interested in the future of our planet should have an interest in mushrooms.” – Kathy Vatcher


Speaker Series: Tuesday, October 18, 2022 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Loni Jean Ronnebaum (from Fungi Perfecti)

Presentation: BeeMushroomed, how Fungi can help give bees a chance

Paul Stamets and Fungi Perfecti, makers of Host Defense, have teamed up with Washington State University to study the effects of fungal extracts on bees. Together our efforts have raised over 5 million towards this important cause! We will discuss our past research, future plans and what, as individuals, we can do to give bees a chance.

Loni Jean Ronnebaum aka Ronnebaumanita loniscaria has long been passionate about fungi. She graduated from the Evergreen State College in 2009 with a BS in Mycology and Natural Sciences. In early 2010 she began working in the offices for Fungi Perfecti, presenting at many events around the great PNW. Loni enjoys playing Ukulele as well as drums for the band Inoculated Minds and photographing #googlyeyefungi in her free time. https://fungi.com/blogs/articles/meet-loni


Speaker Series: Tuesday, November 15, 2022 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Diane Borsato

Presentation: Mushrooming: The Joy of the Quiet Hunt

Diane Borsato’s new book is a lavishly illustrated guide that explores the fascinating, the delicious, the deadly and the strange world of fungi from the forest to the field to the market - and how mushrooming can radically expand our perspectives, connect us to nature, and quietly enrich our lives.

Borsato will discuss several examples of fungi in contemporary art - and how artists use mushrooms to explore the unexpected wilderness of cities, what happens to our bodies after we die, and new ways for us to perceive the world and ourselves.

Mushrooming: The Joy of the Quiet Hunt, Diane Borsato, illustrated by Kelsey Oseid, 2022 Find the book anywhere books are sold in September 2022 in Canada. The book will be released in March 2023 in the US.

Diane Borsato completed an MFA at Concordia in Montreal, and an MA in Performance Studies at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is an award-winning artist, educator and amateur mycologist and beekeeper - who works closely with other artists and amateur naturalists. She has performed and exhibited in Canada and internationally at venues including the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Power Plant, the AGYU, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Walter Philips Gallery at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Art Centre Fogo Island Arts, the Creative Time Summit, and at the Toronto Biennial of Art. She has been twice nominated for the Sobey Art Award, and she won the prestigious Victor Martin-Lynch Staunton Award, in addition to numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for her work. Diane Borsato is also Associate Professor of Experimental Studio at the University of Guelph in Canada, where she teaches courses exploring live, site-responsive environmental art practices.

Her recent books include Outdoor School: Contemporary Environmental Art (2021) co-edited with Amish Morrell, and MUSHROOMING – A field guide to mushrooms and fungi in contemporary art - launching in Canada in the fall of 2022 and in the US in the spring of 2023. See her work at www.dianeborsato.net


Speaker Series: Wednesday February 8th, 2023 7:00 p.m.

Speaker: Simona Margaritescu – ROM Fungarium

Presentation: A Fungus’ Journey From Field to Fungarium

Location: 500 King Street W, Toronto – Patagonia Store

A unique collaboration between Patagonia Toronto and the interim director of the ROM Fungarium, Simona Margaritescu. Patagonia will be providing finger food and beverages.

There is a limited capacity for this event, you must register to attend.

An introduction to the TRTC Fungarium and the progression of a fungus from collection to curation and storage through stories, photographs and anecdotes.

Simona finished her Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at University of Bucharest, Romania followed by a MSc degree in Genetics and Cell Biology at the same university. Before making Canada her home, she taught Plant Systematics in the Department of Botany at University of Bucharest. During that time, she organized and participated in many biodiversity fieldtrips. These trips piqued her interest in fungi so, after coming to Canada, she studied Penicillium molds in Dr. David Malloch’s laboratory at the University of Toronto. In 2004, she became the Mycology Technician at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

Her position at the ROM has two main facets. She manages the ROM’s Fungal Collection (TRTC Fungarium) and is responsible for the operations of the Molecular Mycology Research Laboratory. As the TRTC manager, Simona is responsible for maintaining, preparing, and identifying the fungal collections and handling loans and exchanges with other herbaria. In addition, she has been managing the electronic database associated with these collections.

Simona teaches specimen preparation techniques and data entry practices to casual staff, summer students and volunteers. She also responds to general inquiries about fungi, gives lectures, and guides tours in the ROM’s Fungal Collection.

Besides her collection management responsibilities, Simona directs the day-to-day running of the Molecular Mycology Research Laboratory and assists in fungal research projects by generating and analyzing molecular data obtained from various fungal species. She also teaches molecular laboratory techniques to graduate, undergraduate students, and visiting scholars.


Speaker Series: Wednesday, March 8, 2023 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Shannon Nix

Presentation: The Great Escape

This meeting will be held online via Zoom
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The spore dispersal strategies employed by mushroom-forming fungi are as diverse as the myriad types of fruiting bodies produced by these organisms. Join us as Dr. Shannon Nix discusses a few of these strategies, as well as some of the adaptations that fungi have evolved to ensure that their genes are successfully dispersed into the environment.

Dr. Shannon Nix is a fungal ecologist who received her B.S. from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Prior to becoming a tenured professor at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Shannon studied the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on fungal communities as a Fulbright Fellow at the Agricultural University of Norway and as a Post Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Georgia Experiment Station. During her career as a professor at Clarion and George Mason universities, she taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses in mycology, botany, microbiology and environmental science. Now retired from higher education, Shannon regularly gives invited talks and workshops for local and regional mushroom clubs and pursues research with local collaborators and academic colleagues. Shannon is passionate about education and raising awareness of the role that fungi play in the environment and our lives.


Updated December 23rd, 2022

Meetings for 2021-2022

Speaker Series: Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Anna Bazzicalupo

Presentation: Benjamin Woo's Russula Herbarium

Anna was born and grew up in Naples, Italy. She went to university for her undergraduate and master's degrees in Scotland. She then pursued a PhD at the University of British Columbia. After a first postdoc at Montana State University in Bozeman she then returned to UBC for a second postdoc. The work she did for her PhD was on the morphology and biogeography of mushrooms. Her work on the Ben Woo collection has helped understand Russula diversity in the Pacific Northwest.

Speaker Series: Thursday, November 18, 2021 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Else Vellinga

Presentation: Fungal Conservation: reasons, venues, and what you and your club can do

Else Vellinga is a mycologist who is interested in naming and classifying mushroom species in California and beyond, especially Parasol mushrooms. She has described 22 species as new for California, and most recently worked at the herbaria at UC Berkeley and SFSU for the Macrofungi and Microfungi Collections Digitization projects. She got her training at the national herbarium in the Netherlands, and her PhD at the university of Leiden. Her main goal is to contribute to the conservation of mushroom species, and for that reason she has proposed several species for the IUCN global database of endangered species. She tries to keep current with the mushroom literature. Else is also an avid knitter and likes to use mushroom dyed yarn for her creations.

Speaker Series: Tuesday, February 15, 2022 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Ludovic Le Renard

Presentation: Patterns of Evolution in the Fossil Record of Fungi

Ludovic was born in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, near Paris.  He completed his undergraduate degree in organismal biology and a Masters in interdisciplinary approach to life sciences in France before moving to Vancouver for his PhD. Ludovic completed his PhD at UBC under the supervision of Mary Berbee in 2019, interpreting the fossil record of fly-speck fungi. Now a Postdoctoral Fellow in UBC, he continues to compare the anatomy of live fungi with similar looking fossils to unveil patterns of fungal evolution through geologic time.

Speaker Series: Tuesday, March 22, 2022 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Daniel Winkler

Presentation: Best of Mushroaming - From High Asia to South America

Daniel shares his hunt for gorgeous choice edibles, potent medicinals, and all kinds of bizarre and colorful fungi from the most minute to massive fruitings.

Daniel grew up collecting and eating wild mushrooms in the Alps and has been foraging for over 25 years in the PNW and beyond, sharing his enthusiasm as a mushroom educator and guide and as past Puget Sound Mycological Society vice-president.

In his presentations he is combining his stunning photography (check out mushroaming.com) with a blend of entertaining stories and scientific information. Having been in love with mushrooms since early childhood Daniel managed to bend his career as an ecologist and geographer focused on High Asia towards researching rural Tibet’s enormous fungal economy.

His Cordyceps research has been featured in The Economist, National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, BBC World Service etc.


Updated March 23rd, 2022

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