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Etiquette and Preparation for Walks and Forays

Our scheduled spring walks and forays usually take place from early May to the beginning of June, and fall walks and forays from early September to the end of October. The complete schedule of walks and forays, with directions to meeting places, is emailed to members in April or August, and is available online on the walk and foray schedule page.

Unless noted otherwise on the schedule page, walk and foray participants meet by 9:45 am, then follow the walk guide or foray leader. Walks generally last for 1–1.5 hours, and forays generally end at about 12:30 — 1:30 pm or later, if you wish to stay for further identification of fungi. Walks and forays are always held rain or shine. Since we may drive some distance from the meeting place to the event location, please be on time to avoid the disappointment of missing the group. More detailed information is available on how to prepare for walks and forays.

Please note that the MST does not provide transportation to walks or forays! Members are responsible for arranging their own transportation.

More questions about walks or forays? Find answers in the Help and FAQ section.

Preparation for MST Walks

MST walks are intended for relative beginners, so no special equipment is needed other than weather-appropriate clothing and footwear suitable for the woods (hiking boots or sturdy shoes). 

Preparation for MST Forays

We recommend that you prepare for a foray with the following items:

  • Basket (plastic bags cause fungi to sweat and deteriorate)
  • Sharp Knife (by breaking the stem you may lose important identification features below ground)
  • Paper Bags or Wax Paper (to keep your fungi separated and preserved until you are able to identify them later)
  • Whistle (in case you get separated from your group or need assistance; as a safeguard walk in groups of three and not alone)
  • Compass (another safeguard, learn to use one)
  • Hand Magnifying Glass (for better identification in the field)
  • Insect Repellent (Black Flies in May and June, and Mosquitoes in summer and fall)
  • Clothing (appropriate for the weather, with good coverage to avoid scratches and insect bites). Remember to tuck pant legs into socks - bites from disease-bearing ticks are a real concern.
  • Hiking Boots (as opposed to running shoes, these will protect you from insects, poison ivy, sharp protuberances and other injuries; i.e., twisting your ankle)
  • Rubber Boots and Rain Wear (particularly if it is wet)
  • Field Guide (to help identify your fungi; if you do not have one, leaders can usually recommend one)
  • Lunch


MST members find the field checklist below useful for keeping track of species identified during forays.

MST field checklistDownload the Field Checklist

Walk and Foray Etiquette

  • If someone has offered you a ride, be sure to specify where you are to be picked up and be there ahead of time, but don't panic if your driver is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late. It is customary to offer the driver something toward the cost of gas. If you are the driver, do not leave the site before making sure that none of your passengers are stranded.
  • Please do not wander away after you arrive; wait for the walk guide or foray leader. Let the leader, guide or assistant know you are a member of the group, and introduce any members of your family.
  • All adults will be expected to sign a participation form, and provide the license number of their car to assist the guide or leader in identifying who belongs to the group.
  • For forays, find out at what time the leader plans to stop and return to the cars. If you know the area and strike out on your own, make a point of being back at the meeting place on time, in consideration of others. For walks, you are expected to remain with the guide at all times.
  • If you plan to leave early, let the guide or leader know. Car licenses will be monitored so that no one is left behind.
  • If you find any exceptionally good specimens, or some that are rare or unusual, make a note as to where they were found and other particulars. Wrap them in wax paper and give them to the leader, or to a member who can have them identified and recorded by a professional mycologist.
  • Never pick more than you can use, and always ensure that you leave some behind. When cleaning your fungi, do not just dump the broken pieces on the ground in the parking lot. Dispose of them correctly in the woods.
  • Respect private property; respect nature! Do not pick wild plants or ferns from parks and forests; e.g., Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Wild Ginger, Wild Leeks, and Fiddleheads. Do not grab all mushrooms in sight when collecting. Be discriminating! Allow others to enjoy them during their walk in the woods.