Walks and Forays

Does the MST have organized walks?

During the spring and fall of each year, the MST organizes a series of members-only walks and forays. These are…

During the spring and fall of each year, the MST organizes a series of members-only walks and forays. These are trips into the greenbelt around Toronto to learn about and identify mushrooms. Walks and forays are held in the earlier part of the day on Saturdays and Sundays. Each walk has several designated guides, and each foray has a designated leader who provides guidance to the participants.

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 is available at https://www.myctor.org/forays/current.

What kinds of walk and foray are there?

There are currently three different kinds of walk and foray: Welcome to Mycology walks: Hour-long walks to welcome new members…

There are currently three different kinds of walk and foray:

  1. Welcome to Mycology walks: Hour-long walks to welcome new members and provide information about fungi and their role in the environment. This first level is a fun, informative, and family-friendly introduction to mycology
  2. Intro to Field ID walks: Longer walks to discuss types of fungi and teach members how to start identifying them
  3. Intermediate Field Identification forays: Traditional forays with an expert identifier

Please see the MST Walk & Foray Levels help page for more information.

Can I pick mushrooms to eat on a walk or foray?

Picking for the table is not allowed or sanctioned at MST walks or forays for several reasons. The permits we…

Picking for the table is not allowed or sanctioned at MST walks or forays for several reasons. The permits we have with the various properties which host our walks and forays do not allow foraging for the purpose of consumption, and the MST runs the risk of losing access to these areas if participants harvest edibles.

Also, there are several toxic species in our area and several of them very closely resemble edible species. It's often difficult to distinguish between them, and so the MST strongly recommends never eating a wild mushroom without the guidance in person of a professional mycologist. The MST is a volunteer-run organization and all our walk guides and foray leaders are volunteers, not professional mycologists. Expecting them to bear the responsibility for identifying edible species for participants wouldn't be fair or safe, so foraging for edibles at MST walks and forays is not allowed.

Do I need to be a member to attend a walk or foray?

Unfortunately the permits we have with the various properties which host our walks and forays require the MST to provide…

Unfortunately the permits we have with the various properties which host our walks and forays require the MST to provide insurance coverage for all participants. Only MST members are covered by our group insurance policy, and so only MST members in good standing can attend walks and forays.

MST memberships are family memberships and cover up to 2 adult immediate family members and children of those adults living at the same address.

Yearly memberships are not expensive, and you can join online at https://www.myctor.org/join.

Do I need to register for walks and forays?

Most MST walks and forays require pre-registration to attend. This may be due to limited parking space, a landowner who…

Most MST walks and forays require pre-registration to attend. This may be due to limited parking space, a landowner who wants a small group, or a lack of volunteers to handle a large group. These forays will be clearly marked on the Current Walks and Forays page.

For walks and forays that don't state on the Current Walks and Forays page that they require pre-registration, you can just show up at the event location at the right time, find the guide or leader and check in.

Do I need to pay to attend a walk or foray?

MST walks and forays are included with your MST membership. There is no extra charge for walks or forays.

MST walks and forays are included with your MST membership. There is no extra charge for walks or forays.

Can I attend a walk or foray to try it out before I join?

Unfortunately the permits we have with the various properties which host our walks and forays require the MST to provide…

Unfortunately the permits we have with the various properties which host our walks and forays require the MST to provide insurance coverage for all participants. Only MST members are covered by our group insurance policy, and so only MST members in good standing can attend walks and forays.

MST family memberships are not expensive and you can join online at https://www.myctor.org/join.

I don't know how to identify mushrooms, can I still come to a walk or foray?

Absolutely. The MST's Welcome to Mycology walks and Introduction to Field Identification walks are meant for you! By the time…

Absolutely. The MST's Welcome to Mycology walks and Introduction to Field Identification walks are meant for you! By the time you've attended these walks and are eligible to attend Intermediate Field Identification forays, you'll have the knowledge you need in order to start identifying mushrooms yourself.

Where are the MST's walks and forays?

Our walks and forays take place mainly on public lands such as county forests and conservation areas in the greenbelt…

Our walks and forays take place mainly on public lands such as county forests and conservation areas in the greenbelt around Toronto, usually within an hour's driving time. More information is available at https://www.myctor.org/forays/foray-info-locations.

MST members have access to a detailed map of walk and foray locations and driving directions when they sign in to the website. The map is available at https://www.myctor.org/forays/locations.

Is there a guide?

Welcome to Mycology walks and Introduction to Field Identification walksThese walks have several guides. Each guide will take a group…

Welcome to Mycology walks and Introduction to Field Identification walks

These walks have several guides. Each guide will take a group of 8–10 participants.

Intermediate Field Identification forays

Intermediate Field Identification forays have a volunteer foray leader. Participants generally split up into small groups at the beginning of the foray. The leader doesn't function as a guide, but is often happy to allow new members to stick close to them.

How do walks and forays work?

Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification walksWhen you arrive at the walk location, find the group of people…

Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification walks

When you arrive at the walk location, find the group of people with baskets. Walk guides will be arranging participants into groups of 8–10 per guide. Let one of the guides know that you've arrived and you'll be assigned to a group. The guide will help you check in to the walk.

Each guide will take their group into the forest for the walk, which will last 1–1.5 hours. At the end, the group will return to the parking area and participants can leave when they like.

On most days, there will be another walk scheduled shortly after yours finishes. Members can only attend one walk each day, so please make sure to leave the parking area in good time so that there's space for the new batch of participants.

Intermediate Field Identification forays

When you arrive at the foray location, find the group of people with baskets and check in to the foray. The foray leader will give a short introduction and safety talk and specify a time to be back at the parking area. Participants will split up into whatever small groups they like and go out in to the forest to gather specimens. When you get back to the parking area at the time the foray leader specified, there will be tables set up for you to put down the specimens you've gathered. The foray leader and other knowledgeable members will then try their best to identify what everyone found, and to help you identify your specimens. Afterward, the specimens are returned to the forest.

Which walks and forays can I go to?

New members start with Welcome to Mycology walks, which are open to all our members regardless of experience. In order…

New members start with Welcome to Mycology walks, which are open to all our members regardless of experience.

In order to attend the other levels of walks and forays which are meant for more experienced mushroomers, members need to attend some of the easier walks beforehand and pass a short online test.

You can see a summary of which levels of walk and foray you can attend, how many more walks you need and which tests you need to take on the Your Walk and Foray Options page.

Please see the MST Walk & Foray Levels help page for more information.

Does the MST provide transportation to walks or forays?

The MST is unable to provide transportation to walks or forays. Members are responsible for arranging their own transportation.

The MST is unable to provide transportation to walks or forays. Members are responsible for arranging their own transportation.

Can I bring a family member to a walk or foray?

MST memberships cover up to 2 adult immediate family members and children of those adults living at the same address.…

MST memberships cover up to 2 adult immediate family members and children of those adults living at the same address. Anyone covered by your family membership can attend a walk or foray.

Can I share MST walk or foray locations with non-members?

Please don't share MST walk and foray locations outside the MST. The MST is an organization primarily concerned with conservation…

Please don't share MST walk and foray locations outside the MST. The MST is an organization primarily concerned with conservation and ecology. Crowds of eager mushroom-hunters can overwhelm the delicate ecological balance of a habitat.

Can I bring a friend to a walk or foray?

Unfortunately the permits we have with the various properties which host our walks and forays require the MST to provide…

Unfortunately the permits we have with the various properties which host our walks and forays require the MST to provide insurance coverage for all walk and foray attendees. Only MST members are covered by our group insurance policy, and so only MST members in good standing can attend walks and forays.

What do I need to bring to a walk or foray?

Walks (Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification): MST walks are intended for relative beginners, so no special equipment…

Walks (Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification):

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).

Forays (Intermediate Field Identification):

Please see the Etiquette & Preparation page.

When is the next walk or foray?

Our walk and foray schedule can be found at https://www.myctor.org/forays/current or on our event calendar.

Our walk and foray schedule can be found at https://www.myctor.org/forays/current or on our event calendar.

What do I do when I arrive at a walk or foray location? How do I find the group?

Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification walksWhen you arrive at the walk location, find the group of people…

Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification walks

When you arrive at the walk location, find the group of people with baskets. Walk guides will be arranging participants into groups of 8–10 per guide. Let one of the guides know that you've arrived and you'll be assigned to a group. The guide will help you check in to the walk.

Intermediate Field Identification forays

When you arrive at the foray location, find the group of people with baskets and check in to the foray. The foray leader will often be holding a white clipboard with the MST logo on the front.

Where can I learn more about the different kinds of walks and forays?

Please see the MST Walk & Foray Levels help page.

Please see the MST Walk & Foray Levels help page.

Can I volunteer to help lead a walk or foray?

Absolutely! The MST is a volunteer-run organization and would appreciate your time and energy! Please contact the MST and let…

Absolutely! The MST is a volunteer-run organization and would appreciate your time and energy! Please contact the MST and let us know that you'd like to help.

What walk or foray level do new members start at?

New members start with Welcome to Mycology walks, which are open to all our members regardless of experience. Please see…

New members start with Welcome to Mycology walks, which are open to all our members regardless of experience.

Please see the MST Walk & Foray Levels help page for more information.

Can I arrange a private guide or walk?

The MST offers group walks and forays for members only. Please see the Help section on Walks and Forays for…

The MST offers group walks and forays for members only. Please see the Help section on Walks and Forays for details. The MST does not offer guide services or private walks for individuals.

If you represent an education or ecological organization, please use our general enquiry form to ask about leading a walk for your group.

How do I see what level of walk or foray I am currently at?

You can see a summary of which levels of walk and foray you can attend, how many more walks you…

You can see a summary of which levels of walk and foray you can attend, how many more walks you need and which tests you need to take on the Your Walk and Foray Options page.

How do I get to a higher walk or foray level?

In order to attend the other levels of walks and forays which are meant for more experienced mushroomers, members need…

In order to attend the other levels of walks and forays which are meant for more experienced mushroomers, members need to attend some of the easier walks beforehand and pass a short online test.

You can learn at your own pace – progress to the next level quickly or slowly, whatever you like.

The short online tests can be taken at any time and as many times as you want. Those who learn better in person are welcome to come to as many walks at their current level as they need.

In order to attend Intro to Field ID walks, members need to attend at least 1 Welcome to Mycology walk and pass a short test based on what they learned during the walk.

In order to attend Intermediate Field Identification forays, members need to attend at least 2 Intro to Field ID walks and pass a short test with some questions about identification.

Please see the MST Walk & Foray Levels help page for more information.

Where do I take the tests to get to a higher walk or foray level?

You can take the tests from the Your Walk and Foray Options page.

You can take the tests from the Your Walk and Foray Options page.

Can I still go to easier walks after I graduate to the next level?

Members can still attend any of the earlier levels after they graduate to the next level.

Members can still attend any of the earlier levels after they graduate to the next level.

I want to stay at my current level of walk or foray. Do I have to work toward a new level?

Absolutely not. We understand that not everyone is interested in field identification and may not wish to continue to all…

Absolutely not. We understand that not everyone is interested in field identification and may not wish to continue to all three levels; members are welcome to stay at whichever level they most enjoy.

Why are there different levels of walks and forays?

Since 2014 the MST has had explosive growth in membership and is now one of the largest mushroom clubs in…

Since 2014 the MST has had explosive growth in membership and is now one of the largest mushroom clubs in the world. However, even as the membership grew, the number of foray leaders and expert identifiers stayed the same.

With a huge influx of new members the forays filled with enthusiastic beginners. The experts didn't have time to talk about interesting specimens, members with more experience got bored and lost interest, and the beginners found it very hard to learn. Introducing walks targeted at beginners is intended to help solve these problems.

Benefits of the new walks are treated in more depth on the MST Walk & Foray Levels help page.

I've been a member since there was only one kind of foray. Do I have to take tests or start with Welcome to Mycology walks?

We know that our long-term members are used to forays working a certain way, and we don't want to make…

We know that our long-term members are used to forays working a certain way, and we don't want to make you unhappy by making you go to beginner walks or take online tests about things you've known for years or decades. We value your knowledge and experience a great deal, and we don't want to get in the way of you enjoying forays.

Members who joined up to October 31st, 2019 can go to any of our walks or forays.

Members who joined between November 1st, 2019 and October 31st, 2021 have had a level assigned based on how many forays they attended.

More details are available on the MST Walk & Foray Levels help page.

I'm a new member and I already know something about mushrooms. Do I have to start with Welcome to Mycology walks?

If you think you don't need to start with Welcome to Mycology walks, email info@myctor.org and let us know what…

If you think you don't need to start with Welcome to Mycology walks, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us know what experience you have. We'll probably try to get you to volunteer at walks!

What time do walks and forays start?

Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification walks can start at different times, but generally early in the day.…

Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification walks can start at different times, but generally early in the day. Check the Current Walks and Forays schedule page for details on your start time.

Intermediate Field Identification forays generally depart from the gathering area at 9:45am.

For all walks and forays, it's best to arrive 15 minutes early to sign in.

How long do walks and forays last?

Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification walks last 1–1.5 hours. Intermediate Field Identification forays last 3-4 hours.

Welcome to Mycology and Introduction to Field Identification walks last 1–1.5 hours. Intermediate Field Identification forays last 3-4 hours.

I had a bad experience at a walk or foray. What do I do?

Please email the MST's Foray Director with the details. The MST is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone.…

Please email the MST's Foray Director with the details.

The MST is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of walk or foray participants in any form. If someone makes you or anyone else feel unsafe or harasses you, please email the MST's Membership Director with a preferred method of contact (phone or email) and one of our board of directors will contact you.

How do I prepare for a walk or foray?

More information on preparing for walks and forays is available here: https://www.myctor.org/forays/foray-etiquette

More information on preparing for walks and forays is available here: https://www.myctor.org/forays/foray-etiquette

How do I register for a walk or foray?

Most MST walks and forays require pre-registration to attend. This may be due to limited parking space, a landowner who…

Most MST walks and forays require pre-registration to attend. This may be due to limited parking space, a landowner who wants a small group, or a lack of volunteers to handle a large group. These forays will be clearly marked on the Current Walks and Forays page.

Instructions on how to register are on the help page How to Register for Walks & Forays.

How do I check in at a walk or foray?

For safety reasons, the MST needs to know which of our members are present at walks and foray.Instructions on how…

For safety reasons, the MST needs to know which of our members are present at walks and foray.

Instructions on how to register are on the help page How to Check in to a Walk or Foray.

Can I bring my dog to a walk or foray?

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at MST walks and forays, on the understanding that they're the responsibility of the owner and…

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at MST walks and forays, on the understanding that they're the responsibility of the owner and under control at all times. Several of the properties we visit have leash regulations - it's the responsibility of the owner to be aware of and obey whatever regulations are in place.

Can I bring children on a walk or foray?

Members are more than welcome to bring children to walks and forays on the understanding that supervising them is their…

Members are more than welcome to bring children to walks and forays on the understanding that supervising them is their responsibility and that they understand that some of the places we visit may not be suitable for very young children (rough terrain, steep hills, poison ivy, etc.) and that many mushrooms are poisonous. Supervision is the responsibility of the accompanying adult - the MST does not offer children's programming.

Can I have directions to a walk or foray?

If you're a member of the MST, driving directions to all walk and foray locations are available on the walk…

If you're a member of the MST, driving directions to all walk and foray locations are available on the walk and foray schedule page at https://www.myctor.org/forays/current and on the walk and foray locations map at https://www.myctor.org/forays/locations. Unfortunately the MST is unable to provide locations or directions to non-members.

Note that the MST does not provide transportation to walks or forays.

I don't have a car. How do I get to walks and forays?

The MST is unable to provide transportation to walks or forays. Many members choose to car-pool to share costs. There…

The MST is unable to provide transportation to walks or forays. Many members choose to car-pool to share costs. There is sometimes a car-pooling discussion in the Forays message board, available to members who are signed in to the website.

Do I have to be a mushroom expert to lead a walk or foray?

Welcome to Mycology walksGuides for Welcome to Mycology walks prepare new members for the next level, Introduction to Field Identification,…

Welcome to Mycology walks

Guides for Welcome to Mycology walks prepare new members for the next level, Introduction to Field Identification, and teach:

  • Safety in the woods (whistles, ticks, weather, poison ivy, etc.)
  • Ethical and responsible mushrooming
  • How to further participate and increase their knowledge
  • The life cycle of fungi
  • Examples of different categories used in field identification (gilled mushrooms, polypores, etc.)
  • The role of fungi in the environment

If you've completed the requirements for Welcome to Mycology walks yourself and can attend Introduction to Field Identification walks, then you know everything you need to be a guide for Welcome to Mycology walks.

Introduction to Field Identification walks

Guides for Introduction to Field Identification walks prepare members for independent Intermediate Field Identification forays, and teach:

  • What features of mushrooms are important for identification, and how to recognize the differences (eg. gills, ring, veil, texture and colour of various features, relationships with trees)
  • How to use field guides, online resources and identification keys to identify mushrooms
  • How to collect, document and prepare specimens
  • How to take spore prints
  • How to know which specimens are suitable for identification, and which groups of mushrooms are worth it for novices to try to identify
  • How and why to use loupes and magnifiers

If you've completed the requirements for Introduction to Field Identification walks yourself and can attend Intermediate Field Identification forays, then you know everything you need to be a guide for Introduction to Field Identification walks.

Intermediate Field Identification forays

Intermediate Field Identification foray leaders are definitely experts! They recognize many species on sight and can identify many others quickly. It takes lots of practice and identification to get to this level! If this is you, we definitely want to hear from you! The MST always needs more expert identifiers.

Each Intermediate Field Identification foray also needs several volunteers to assist the foray leader with keeping people organized and safe, and making sure all foray attendees are accounted for when the foray is over. Expert identification skills are not required to be an assistant, and it's a great way to learn from the experts.


The MST is always looking for walk guide and foray leader volunteers. Please email the Foray Director and let us know you'd like to help!

Are there washroom facilities or water available at walk or foray locations?

No, there are no washroom facilities or drinking water available at any of the walk or foray locations.

No, there are no washroom facilities or drinking water available at any of the walk or foray locations.

Do members share rides to walks and forays?

Many members choose to car-pool to share costs. There is sometimes a car-pooling discussion in the Forays message board, available…

Many members choose to car-pool to share costs. There is sometimes a car-pooling discussion in the Forays message board, available to members who are signed in to the website.

I got to a walk or foray late and the group left already. What do I do?

Welcome to Mycology walks and Introduction to Field Identification walksUnfortunately, if you arrive late to a Welcome to Mycology or…

Welcome to Mycology walks and Introduction to Field Identification walks

Unfortunately, if you arrive late to a Welcome to Mycology or Introduction to Field Identification walk and the group has already left, there is no way for you to attend the walk. Please be on time.

Intermediate Field Identification forays

Foray attendees generally split up into small groups at the beginning of a foray. The foray leader will have specified a time for everyone to be back at the cars. Head out into the woods and you'll likely find another foray attendee to ask what time to return. If you don't find anyone to ask, it's best to return to the parking area by noon. Just remember - if you arrive late you haven't signed in and the foray leader doesn't know you're there, which means they don't know to make sure you're back before everyone leaves. Don't get lost!

I have a question about walks or forays that isn't answered here. Who can I contact?

Please contact the MST's Foray Director or Assistant Foray Director with walk and foray questions.

Please contact the MST's Foray Director or Assistant Foray Director with walk and foray questions.

Can I have the phone number for a walk guide or foray leader?

MST walk guides and foray leaders are all volunteers, and for reasons of personal privacy and safety the MST does…

MST walk guides and foray leaders are all volunteers, and for reasons of personal privacy and safety the MST does not disclose phone numbers of guides or leaders.

Where can I legally pick mushrooms?

Gathering or foraging wild mushrooms on private land with permission is legal. Picking mushrooms in provincial parks is not legal.…

Gathering or foraging wild mushrooms on private land with permission is legal. Picking mushrooms in provincial parks is not legal.

Many Conservation Areas, Nature Reserves, County Forests, public parks, etc. prohibit picking of mushrooms and other fungi. Take note of posted signage and, if in any doubt whether picking is allowed, contact the authority which manages the property.

Picking wild edibles on Crown land is considered a transient activity under the free use policy, made under the public lands act. You may harvest mushrooms on Crown land if food gathering is allowed on that land parcel. The Crown land use policy atlas will indicate whether or not food gathering is permitted in a particular parcel of land.

Regardless of where you pick, please make sure that your activities are not negatively affecting the plants or impacting the local environment. Harvesting mushrooms, berries, wild leeks, etc. should be done in a sustainable manner to allow for future harvesting. We suggest taking a small amount for personal use and leaving the rest for growth and for future harvests.

Please be aware that there are several poisonous species in Ontario, and some are deadly. Many edible species have poisonous lookalikes, and it's extremely difficult for an amateur to distinguish between them. The MST recommends very strongly that you don't eat any wild mushroom without the guidance of an experienced mycologist in person.

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