Forays and Walks

The MST organizes a series of members-only walks called forays into the greenbelt around Toronto during the spring and fall of each year, to gather and identify mushrooms.

Forays are held in the earlier part of the day on Saturdays and Sundays. Each foray has a designated foray leader who provides guidance to the participants.

Our scheduled spring forays usually take place from early May to the beginning of June, and fall forays from early September to the end of October.

The complete schedule of forays is available at https://www.myctor.org/forays/current.

Our 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 foray locations and driving directions when they sign in to the website. The map is available at https://www.myctor.org/forays/locations.

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

When you arrive at the foray location, find the group of people with baskets and sign in with the foray leader. The foray leader will give a short introduction and safety talk and specify a time to be back at the parking area. The foray attendees will split up into small groups 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. 

Look for the group of people holding baskets! Traditionally someone will put a basket on the roof of one of the cars as a signal. When you arrive, please make yourself known to the foray leader, who may be holding a white MST clipboard.

Forays depart from the gathering area at 9:45am. It's best to arrive 15 minutes early to sign in.

Each MST foray has a volunteer leader. Foray attendees 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.

Picking for the table is not allowed or sanctioned at MST forays for several reasons. The permits we have with the various properties which host our forays do not allow foraging for the purpose of consumption, and the MST runs the risk of losing access to these areas if foray attendees 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 foray leaders are volunteers, not professional mycologists. Expecting them to bear the responsibility for identifying edible species for foray attendees wouldn't be fair or safe, so foraging for edibles at MST forays is not allowed.

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

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

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

Absolutely. One of the reasons for coming to a foray is to learn identification skills. At the end of each foray all members gather and lay out the specimens they found on tables, and the foray leader and other experts will attempt to identify them by species.

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 foray. 

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

Some MST 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 Forays page.

Note that due to COVID-19, all forays in the 2020-2021 seasons will be open to pre-registered participants only.

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

Some MST 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 Forays page.

Note that due to COVID-19, all forays in the 2020-2021 seasons will be open to pre-registered participants only.

Instructions on how to register are on the help page How to Register for a Foray.

For safety reasons, the MST needs to know which of our members are present at a foray, both for safety and for contact tracing.

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

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

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

Members are more than welcome to bring children to forays on the understanding that supervising them is their responsibility and that they understand that some of the places we foray 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. 

If you're a member of the MST, driving directions to all foray locations are available on the foray schedule page at https://www.myctor.org/forays/current and on the 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 forays.

Please don't share MST 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.

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

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

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!

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

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.

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.

Definitely not! The role of the volunteer foray leader is to keep people organized and safe, and make sure all foray attendees are accounted for when the foray is over. Expert ID skills are not required.

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

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

The MST is dedicated to providing a harassment-free foray experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of 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.

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