MST Membership Benefits
Thank you for your interest in the Mycological Society of Toronto (MST). This page provides some basic information about our Society for those considering joining us. Some people are not familiar with the term "Mycological". Mycology is the branch of botany dealing with fungi. Mushrooms or toadstools are the fleshy fruiting bodies (reproductive structures) produced by what are commonly known as the higher fungi. They are not independent organisms, but part of a larger organism. Not all fungi are mushrooms; for example, yeasts and mildews, water moulds and bread moulds, and the dreaded athletes foot fungus. They do not produce fleshy fruiting bodies.
The Challenge of Identification
A special interest of the members of our Society is the identification of different types of mushrooms and their classification into their genus and species. Among our members are those who have a special interest in edible mushrooms. We must accept the evidence that there is no simple method to identify an edible mushroom from a poisonous one. Books reporting on edibility only reflect the historical records of mycophagy, the eating of mushrooms. They cannot make an accurate prediction as to how you personally will react to the ingestion of a specimen of the same species. Someone once said: "There are old mycophagists and there are bold mycophagists, but there are no old, bold mycophagists." The fact is that we must first learn the characteristics of the many species of mushrooms, to ensure their absolute identification. There is no shortcut!
The Mycological Society and its Programs
We are mostly a group of amateurs supported by a number of active or retired professional mycologists, and we are eager to collect, study and identify fungi, particularly the larger mushrooms. Our Society encourages activities that explore the ecological role of fungi, and support the conservation of wild mushrooms. We do not promote the harvesting of mushrooms for commercial purposes, nor any activity that would disturb the balance of nature. We are a non-for-profit club, and volunteer members manage all our affairs.
During the spring and fall of each year, our Society organizes a series of forays to various locations within about an hours drive of the perimeter of Toronto. These 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. Please note that the MST does not provide transportation to the forays! Members are responsible for arranging their own transportation.
We organize five informative meetings a year for our members. These are held at the Toronto Botanical Garden. Guest speakers are invited to give presentations on various topics associated with the field of mycology.
Our annual gourmet mushroom dinner is a social event held at a specialty restaurant after the first weekend in May.
The annual Cain Foray usually takes place on the third weekend of September in the Muskoka area.
The MST is affiliated with the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) in the USA, an umbrella organization of about 1200 members of 80 societies and clubs in North America.
The annual membership fee is (CDN) $30.00, or $55.00 for 2 years, which includes immediate members of a family at the same mailing address, and entitles you to the following:
- Vote in all business proceedings
- Four issues per year of the MST newsletter, Mycelium
- Participation in our half-day spring and fall forays and field trips
- Field identification instructions (bring your own guide books)
- Participation in activities of special interest groups (photography, microscopy, spore prints, cultivation, etc.)
- Attendance at membership meetings which usually feature presentations by mycologists and others on topics related to the field of mycology
- A copy of MST's resource library catalogue
- Borrowing of books, articles and papers from the Society's library
- Getting assistance with using or purchasing a microscope
- A discount of $5.00 US on membership to the North American Mycological Association (NAMA)
- Opportunity to attend the annual fall weekend Cain Foray in the Muskoka-Haliburton area
- Information about international mycological forays, publications and mycological supplies
- Information about books useful to beginners
- Participation in beginner's and intermediate courses and other planned workshops on fungi at a fee
You can appreciate that it would be impossible for our Society to provide full support to amateur mycologists throughout the whole province or elsewhere on an individual basis. There are examples of small groups of serious amateur naturalists that have formed in other parts of this province; they are self-sufficient. Those who live some distance away from the Greater Toronto Area may not be able to take part in all of our activities. They are, of course, still quite welcome to join us if they share our interests.
If you wish to apply for membership, please complete the Application Form, and mail it to the Membership Director.