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Fungus Fair is tomorrow; Talks and walks are planned.

Byline: George Barnes

ATHOL - They're not always pretty, a few are poisonous, and they tend to hide in damp and dark places, but for many attending the second annual Fungus Fair, mushrooms are nature's hidden jewels.

Noah Siegel said he hopes to put the fun in fungus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main St.

Mycologists from throughout New England are expected to be on hand to share their knowledge in discussions and in morning and afternoon expeditions into the local woods to identify and collect mushrooms.

Mr. Siegel said talks will take place throughout the day on topics including morels, beginners' mushroom identification, and edible and poisonous fungi. At lunchtime, those attending will be treated to a wild mushroom cooking.

The event is free. Beginner and experienced mushroomers are welcome. Those attending should bring lunch, a collecting basket with paper or wax-paper bags, a magnifying glass, a small knife and bug spray.

Among the speakers will be Elinoar Shavit. She is a contributing editor for medicinal mushrooms at Fungi Magazine. She is a past president of the New York Mycological Society and a frequent speaker, in the United States and abroad, on the topics of medicinal mushrooms, desert truffles and morels.

Ms. Shavit holds degrees from Tel Aviv University and Columbia University. She has been collecting mushrooms

since she was a child, first with her grandmother and her mother, and now with family and friends. She said she will talk about hunting for a number of species of morels in the Northeast, about the dangers involved in consuming morels, and about the weekend in Henri, Ill., which hosts a weekend devoted to a morel-hunting competition and morel cooking.

Mr. Siegel will offer a slide show introducing different groups of fungi and help beginners recognize some of New England's most common fungi. He is a nationally known nature photographer and mushroom identifier. He has been mushrooming for almost 20 years. He is co-president and a walk leader for the Monadnock Mushroomers Unlimited in Keene, N.H., and a trustee for the Northeast Mycological Federation. While mostly based in the Northeast, he has also sought out mushrooms throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.

The third speaker will be Bill Yule. He will speak on edible and poisonous mushrooms of southern New England. His slide show will include an introduction to the edible and poisonous mushrooms found in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The emphasis will be on learning the characteristics of the deadly mushrooms first, then the easiest edibles and their non-edible look-alikes. It is a program for beginners and will include descriptions of several common edible boletes, as well as the top 10 edibles.

Mr. Yule has been one of the principal identifiers for the Connecticut Valley Mycological Society for almost 20 years. His specialty is boletes, but all things fungal interest him. He is also the Connecticut society's librarian and education chairman and was an adjunct faculty member at Southern Connecticut State University during the 1990s.

For more information and directions, visit www.millersriver.net or contact Noah Siegel at nsiegel1@yahoo.com or (978) 249-4260.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 26, 2008
Words:528
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