Foray at Kathy and Henry’s place, 49 Danks Rd., Stoughton, WI 53598 – Sunday, August 12

This Sunday we will be foraging on the private property of Kathy and Henry Royer. Meet us at their house, 49 Danks Rd., Stoughton, WI 53598. Check out their beautiful sculptures and furniture on their website.

We hope to find some exciting late summer edibles, like chanterelles and chicken of the woods. 

Find a carpool buddy here.  

Bring outdoor clothes and expect to walk through woods and brush that might contain ticks and poison ivy, and most definitely some mosquitoes. A hat, water, snacks, and insect repellant are all handy things to bring. Stiff wicker baskets are ideal for carrying fungal finds intact; mesh bags will often turn your collection into unidentifiable debris. Also, a camera for documenting mushrooms and a notebook for recording information are both valuable for growing as a wild forager and mycologist.

Foray at Waunakee Wildlife Area – Sunday, July 29

Join Madison Mycological Society on a summer foray at Waunakee Wildlife Area. Alden Dirks will be leading the foray and can be contacted at 610-314-9573 if you can’t find the group or need help. You can find a carpool buddy here.

Waunakee Marsh State Wildlife Area, although primarily comprised of marshland, has 40 acres of hardwood forest. It was established in 1958 to protect some of the waterways leading to Lake Mendota. Read more about the site here. There is only one designated parking lot at Waunakee Widlife Area, which you can see on this map.

Foray at Capital Springs State Recreation Area – Sunday, July 22

Join Madison Mycological Society on a summer foray at Capital Springs State Recreation Area. Sarah Wiest will be leading the foray and can be contacted at 937-371-3907 if you can’t find the group or need help. You can find a carpool buddy here.

Capital Springs State Recreation Area is owned cooperatively by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Dane County Parks. We are allowed to forage on the state park, but not the county park area. Driving directions are on the DNR website, but you can also see Google Map directions here. The address is listed as 3123 Lake Farm Road. The DNR map is lackluster, but might be of value.

Foray at Lake Kegonsa State Park – Sunday, July 15

Join Madison Mycological Society on a summer foray at Lake Kegonsa State Park. Alden Dirks will be leading the foray and can be contacted at 610-314-9573 if you can’t find the group or need help. You can find a carpool buddy here.

Lake Kegonsa State Park is described as “one of the best kept secrets of southern Wisconsin.” You can read more about the area here. Take a look at the map of the state park. We will be looking for fungi along the White Oak Nature Trail – meet us at the trailhead. There are two parking lots labeled in really small font as “trail parking” on the map. These seem to be the parking lots closest to the trailhead. The DNR also has an educational trail guide which you can take a peek at.

Note that a vehicle admission sticker is required, which costs $8 daily or $28 for an annual sticker.

Foray at Goose Lake Drumlins – Sunday, June 17

At 2 pm on Sunday, June 17, Madison Mycological Society will be hosting a foray at Goose Lake Drumlins (SNA #375 in Dane County).  Following these directions, meet us at the parking lot between Mud Lake and Goose Lake Sarah Wiest will lead the foray. If you can’t find the group, contact her at 937-371-3907. Add your name or find a ride on our carpooling list.


As a reminder, please be cautious and conscientious when moving through public lands. State Natural Areas are available for public recreation like wild foraging, but are protected primarily because they are some of the last remaining areas representative of the ecosystems that existed across Wisconsin prior to European-American colonization. Please avoid trampling vegetation. Learn more about Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas Program.

State natural areas (SNAs) protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites. Encompassing nearly 400,000 acres, Wisconsin’s 687 natural areas are valuable for research and educational use, the preservation of genetic and biological diversity and for providing benchmarks for determining the impact of use on managed lands. They also provide some of the last refuges for rare plants and animals.

Foray at Gibralter Rock – Sunday, July 1

At 2 pm on Sunday, July 1, Madison Mycological Society will be hosting a foray at Gibralter Rock (SNA #73 in Columbia County). There is only one parking lot, we will meet there. Sarah Wiest will lead the foray. If you can’t find the group, contact her at 937-371-3907. Add your name or find a ride on our carpooling list.


As a reminder, please be cautious and conscientious when moving through public lands. State Natural Areas are available for public recreation like wild foraging, but are protected primarily because they are some of the last remaining areas representative of the ecosystems that existed across Wisconsin prior to European-American colonization. Please avoid trampling vegetation. Learn more about Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas Program.

State natural areas (SNAs) protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites. Encompassing nearly 400,000 acres, Wisconsin’s 687 natural areas are valuable for research and educational use, the preservation of genetic and biological diversity and for providing benchmarks for determining the impact of use on managed lands. They also provide some of the last refuges for rare plants and animals.

Foray at Mazomanie Oak Barrens – Sunday, June 24

At 2 pm on Sunday, June 24, Madison Mycological Society will be hosting a foray at Mazomanie Oak Barrens (SNA #248 in Dane County). Meet at the parking lot off of County Highway Y. Alden Dirks will lead the foray. If you can’t find the group, contact him at 610-314-9573. Add your name or find a ride on our carpooling list.


As a reminder, please be cautious and conscientious when moving through public lands. State Natural Areas are available for public recreation like wild foraging, but are protected primarily because they are some of the last remaining areas representative of the ecosystems that existed across Wisconsin prior to European-American colonization. Please avoid trampling vegetation. Learn more about Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas Program.

State natural areas (SNAs) protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites. Encompassing nearly 400,000 acres, Wisconsin’s 687 natural areas are valuable for research and educational use, the preservation of genetic and biological diversity and for providing benchmarks for determining the impact of use on managed lands. They also provide some of the last refuges for rare plants and animals.

Foray at Dells of the Wisconsin River – Sunday, June 10

At 2 pm on Sunday, June 10, Madison Mycological Society will be hosting a foray at the Dells of the Wisconsin River (SNA #283 in Columbia County). Meet at the parking lot by Chapel Gorge Trail. Alden Dirks will lead the foray. If you can’t find the group, contact him at 610-314-9573. Add your name or find a ride on our carpooling list.


As a reminder, please be cautious and conscientious when moving through public lands. State Natural Areas are available for public recreation like wild foraging, but are protected primarily because they are some of the last remaining areas representative of the ecosystems that existed across Wisconsin prior to European-American colonization. Please avoid trampling vegetation. Learn more about Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas Program.

State natural areas (SNAs) protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites. Encompassing nearly 400,000 acres, Wisconsin’s 687 natural areas are valuable for research and educational use, the preservation of genetic and biological diversity and for providing benchmarks for determining the impact of use on managed lands. They also provide some of the last refuges for rare plants and animals.

Foray at Pewit’s Nest – Sunday, June 3

At 2 pm on Sunday, June 3, Madison Mycological Society will be meeting at Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area (SNA #200 in Sauk County) for a late-spring foray. Parking is available at Pewit’s Nest Trailhead (also see the DNR map). Alden Dirks will lead the foray. If you can’t find the group, contact him at 610-314-9573. Add your name or find a ride on our carpooling list.


As a reminder, please be cautious and conscientious when moving through public lands. State Natural Areas are available for public recreation like wild foraging, but are protected primarily because they are some of the last remaining areas representative of the ecosystems that existed across Wisconsin prior to European-American colonization. Please avoid trampling vegetation. Learn more about Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas Program.

State natural areas (SNAs) protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites. Encompassing nearly 400,000 acres, Wisconsin’s 687 natural areas are valuable for research and educational use, the preservation of genetic and biological diversity and for providing benchmarks for determining the impact of use on managed lands. They also provide some of the last refuges for rare plants and animals.

First Annual Morel Foray – Sunday, May 20, 2018

This Sunday, May 20, at 2 pm, Madison Mycological Society will be meeting at Stephens Falls parking lot at Governor Dodge State Park for our first foray, the First Annual Morel Foray. Add your name or find a ride on our carpooling list. Each vehicle requires an admission ticket to enter Wisconsin state parks. If you don’t have one, an annual sticker ($28) or daily pass ($8) can be bought at the entrance to the park.

Spring was late to come this year, and morels were as well. They should be at or approaching their peak this Sunday, especially given the consistent nightly downpours and warm weather.

Morels (genus Morchella) are fascinating and beautiful mushrooms. The most common in these parts, Morchella esculentoides, which has grayish ridges and darkish pits, becoming more yellow in maturity, is what you are likely to find. It appears almost anywhere with trees, but is most commonly found under dead and dying American elms and living white and green ash trees. Morchella cryptica is morphologically indistinguishable from M. esculentoides, but a phylogenetically distinct species. Short of sequencing, we will have to settle for the M. esculentoides determination for most finds.

For more information about morels, I highly recommend you read Michael Kuo’s entry on Mushroom Expert. He is one of the leading experts on this group and offers a very approachable description on his excellent website.

There are toxic morel “look-alikes,” but honestly they only look alike if one has  neglected to learn basic traits of the mushroom and failed to make simple observations. Species belonging to the genera Verpa and Gyromitra might be confused, but one can distinguish morels by the fact that they are completely hollow (geode-like) without any whispy or cottony material, are not brain-like in appearance but rather have ridges and dimples, and have caps that are mostly or completely attached to the stem.

Other “edible” fungi that you are likely to find are Cerioporus squamosus (Dryad’s Saddle), Pleurocybella porrigens (Angel Wings), and jelly fungi like Auricularia auricula (Jelly Ear),  Exidia recisa (Amber Jelly), and Exidia glandulosa (Black Jelly Brain). While Jelly Ear is commonly cultivated and eaten, especially in Asian cuisines, their isn’t much value to the others, and Angel Wings might be toxic, especially to those with kidney disorders. If you make something tasty, though, let me know.

As a reminder, we are here to share and teach, but what you decide to eat is ultimately your responsibility. We must emphasize that you should be 100% confident about your identification, otherwise the consequences can be grave. With some basic training and common sense, though, morel hunting is very safe and extremely rewarding. Everyone’s a mycologist when it’s morel season.