NAMA 2016 Shenandoah Foray

Registration is full.  See you in Virginia!

Please join us for the NAMA 2016 Shenandoah Foray located in the unique environment of the bio-regions of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Attendance is limited to 350, and the Foray is likely to sell out. So be sure to register as soon as you can. We will be stationed at the Northern Virginia 4-H Center  just minutes from Shenandoah National Park and the Appalachian Trail. Come explore the rolling hills, mountain streams, and hardwood forests that make this region beloved to so many -- and find out why they say Virginia is for (mushroom) lovers!

Our chief mycologist will be Walt Sturgeon, well-known field mycologist and author.  The foray hosted by The Mycological Association of Washington DC and the New River Valley Mushroom Club

Lodging and Transportation

The Northern Virginia 4-H Center is located just outside Front Royal, VA. Foray participants have a choice of several lodging options at the Center:

  • Private rooms, with or without air conditioning (note: as of 5/23, all private rooms are filled)
  • Dorm rooms, shared with up to 5 other participants; or
  • Camping in the 4-H Center athletic field.

Participants also have the option to arrange their own lodging in Front Royal, and pay a commuter rate that covers food and registration. We are holding a block of rooms at the Quality Inn Skyline Drive ($67/night plus tax), which can be reserved by calling (540) 635-3161.

The basic package for the foray includes 3 nights (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) and 9 meals (Thursday dinner through Sunday lunch). You may choose to pay extra to arrive one day early and start meals with Wednesday dinner.

  • $249 shared room (3 nights + 9 meals)
  • $207 camping (3 nights + 9 meals)
  • $203 commuter/find your own lodging (9 meals)
  • $52 one day pass (no lodging or meals)

For more information or for assistance with registration, please contact the Registrar, Connie Durnan: or (202) 669-5740.
If you need assistance with login and password to register, please contact Membership Secretary Steve Bichler at 

In early September, average highs in Front Royal tend to be about 80°F, and average lows are in the mid-50s.  Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is the closest major airport, about 60 miles away. You may wish to rent a car from the airport both for transportation to and from the 4H Center and to take advantage of all the sightseeing opportunities in the Shenandoah area.  We encourage you to consider whether you might want to stay longer in the area – there’s so much to do! In the Front Royal area, you can visit wineries and breweries, Civil War sites, and caverns – and there is always more to explore in the National Park. Washington, DC and its many sights and activities are about 90 minutes away.

Field Trips and Fungi

Photo by N. Lewis, Shenandoah National Park

The foray will be collecting fungi primarily in Shenandoah National Park, in conjunction with the National Park Bioblitz program. The current species list for the park includes 380 fungi, and we hope to expand it with your help. We have worked with park staff to design a set of half-day and full-day field trips in diverse areas, all within a short drive of the 4-H Center. The foray will provide transportation to most field trips.

The grounds of the 4-H Center are also potential mushrooming territory, with habitats including fields, forest, streams, and stables. Access to the Appalachian Trail from the Center grounds will give foray participants limitless opportunities to explore without even getting in a vehicle.

In Virginia, mid-September is prime time for honey mushrooms, as highlighted in the foray logo. With luck we may find choice edibles like chanterelles, hen-of-the-woods, aborted entoloma, black trumpets, and chicken-of-the-woods.

We may also be lucky enough to find rare species that have been recorded in Shenandoah National Park, including Boletellus pseudochrysenteroides, Multifurca ochricompacta, Butyriboletus roseopurpureus, Terana coerulea, Entoloma roseum, Gliophorus perplexus, Entoloma euchroum, Atheniella adonis, Inocybe tahquamenonensis, Pholiota flammans, Leucopholiota decorosa, and Wolfina aurantiopsis.

Field trip information can be found by following this link

Foray Faculty

Walt Sturgeon will be chief mycologist for the Foray. Walt is a past president of the Ohio Mushroom Society, and recipient of NAMA’s Award for Contributions to Amateur Mycology and NEMF’s Eximia Award. He is author or co-author of Waxcap Mushrooms of Eastern North America, Mushrooms of Ohio, and Mushrooms and Other Fungi of the West Virginia High Country. He is also an award-winning photographer; his pictures appear in many field guides.

Foray faculty will include more than 20 other speakers, field trip leaders, and identifiers;

Catherine Aime, associate professor of botany and plant pathology at Purdue and director of the Purdue herbaria. Catherine is an expert in the systematics, evolution, and biology of rust fungi.
Alan Bessette, mycologist and professor emeritus of biology at Utica College. Alan and his wife, Arleen, have authored more than 20 books, including Mushrooms of the Southeastern United States.
Arleen Bessette, amateur mycologist, photographer, and dyer. With her husband, Alan, Arleen has authored more than 20 books including Rainbow Beneath My Feet: A Mushroom Dyer’s Field Guide.
Michael Castellano, researcher at the U.S. Forest Service and associate professor at Oregon State University. Michael is an expert in the ecology and diversity of mycorrhizal fungi, particularly truffles.
Tradd Cotter, owner of Mushroom Mountain, a mushroom farm and research laboratory in South Carolina. Tradd is author of the book Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation./td>
Roy Halling, curator of mycology at the New York Botanical Garden. Roy works on mushroom systematics and mycogeography, with a particular focus on boletes.
Mark Jones, CEO of Sharondale Mushroom Farm near Charlottesville, VA. Mark studies and teaches low-input mushroom growing and intercropping mushrooms in food forests.
Jay Justice, co-founder of the Arkansas Mycological Society. Jay has studied the fungi of the southeast US for over 35 years.
Ryan Kepler, researcher at USDA's Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory.
Patrick Leacock, NAMA’s Voucher Committee coordinator for the Foray. Patrick is a mycologist at the Field Museum of Natural History and is working to build a mycoflora for Chicago’s 1,200 species.
James Lendemer, assistant curator of the Institute of Systematic Botany at the NY Botanical Garden. James is a lichen expert who has collected over 39,000 specimens for the NYBG and fungaria worldwide.
Gary Lincoff, author of The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms and many other publications. Gary teaches courses on mushroom identification worldwide.
Brian Looney, PhD candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Brian is studying macroevolutionary patterns in the russulas.
Shannon Nix, associate professor of biology at Clarion University. Shannon studies fungal ecosystems and teaches courses in mycology, microbiology, and electron microscopy.
Conrad Schoch, a scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at NIH. Conrad curates the fungal taxonomy at GenBank.
Dorothy Smullen, former president of the New Jersey Mycological Association. Dorothy has nearly 50 years' experience studying mushrooms.
Rod Tulloss, editor of the website Rod curates a fungarium that includes thousands of amanita specimens.
Debbie Viess,  Co-Founder of the Bay Area Mycological Society, based in Oakland, CA. She loves to teach, talk and write about fungi. She has a particular interest in the Genus Amanita, and has been collecting, documenting, and studying a wide variety of western fungal species for over 25 years.
Rytas Vilgalys, professor of biology at Duke University and curator of fungi at the Duke Herbarium. Rytas studies the genetics and natural history of fungi and the origins of fungal biodiversity.


Dyeing workshop with Susan Hopkins: Thursday afternoon. Foray participants can sign up for a mushroom dyeing workshop with Susan Hopkins, who has been practicing this craft for nearly 25 years. This 3.5 hour pre-foray workshop on Thursday afternoon will be a hands-on introduction to the best species of fungi to use and the general procedure for dyeing wool yarn a variety of colors. Each participant can expect to receive 15-20 short yarn samples dyed using 6-7 different species of fungi and 2-3 different mordants. The $35 workshop fee covers all materials and equipment, plus several handouts on mushroom dyeing.

Watercolor painting workshop with Denis Benjamin: Saturday 8:30AM-noon. Learn how to capture the beauty of mushrooms in watercolor in this half-day workshop. It is especially intended for beginners, but more experienced artists are also welcome. We will cover all the basics of watercolor painting, including papers, paints, basic techniques, lighting, staging your subject etc. All will paint at least one mushroom from live material during the class. Watercolor painting will give you new ways to view and observe mushrooms. Even those who claim that they can’t draw a stick-figure will be surprised at what they can really do. The $15 workshop fee will provide paper, palettes, a limited selection of paints and brushes and other materials. Those who have paints and brushes are encouraged to bring them.

Four yoga classes with Alexa Mergen: 7AM Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; 4PM Saturday. With close attention to alignment and breath, Alexa leads lessons that help you increase strength and flexibility of body and mind. With her Simple, Joyful Yoga style, she delights in adapting basics for beginners and creating subtle challenges for the practiced. Everyone welcome. Please bring a yoga mat. $20 fee covers all four classes.

In addition to these workshops, we have scheduled two additional free workshops during the foray:

Microscopy, taught by Shannon Nix (limit 12 people - second session may be scheduled if there is sufficient interest), and
Photography, taught by Bob Simmons.

Get The TeeShirt

When you register, you have the option of purchasing a foray TeeShirt, pictured below, for only $15! Available in several women's and men's sizes.