Fun With Fungi Wednesday at Nature Nights

Nature Nights
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Date: Wednesday, June 26
Time: 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Vermilion Community College
1900 E. Camp Street, Room CL104

So many people have asked about mushrooms and other fungi and expressed their desire to learn more about them. This will be the year that Ely Field Naturalists connects those people with mycologist, Anna Gerenday, who will bring her knowledge of fungi to feed your interests. Studying fungi in 2019 starts next week at Nature Nights and also through some field explorations leading up to more in-depth studies during August and this fall.

In addition to Anna’s Nature Nights presentation, next week (weather permitting) there will be field trips to local areas to explore and collect and examine local fungi. Wednesday and/or Thursday mornings, Anna will join a carpool from the Ely Chamber of Commerce Parking Lot at 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Get to know Anna

“I am from Europe (Hungary) where wild mushrooms were commonly collected and preserved by drying for winter. I left Hungary when I was 15 and knew nothing about fungi except that I was not supposed to pick or eat the white ones that were white below the cap. 

I became interested in fungi in the 70’s while living in New Jersey. It all started on a balmy October afternoon while walking in the woods. I started noticing these strange creatures on the ground, and about a month later, I mentioned those weird mushrooms I had seen. At that party, a graduate student who was studying fungi, mentioned a local mycology club featured in the New York Times.

The New Jersey Mycological Association is where my mycological career began. As an active member, I attended many mushroom forays and mushroom lectures, served in official positions, attended workshops, and upon moving to Minnesota, I joined the Minnesota Mycological Society for more of the same. Although the mushrooms looked somewhat the same, Minnesota seemed like a foreign country. In Minnesota, I completed a masters degree in Botany and later assisted in developing a lab at the University of Minnesota. 

Along with increasing knowledge of Minnesota fungi came greater involvement in the MN Mycological Society. I served as vice president, president, newsletter editor and organized a national mushroom foray, and weekend forays. I worked with mycology students and faculty at the University and conducted fungi identifications at bioblitzes.

 I am now retired from my job in the Entomology Department. I am spending many days working in the Fungarium, and fueling my mycological interest in fungal conservation, in the amazing and ever expanding knowledge of the role of fungi in our lives and in the enormous role of fungi in our environment. “