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Workshop for fungi fans

Tara Delisle (left to right), Deena Williamson, Louisa Chapman, Dominique Morin and Alex Tranq listen intently as Dr. Bill Chapman presents his information during a mushroom identification workshop Thursday at the Gibraltar Room.  - Sean Glanville photo
Tara Delisle (left to right), Deena Williamson, Louisa Chapman, Dominique Morin and Alex Tranq listen intently as Dr. Bill Chapman presents his information during a mushroom identification workshop Thursday at the Gibraltar Room.
— image credit: Sean Glanville photo

Around 30 people attended a Mushroom Identification Workshop Thursday night at the Gibraltar Room hosted by Dr. Bill Chapman.

“We were pleased with the turnout, there’s only so much interest in trying to attract people to this type of thing,” said Chapman’s wife Louisa. “Our goal is to eventually have a group and form some kind of mycological (study of mushrooms) group in our community.”

The Chapmans and many people attending the workshop plan to go on a mushroom foray this fall.

“Fall is often a good time for mushroom picking as the weather gets a bit cooler and wetter,” said Chapman.

Anybody interested in joining the foray can contact Bill or Louisa at lbchapman@shaw.ca.

Bill, who holds a PhD as a soil scientist, can also provide expert advice on anybody with questions about mushrooms.

“Many times people find a mushroom and they either want to know what it is or if they can eat it or in some cases they’ve already eaten it and become ill. Bill can often help them identify it,” notes Louisa.

Many larger communities like Vancouver and Victoria have mycological clubs and a lot of people pick mushrooms like the pine or morel commercially.

Mushroom are actually a hot commercial commodity, especially the morel or fire mushroom as they’re commonly referred to. These mushrooms appear the year after a major forest fire.

“After a big fire everybody gets excited and picks hundreds of dollars worth a day. They’re a luxury especially in Europe where people adore them and they go for big bucks,” mentions Louisa.

“After the big fires in 2003 in Barriere, Bill and I went down and picked them.”

The Chapmans pick mostly for their own personal consumption and how simple it is to dry and freeze them.

They continue to be fascinated by the ever increasing nutritional benefits that fungi has been garnering.

“People for years have been saying mushrooms have no nutritional value but they have many health benefits including high-protein and anti-cancer agents,” he said.

Oriental people have been using them to treat illnesses for centuries as well,” points out Chapman.

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