Crazy About Mushrooms
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Educational Programs

Below you'll find descriptions of the presentations and workshops I offer to nature clubs , young people, farmers, environmentalists, and others who wish to understand the vast potential and importance of fungi on this planet we call home.

When I first started teaching classes on mushrooms, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how many people are curious about fungi. Mushrooms have aroused suspicion and fear for millennia, despite their many uses. Fungi provide us with us penicillin, bread, beer, and untold bounties in our orchards, fields, meadows, and forests. For me, fungus represents the inherent mystery of our planet- terra incognita if you will- and it offers us a tremendous wealth of wisdom about nature. Unseen beneath our feet lies a network of fungi that helps carry the pulse of life to every corner of the earth, and it is both an honor and pleasure to serve as an advocate for these remarkable organisms.

Contact me for more information about coordinating a mushroom workshop, class, or lecture.

Crazy About Mushrooms: Mushroom Lore with Anna McHugh

What do the poisoned Emperor Claudius, the Aztec storm deity Quetzalcoatl and a 5,500 year-old Ice Man have in common? They were all crazy about mushrooms! "Crazy About Mushrooms" is a dynamic, multimedia presentation that brings the story of the mysterious mushroom to light.

Anna McHugh is an award-winning journalist, writer and mushroom lover from Nevada City, CA. In the fall of 2010, Anna produced a public radio documentary about mushrooms and the people who love them for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For the project, Anna chased down the most prestigious, quirky, and dedicated mushroom nuts in America and recorded their stories. Throughout the course of her travels Anna gathered a basket load of mushroom lore. From tales of Russian mobsters trying to corner the morel market to discussions of how to use fungi to remediate contaminated coastlines, Anna's archive of interviews breathes life into the science and enchantment of mycology. Using a blend of recordings, images and scientific storytelling, Anna illustrates how a passion for mushrooms transforms our relationship to the planet.

Mushroom Cultivation with Anna McHugh

Learn the ancient art and science of growing edible mushrooms at home! Join Anna McHugh for a lively exploration of culinary and medicinal mushroom cultivation. Anna will demonstrate how to grow various species using readily available, local supplies. She also explores the nutritional and medicinal value of different mushrooms…and how best to prepare them for the table! Many people think that growing mushrooms is very difficult and requires specialized equipment, but nothing could be further from the truth; with a little patience, luck and a few simple techniques, you too can enjoy home-grown mushrooms as a part of your garden bounty.

Finally, Anna addresses how fungi are critical to environmental health. 90% of all plants have fungal partners, and agriculturalists can use fungi to promote healthy soil and plant life. Almost every habitat on earth thrives in part because of mushroom mycelium, and learning about these organisms is a new and exciting chapter in our understanding of the planet.

Fantastic Fungus: The History, Ecology and Weird Science of Mushrooms

The fungal kingdom is vast and mysterious. There are at least 1.5 million species of fungi, and fungus permeates 99% of the earth's soil-- it's literally everywhere. In this family-friendly presentation, mushroom lover Anna McHugh uses images, audio recordings, stories and live samples to shed light on the fungi-- what they are, how they grow, and why they're important to healthy ecosystems. She also shares some of the weird and wild traits of the fungi. Since there are so many species in Kingdom Fungi, new and strange things are being discovered all the time. From Amazonian mushrooms that glow in the dark to molds that solve mazes, the fungal kingdom is full of surprises!

What People Say:

"Anna dove into the world of mushroomers and discovered what drives us to the hunt. She is a born storyteller. I could listen to her tales for hours!"

Liana Hain, Mycological Society of San Francisco

"Anna gave a stimulating presentation. I've heard from some of our members and they were quite impressed. It was great to learn more about those cute little fungi."

David Renault, Austin Organic Gardeners Society

"Anna's presentation was the best one of the year! We've had wonderful feedback about her talk. Wow!"

Don Moore, Oregon Mycological Society

"I can't tell you how much I enjoyed Anna McHugh's presentation at the Telluride Mushroom Festival - really superfine! What was most entrancing to me was her use of audio to make every mushroom lover's voice and passion shine through. This was really so beautiful in so many ways, and it proved once again what I have long believed — that mushroom people are even more interesting than the mushrooms!"

David Rose, Connecticut-Manchester Mycological Association

Selected List of Past Presentations