THE MYCOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF WASHINGTON, DC

The Mycological Association of Washington (MAW) is a nonprofit corporation, founded with a purpose to disseminate a reliable body of knowledge regarding fungi. Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in mushrooms. Our members range from professional mycologists to complete beginners;  they join the association to learn and share information about fungi, and to meet other mycophiles.

Monthly Meetings

MAW holds meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. They are free and open to the public. These meetings usually include three components: 1) a brief period of club business; 2) identification of mushrooms that club members have brought to the meeting; and 3) a guest speaker. Programs for past meetings have included such diverse topics as: 

  • truffle culture (including a tasting), 
  • a panel discussion on hunting the elusive morel, 
  • tips on mushroom photography, 
  • the use of fungi in traditional Chinese medicine,
  • treatment for (usually deadly) amanita poisoning, 
  • mushroom reproductive biology, 
  • weather prediction, 
  • the relationships between mushrooms and plants, and 
  • how to use mushroom identification keys.

Mushroom Walks

MAW holds at least a dozen mushroom hunting forays each year, from morel season in April until the cool days before the first frost in November. Most forays last one to four hours and are held in local parks and forests, though some are as far away as Front Royal, Va., or southern Pennsylvania. Forays are a great chance to get outside and become more familiar with the natural world. Two or three times a year, MAW holds overnight weekend forays. At the annual Camp Sequanota weekend in September, we usually find and identify nearly 200 distinct species in one weekend!

Hands-on Mycology

MAW encourages members not only to develop a familiarity with common edible species but also to learn scientific names, correctly describe morphological characteristics, and independently identify finds using dichotomous keys. It might sound like a lot of work, but many members find our hands-on forays and workshops facilitate natural learning. At every monthly meeting, we have a table of locally gathered mushrooms for attendees to explore.

Culinary Programs

MAW members have been picking and eating wild edible mushrooms since well before it was fashionable. If you're willing to put in some effort, MAW’s experts can help you become confident enough to identify choice edibles like morels, chanterelles, chicken-of-the-woods, honey mushrooms, oysters, puffballs, shaggy manes, blewits, and more.

Culinary events are usually scheduled once or twice a year and are members-only. These programs allow members to share their best mushroom dishes and recipes. If it’s a particularly good year, a tasting might feature porcini risotto, morel quiche, chicken-of-the-woods satay, chanterelle crostini, maitake stir-fry, puffball Parmesan, and even candy cap ice cream.

Why should I join?

As a member you will receive our quarterly newsletter the Sporophore, which includes great information about mushrooms you're likely to see in our area, and updates on club activities.

Membership is required to attend our culinary events. Some forays are also members-only; others charge $5 to non-members.

Your membership dues will be used to fund club activities, such as bringing in our monthly guest speakers.

How can I help?

MAW is a volunteer-run organization, and we'd love your help! Just send an email to the Board member responsible for the area you are interested in. (To avoid spam, we're showing only the first half of email addresses below. All MAW email addresses end in @mawdc.org.)

  • Organizing local MAW forays: Forays@...
  • Guest speakers: Programs@...
  • Organizing culinary events: Culinary@...
  • Writing for the newsletter or helping to publish it: Newsletter@...
  • Bookkeeping: Treasurer@...
  • Website: Webmaster@...
  • Anything else: President@...

Do you want to serve on the board and head up one of these functions? Nominations are generally taken at the November meeting, and voted on at the December meeting. If you're interested in serving, it's best to let the current President know before the November meeting. 

The MAW Executive Board positions (with their current occupants) are:

PresidentWilliam Needham
Vice President
John Harper
Vice President 2Mitch Fournet
SecretaryAgnes Demianski
Treasurer Elizabeth Hargrave
Culinary Corinne Weible
Newsletter EditorThomas Roehl
Foray Chair Jared Urchek
Membership Chair Tom McCoy
Program Chair Connie Durnan
NAMA Trustee Bruce Boyer
Science Advisor
Shannon Nix


Did You Know? 

  • Fungi are not plants. In fact, they’re more closely related to humans than plants. 
  • Not all mushrooms are pests. Many form mutualistic relationships with trees. Fungi are a sign a forest is thriving. 
  • Only a small percentage of fungi are poisonous, but some of the most common fungi are deadly.
  • One of the largest organisms on Earth is a fungus. 
  • Mushrooms can eject their spores at accelerations of up to 180,000 g. 
  • Some fungi like European truffles rank among the most expensive foodstuffs in the world. 
  • Unlike many scientific disciplines, amateurs can make big contributions to mycology. Scientists estimate there might be as many as 5.1 million species of fungi on Earth, of which only a small portion have been identified. Mycologists are regularly finding new species. 
  • Mushrooms are great for crafters. You can dye with some, make etchings on others, and turn one variety into felt.


Comments or questions? Contact us at info@mawdc.org.

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