THE MYCOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF WASHINGTON, DC

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. Please read all of the information on this page before attending a foray.

Foray Notifications

To respond to current conditions, we generally schedule forays on short notice. Foray notices are sent in two ways:

MAW members. MAW members receive an email with full information for every foray.  Members are not required to RSVP to attend  - you can just show up!  MAW members can also post on the "Ride Share" forum page to car pool to forays.



Non-Members (via Meetup).  Non-Members of MAW may join MAW's Meetup group to receive notices of general information for each foray. Non-MAW members must RSVP via Meetup and pay a $5 fee online, and will then be provided by direct email location details for the foray.  Some forays may be closed to non-members or may have limits on the number of non-members who can attend.  RSVP payments are made via PayPal or credit card Here.

General Foray Guidelines

  • Please do not pick mushrooms at a foray location during the prior week.
  • Some forays may be advertised as identification only and others as collection discretion advised. Please see the Park Regulations section of this page for a detailed explanation of each.
  • All forays begin at 10:00 a.m. unless otherwise stated. Walks generally start on time, so please come a little early and socialize.
  • Forays generally last about 3 hours, so you may want to bring along water and a snack.
  • Children and minors must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Bring a basket or something to carry the mushrooms in, and wax or paper bags to store them.
  • Other useful items include a knife, camera, hand lens and books for identification.
  • Sometimes groups can be large, and it can be quite difficult for the leader to keep track of everyone. For that reason, we encourage all participants to bring a whistle along, and in the unfortunate event you become separated from the group, your cell phone and/or a compass could be critical.
  • Dress for the weather. Layers are particularly useful.
  • Ticks that potentially carry Lyme disease are common in the mid Atlantic. Pants, long sleeve shirts, closed toe shoes, hats and insect repellent can all help minimize exposure to these tiresome pests.
  • Some terrain may be rugged, so suitable footwear is important. Walking staffs can be helpful on uneven ground.

Respecting Park Regulations

The purpose of MAW-sponsored forays is educational – to teach you how to recognize the distinguishing characteristics of mushrooms in their habitat, with the guidance of expert identifiers. Collecting for the table is not the purpose of most forays. 

Public parks often have restrictions designed to protect the habitat, and by their general terms, these restrictions may be interpreted to prohibit mushroom collecting. MAW policy is to discourage violation of established park rules and avoid confrontations where the rules are uncertain. Foray leaders will not act as enforcers of park rules, but if you should decide to collect mushrooms (or anything else) in such areas, you are on your own in terms of dealing with local authorities and possible fines.

Regardless of park policy, we discourage all collection methods that disturb the ecology of an area (or the mycelium of a particular fungus). However, disturbance of individual fruiting bodies is generally not harmful to the fungus itself or the larger ecosystem. As we understand it, picking a specimen mushroom and turning it over to examine it for identification and study on site would not be a violation of any park rules that prohibit collecting. 

Consistent with the foregoing, some of our forays are designated as "identification only" and others as "collection discretion advised." 

  • Identification only will be used when it is certain that a particular park has clear rules against collection that we understand represent a considered policy that is enforced by the park rangers. Rock Creek Park is a good example: the park has a clear policy that nothing can be removed from the park. MAW members should be aware that the fine for collecting mushrooms in Rock Creek Park can be $500 or more. 

  • Collection discretion advised is for instances where the administrative policy regarding collecting is somewhat uncertain. We may have had encounters with park authorities in that or a related park in the past that left us with an impression that there may be an issue.

If you are aware of areas that look like good places for MAW forays, please send an email to forays@mawdc.org so we can investigate further. MAW is particularly interested in connecting with private landowners who have an interest in knowing what fungi is growing on their property, and who would be willing to allow MAW collection forays as a way to help them learn about what they have. 

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

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