Fenwickfield's picture

Courses on basic identificaton

I wonder if there could be a list posted on courses available to learn about Fungi.I have trawled the web and there only seem's to be a few forays but with groups you have to join to attend.The area I live seem's to have nothing,I just thought it would be beneficial for those who have a keen interest in this subject and want to further there knowledge.When I go out hunting I want to be able to identify the little grey/brown ones that all look the same,not just the very easy ones,plus it would provide a better idea of what is out there as there must be so much that is just passed by as you know you have no chance of knowing what it is.The books are good but you need hands on experience,I have just bought some chemicals to help with Russula identification but a bit of advice would be great.



Sarah West's picture

Local groups

Hi there
The best thing, as you say, is hands on experience. I've picked up things by just going out in the field with a couple of books and sitting down and working my way through things. However, as you imply, it's much better to go out with people who know more than you do. Your local natural history society (I think they have a base at the Hancock museum) will have a Mycological section, and they will be very welcoming to new people. They might let you come on a couple of outings first before you decide whether to be a paid up member (that's what we do in the YNU). And then once you're a member, just follow a friendly mycologist around asking incessant questions (that's what I do anyway!!)
The Natural History Museum has a list of local societies - it's being updated at present but is a start for you http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/research-curation/library/digital-library/nat...

Good luck!

Sarah West
OPAL Community Scientist
Yorkshire and Humber

Fenwickfield's picture


Hi Sarah
I will get in touch with them it is about 35miles from were I live but worth a couple of trip's and maybe they may start a small group up closer to me in the future.



miked's picture

I would add that it is very

I would add that it is very useful to meet the real people on the forays as there are some species that are quite easy once you are shown but can be tricky just looking in the books. Don't expect to remember all the things you see on the foray or other day with them but just learning one or two can be very useful especially if they are ones you've had difficulty with in the past. Also each group of people is likely to have experts in different groups of fungi as there are very few people (if any) who have a good knowledge of all species because there are so many species.
Also don't be afraid to start your own group as all the different natural history groups and societies were started by someone so it could be you!

vburton's picture

Another possibility is the

Another possibility is the Field Studies Council who run beginner and more advanced fungi identification courses. Their website is www.field-studies-council.org

Martincito's picture

Just came across your post

Just came across your post and thought I'd add a mention for the Association of British Fungus Groups. I'm not yet a member but intend to become one very soon. They can put you in touch with ABFG groups as well as providing a quarterly magazine. They also sell a range of stains and reagents including the elusive Metzler's reagent. Their web site is http://abfg.org/.

Fenwickfield's picture


I had a look at the British Mycology society two days ago but I was told to write a C.V to be able to become a member plus it seemed to be more for professional's rather than amateurs.I then looked at the ABFG site and that seem's more for all level's plus much cheaper there membership is September to August and I have just downloaded the application form.The magazine seem's good plus they have a free identification service too I think it was about £32.I saw the chemical's and thought that will be great too but you have to be a member to buy them but if we want to id those pesky Russula's we need the elusive Metzler's reagent.I am going to post mine off this week also they have a microscope section on what to get so the magazine may have second hand ones and retailers.It has stopped raining up north now so off hunting for fungi hopefully one's I can ID no Russula's allowed.


Martincito's picture

I put my form in the post

I put my form in the post today, then found a suspected Russula!

Nicky Cocksedge's picture

Wildlife trusts

Might be worth checking your local wildlife trust too - mine does fungi identification walks & workshops

Martincito's picture

Good idea Nicky. I'm pretty

Good idea Nicky. I'm pretty sure the local trust does them as well, at least the walks, though I'm so new to fungi I haven't sampled any yet.

Fenwickfield's picture

Walk alone

I don't really fancy the idea of trailing through the woods with a group of people,I think the A. B.F.G was a good thing to join as you can send samples for identification plus email help too.I prefer to wander in the peace and quite the only thing I want to here chattering is the birds.
the solitary fungi forayer.


Martincito's picture

Actually I feel pretty much the same

Actually I feel pretty much the same and it is reassuring to find I'm not the only one who prefers to commune with nature and our little fungal friends in solitude. On the other hand I'm sure I'd learn a lot from rubbing shoulders with a few more experienced mycologists (ie almost any mycologist). Same goes for bird watching, where I visit Minsmere from time to time and see a few bluetits and chaffinches (mostly on the feeders outside the cafe) then read the "What's about" sheet to find that the place is actually swarming with flocks of rarities!

spotted cat's picture

You can always do one or two

You can always do one or two outings with other people to learn from the more experienced, then go back to your solitary foraying to put your new knowledge into practice. It's not all or nothing - you wouldn't be obliged to stick with those noisy groups for all eternity! :)

D.M.H.'s picture

Dont forget to fill in the

Dont forget to fill in the giftaid form when returning ABFG membership form :-)


All given ID's are subject to error/ommissions. Please seek independent verification before acting on ANY advice given. BE SAFE =)