iNaturalist

Document your findings

We are committed to documenting biodiversity and many of our members use the iNaturalist app to document their finds. This generates valuable records for science and conservation.


Bonus: expert identifiers will ID your specimens. We have four projects – one for NYC & the 5 boroughs proper, one for outside NYC & the surrounding areas, one for Slime molds of NYC, Bolete patrol and one for DNA Sequenced Collections – and we encourage you to join them. Instructions on how to use iNaturalist are here if you need them.


Trulli
Elan Trybuch taking photos in the field

FAQ

Frequently asked questions
What time does the walk actually start?
  • We wait 15 minutes for people who are late (unless the walk starts with the arrival of a particular train or bus). If you are ever very late or lost, text the walk leader, whose phone number is provided in the email. They will guide you to the group’s location.
  • We usually stop for lunch somewhere between 1 and 2pm though feel free to eat whenever you’re hungry.
How long do walks last?
  • Walks often last for quite a long time. Walks can end up being as long as five hours or more on a good mushroom day. But that does not mean you have to stick around
  • New York City walks feel free to leave whenever you have seen enough, are hungry or tired.
  • Walks outside of the city: You will sign your name on a sign-up sheet. Please notify the walk leader if you are leaving the walk early. We do not want to leave anyone behind in the forest, so we try and keep track of walk participants via the sign-up sheet.
  • Note that cell reception is often spotty or non-existent on our walks upstate
How should I prepare?
  • Bring a lunch and make sure to stay hydrated, especially in the summer.
  • Protect yourself against ticks and mosquitoes (insect repellent and long pants). Ticks in particular are a year-round hazard these days.
  • We highly recommend documenting your finds on iNaturalist, a great website and app that records your observations for posterity. Instructions on how to use it can be found here.
  • A loupe/hand lens is a great tool for looking at important details and we use them a lot. We will lend you one for the walk but you might decide to buy one yourself. A cheap triplex loupe (x10) can be had for under $10. The club’s favorite hand lens is a 10x hand lens made by Belomo.
  • Many walks in the summar and fall end up at a table where we spread out our finds and discuss them. Do consider bringing a brown paper bag for collecting interesting finds for that discussion. Fungi are best stored in paper bags, never in plastic bags – plastic speeds decomposition which makes identification difficult or impossible.
What is the etiquette with regard to picking edible mushrooms?
  • Always make sure it is legal to pick in the area where you are picking edibles. All New York City Parks and cemeteries as well as some state parks and reserves have rules that prohibit collecting fungi.
  • As a courtesy, please do not pick in the areas of scheduled club walks in the couple of weeks beforehand.
  • In areas where it’s legal to pick, if you find fungi in abundance consider sharing them with others.
  • Do not over-pick edibles. Leave some for others, for the animals who depend on them and for reproduction.
  • Make sure the edible fungi you are collecting are in good condition and not buggy or tough before harvesting.
  • If you are not sure if a mushroom is edible, do not collect a whole bunch – just take one or two for identification purposes.
  • Do not ask people for their edibles spots, unless you know them well 🙂
  • When you first try a new species, be 100% sure it is what you think it is.
  • Eat only small amounts of a new species to make sure it agrees with you, since people can be allergic even to common edibles.
How may I be a responsible park user?
  • Be mindful of the natural world – don’t step on or trample wildflowers, or other plant and animal life. When an area is fenced off it’s usually because it is newly planted or contains sensitive flora and fauna, eg nesting birds.
  • If you are turning over logs and branches, put them back where they were. They provide shelter to a whole microcosm of creatures
  • Pick no more than one or two of a specimen – leave some for others to enjoy and admire. Spare beautiful specimens next to trails; they might just spark curiosity about fungi in the next person.
  • Consider donating to or volunteering for the many organizations that maintain our parks.
Can I bring a friend?
  • Because of capacity constraints walks are for members only.
Can I bring my dog?
  • Well-behaved, leashed dogs are always welcome.
Are the walks appropriate for kids?
  • Yes! We love kids of all ages. They are some of our best finders.
Are there bathrooms at the walk locations?
  • Most of our walks start and end somewhere where there is a restroom.
NYC Urban Park Rangers Led Mother’s Day Mushroom ID Hike
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