2018 SOMA Wild Mushroom Camp

SOMA Camp > Class Schedule > Instructors

Faculty Biographies

Alissa Allen

Alissa Allen is an amateur mycologist and dye instructor and the founder of Mycopigments; she specializes in presenting regional mushroom and lichen dye palettes to communities all over the country. Her teaching style reaches out to novices, and her knowledge keeps experienced mushroom hunters and fiber artists engaged. Alissa has been sharing her passion for mushroom and lichen dyes and collaborating with other dyers for over 13 years. She has written articles for her website as well as Fibershed and Fungi Magazine. She is the founder and moderator for two active discussion groups Mushroom and Lichen Dyers United and The Mushroom Dyers Trading Post.  She is dedicated to encouraging the art and science of mushroom and lichen dyeing through engaging community participation.  To read more about her work, visit her website http://mycopigments.com/.

Norm Andresen

Norm has a deep seated interest in the scientific understanding of our biological world. A past president of the Mycological Society of San Francisco, he also served as their foray coordinator for 21 years. He has advised on numerous mushroom cultivation projects and conducted mycological surveys. For years now, he has been leading forays and helping ID specimens at SOMA Camp. Ask him about the genus Russula.

Dorothy Beebee

Dorothy Beebee is a scientific illustrator and mushroom dyer who collaborated with the late Miriam C. Rice for over 35 years, documenting and illustrating Miriam’s books about using local California fungi to make mushroom dyes, polypore paper, and mushroom watercolor pigments.

Dorothy has presented mushroom dye workshops for Mycological Societies across the USA, taught in International Fungi & Fiber Symposia worldwide, and is active in the Sonoma County Mycological Assn. (SOMA), for whom she organized and instructed mushroom dye classes for over 15 years. She is currently the President and the Archivist of the International Mushroom Dye Institute.

Shelly Benson

Shelly Benson is the president of the California Lichen Society (CALS) and has been studying lichens for the past 16 years.  She received a Master of Science degree in 2001 from the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada, where she studied lichen ecology in the canopy of old growth forests in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  She worked on several lichen inventories in the San Francisco Bay Area and has led numerous lichen walks for CALS.  Shelly is interested in using lichens as indicators for air quality and climate change. 

Briana Boaz

I am a second year PhD student at UC Berkeley, in the Integrative Biology Department. I am broadly interested in plant-microbe interactions, and in understanding the drivers of aboveground and below ground community structure and function. I am particularly interested in the biogeographic patterns of invasive plant species and their mycorrhizal symbionts, and applications to effective management and restoration strategies.

Kingman Bond-Graham

Tom Bruns

Professor Tom Bruns received a PhD from the University of Michigan in Botany in 1987 where he worked on molecular systematics of Suillus.  He went on to a postdoctoral position at the University of California Berkeley in 1987, and he joined the faculty there in 1989.  His research is focused on fungal ecology and systematics and he has published over 150 scientific papers in this area.

He is probably best known for his development of tools for molecular ecology and for the application of these tools toward understanding ectomycorrhizal fungal communities.  He is a recent past president of the Mycological Society of America, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the California Academy of Science, and the Mycological Society of America.  He teaches introductory and advanced courses on fungi at Berkeley, and has won teaching awards from the College of Natural Resources and the Mycological Society of America for his efforts.

Marilyn Buss

Marilyn Buss is a felter who uses mushroom dyed wool to embellish her work.  She takes great satisfaction in the processes of gathering, dyeing and using the great variety of mushroom colors.  

David Campbell

David Campbell is president of the newly formed Mycological Society of Marin County. He has been collecting, studying, eating, teaching and writing about wild mushrooms for over 45 years. He served more than a decade on council for the Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF), including two terms as president. Primarily focused on edible and poisonous mushrooms, he has lead numerous fungal forays for MSSF and the Sonoma Mycological Association (SOMA). 

David remains active with the San Francisco Poison Control Center for mushroom poisoning incident response in the greater Bay Area. He served as foray leader and event facilitator for several years at author David Arora's annual mycological field seminars. An expert mycophagist (one who safely eats a wide variety of wild mushrooms) and experienced outdoor group leader, David Campbell is the long-time Foray Director for Wild About Mushrooms Company, teaching basic mycology and organizing wild mushroom events and adventures around California and beyond. His international tour company, MycoVentures, expands his horizons ever further; including truffle, mushroom, and wine tours in Italy and Croatia....

Michael Castellano

I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1956 and grew up in the Los Angeles, CA area and on Long Island, NY.  I received A.A.S. in Forestry in 1978 from Paul Smith's College, New York, a B.S. in Forest Management in 1981 from Oregon State University (OSU), a M.S. in Tree Physiology in 1983 from OSU, and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology in 1989 from OSU.  I began my professional career in 1979 as a technician with the research office of Weyerhaeuser Co. in Columbus, Mississippi.  I began working for the USDA, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station in 1980 as a Forester trainee.  My current position is that of Research Forester assigned to the USDA, Forest Service, Northern Research Station but still stationed in Corvallis, Oregon.  I am a courtesy Professor of Forest Science at OSU.  I have done extensive research on the applied aspects of ectomycorrhizal applications in forest ecosystems.  For the last 20 years my research has focused on increasing our understanding of the natural history and identification of fleshy macro-fungi (particularly truffles)  in forested ecosystems.  This directly relates to how ecosystems can be maintained and restored and involves aspects of the ecology, biology and functional diversity of forest fungi.  My current main interests and expertise include biodiversity of macrofungi (particularly truffle species) in forests, and managing rare, sensitive and endemic macrofungi.

Ariel Cowan

Ariel "Ari" Cowan recently received her master's degree from Oregon State University in Forest Ecosystems & Society. Her graduate research was with the USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station's Forest Mycology lab. Originally from Brooklyn NY, her first love for mycology was found in the hardwood forests of the Northeast where Ariel attended SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Eventually, the fungal bounty of the west coast won her over.

Darvin DeShazer

Darvin DeShazer is retired from the Science Department at St. Vincent High School in Petaluma, CA where for twenty-eight years he taught Biology and Advanced Placement Biology. In the past, he also taught Physics, Chemistry and Honors Chemistry. His scientific training was guided by Dr. David Largent at Humboldt State University where he obtained a degree in Biology and teaching certificates in Life Science and Chemistry. He is one of the cofounders of the Sonoma County Mycological Association and serves as the Club Science Advisor. In 2003 he was the mycologist and keynote speaker for the NAMA Regional Foray in Northern California. His expertise in mushrooms stems from more than 35 years in the field and a personal library of over 1,000 mushroom books. His love for hunting mushrooms has resulted in over 9,000 color photos on MushroomObserver.org.

Tellur Fenner

Tellur Fenner is an edible/medicinal plant researcher & educator and has spent the past two decades traveling extensively throughout the country while studying, collecting, and using wild plant foods/medicines from all the major U.S bioregions. During this time period Tellur attended a number of herbal medicine schools and also completed a bachelor's degree at Prescott College where he majored in the study of western herbalism. As an herbalist of the "generalist" persuasion, he believes in the importance of an interdisciplinary practice which integrates the study of botany, ethnobotany, botanical pharmacy, human physiology, phytochemistry, and other biological sciences. He has taught classes and led trips for the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley, San Francisco Botanical Garden, UC Botanical Garden, Chico State Herbarium, Bastyr University in WA, California Academy of Sciences, Merritt College, California Historical Society, Pepperwood Preserve in Sonoma County, American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as a number of other organizations. In addition to offering regular weekend workshops throughout the year, he also runs a comprehensive 12-month (240 hour) classroom/field based academic program titled: "Edible & Medicinal Plants of California: A Bioregional Exploration". He is the owner/director of the Blue Wind School of Botanical Studies located in Ukiah, CA.

David Gardella

David is an artist and adult and youth educator based in Oakland, CA.  He works in many different mediums which often include visual, ecological, and physical methods.  When not creating art, David teaches a variety of art courses throughout the West Coast and coordinates programming on a rooftop garden at the JCCSF in San Francisco.  He is the Past President of the Mycological Society of San Francisco and has been on the governing council since 2009.

Sara Gibson

I live deep in the Siuslaw National Forest with my little family of foragers.  When I am not hunting for mushrooms, I am dying wool with them, eating them, reading about them or dreaming about the next rainy season. I am fortunate to live and work in an area where I can hike for miles in any direction and come home with edibles or fungi for the depot.  I incorporate  fungi dye into hand spun yarn, felt work, crochet and knitted projects.  

John Grant

John Enjoys the outdoors.  He is an avid gardener and hiker.  John has backpacked in the Lassen area, Marble Mountains, the Grand Tetons and the Grand Canyon.  He because interested in mushrooms five years ago and began assisting in various mushroom classes.  He is hoping to transfer the knowledge he has learned to others.

Kathleen Harrison

Kathleen Harrison is an ethnobotanist who has done extensive fieldwork with an indigenous Mazatec clan in Oaxaca, Mexico, as well as with other cultures that practice shamanism infused with psychoactive plants or mushrooms. She co-founded and runs Botanical Dimensions, based in Occidental, CA, which sponsors the new Ethnobotany Library and the annual Ethnobotany Festival & Symposium.   

Marilyn Hornor

Marilyn fell in love with paper when she taught in Japan many long years ago. Since retirement from teaching she has been experimenting with making paper in her backyard studio each summer. She learned about making paper from fungi at SOMA camp. She loves the possibilities of this medium.

Nicholas Janson

Nicholas Janson may be seen brewing beer, making wine, hiking, or even swinging a golf club. However, his real passion lies in the forests that surround us. An extreme mycophile and mycophagist, Nicholas greatly enjoys hunting wild edible mushrooms and has cultivated a love for all things having to do with eating mushrooms.

Stephanie Jarvis

Proprietor of Napa Valley Fungi, Stephanie Jarvis tests vineyard soils for beneficial fungi (mycorrhizae), consults on truffle orchard projects, and cultivates medicinal and culinary mushrooms using wine industry waste products. She is a certified Arborist and a certified Tree Risk Assessor through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) for whom she teaches accredited seminars on fungal identification and ecology for better diagnostics of tree-health. Stephanie is completing her Masters of Science in Ecology and Systematic Mycology at San Francisco State University under the guidance of Dr. Dennis Desjardin, and applying to a PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley with Dr. Tom Bruns. She spent her undergraduate years at Sonoma State University studying Mycology with Dr. Chris Kjeldsen and Sudden Oak Death with Dr. Richard Whitkus and Dr. Hall Cushman.  She has worked as an intern for Dr. John Holiday at the medicinal fungi company Aloha Medicinals, and has attended cultivation seminars at Fungi Perfecti with Paul Stamets. Stephanie plans a life-long career in the world of Mycology and Arboriculture while enjoying the hobbies of aerial silk acrobatics, acting at ACT in San Francisco, tennis, cooking, and of course - foraging for fungi.  

For inquiries and questions, please contact her at:
NapaValleyFungi@yahoo.com
www.NapaValleyFungi.com

Robert Kourik

Author & Publisher (Metamorphic Press) of:

Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape - Naturally, 1986. (Still in print.)
Graywater Use in the Landscape, 1988.
Roots Demystified: Change Your Gardening Habits To Help Roots Thrive, April,  2008.
Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates, 2nd Edition, 2009.
No-Dig Gardening, 2010.
Greater Garden Yields with Drip Irrigation, (It’s not just for droughts anymore.), 2012.
Garden Myths: the Good, the Bad and the Unbelievable, 2013.
Understanding Roots, discover how to make your garden flourish,
2015

Author of:

Pruning, clipping with confidence, (Smith & Hawken/Workman Publishing, June 1997).
The Lavender Garden, (Chronicle Books, 1998).
The Tree & Shrub Finder, (Taunton Press, 2000).

Co-author of:

Composting, (Ortho Books, 1992).
The Naturally Elegant Home, (Little, Brown & Co., 1992).
Cooking from the Gourmet's Garden, (The Cole Group, 1994). 

Ken Litchfield

Ken Litchfield began his career as a botanist, biological illustrator, and instructor as a student in the art and biology departments at Texas State University. Ken is currently a naturalist with a professional background working and teaching in science, writing, technical illustration, computer graphics, photography, lapidary, and human health and fitness. He consults, instructs, and trains at various organizations and institutions and lives and works on a farm. In the Landscape Horticulture Department at Merritt Community College in Oakland Ken teaches Mushroom Cultivation, Beneficial Beasts in the Garden and Landscape, and Growing and Using Healthful Herbs, basic "applied biology" utilizing the Mushroom, Animal, and Plant Kingdoms in the garden, each with beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels, electives toward the Landscape Horticulture Permaculture Certificate. He is also the Cultivation Chair for the Mycological Society of San Francisco, and incorporates the fermentation arts into his activities and teachings.

Zachary Mazi

Deeply impassioned with understanding this planet that we call home, Zachary Mazi has explored a wide range of topics and draws connections to inspire others here in Earth.  His background ranges from and BS in Geological Sciences, Permaculture and land remediation techniques, wild-crafting and herbal studies.  He has made a name for himself in California with a focus on healing foods, medicinal mushrooms, and knowing the wild-crafted foods; In 2014 he gave lectures on topics ranging from "The Kitchen Farmacy: The Art of Haute Healing" to "The Circle of Nutrition: Tying Chaos Theory to a New Concept of Health."  He sits on the Medicinal Mushroom Committee of NAMA.  Zachary's current focus is to bring together seemingly diverse modes of study and to link them conceptually to show just how huge and wonderful this world before us us.  He runs a program of self-discovery entitled "You 2.0: A ground-breaking work on Claiming Your 'Earthright.'" Drawing from the ancient past, and glimpsing the distant future, he believes that we are of one planet, one race, one body, and one consciousness, and that all studies can be united into a Unified Theory of Being Human.  At the core of this belief is a message: the world deserves us at our best; let's strive to achieve together.

Peter McCoy

Peter McCoy speaks on behalf of the fungi, the most overlooked and misrepresented organisms in the web of life. A self-taught mycologist with 15 years of accumulated study and experience, Peter is an original founder of Radical Mycology, a grassroots organization and movement that teaches the skills needed to work with mushrooms and other fungi for personal, societal, and ecological resilience. Peter is the lead cultivation expert for the Amazon Mycorenewal Project and Open Source Ecology and the primary author behind Radical Mycology, a nearly 700-page book on accessible mycology and mushroom cultivation. Apart from his work with fungi, he is also a community organizer, street medic, zinester, artist, musician, lecturer, and teacher.  Peter's work has been featured in various news and media outlets such as Grist, Vice's Motherboard, Permaculture Voices, The Survival Podcast, and The Visionary Activist Show on KUPL. His unique approach to teaching accessible mycology has brought him to present at The Permaculture Voices Conference, The Village Building Convergence, The Telluride Mushroom Festival, The Breitenbush Herbal Conference, The National Brownfield's Conference, and The North American Mycological Association, as well as for countless community groups across North America.

Aaron Miller

Michael Miller

Sarah Minnick

Sarah Minnick has been experimenting with natural dyes for a number of years and has a special interest in using found lichens as a dye source. She presented her work at an annual meeting of the California Lichen Society and has collaborated with the Society to develop sustainable collection practices for dye lichens. Sarah studied mathematics and wetlands conservation and is currently a restoration ecologist working to protect and restore natural systems in Marin County. 

Anna Moore

Anna Moore, amateur mycologist and photographer, has a science background and a love of the natural world. She retired from UC Berkeley in 2005 where she worked in Environmental Compliance, and now spends much of her time on the Oregon coast hiking and foraging. She has been interested in mushrooms for over 30 years, starting as a member of MSSF (Mycological Society of San Francisco) in 1985. In Florence, OR, Anna gives beginner mushroom talks at local schools, parks and organizations. She enjoys developing recipes using a variety of her own mushroom powders. She is a member of local mushroom clubs in Eugene (CMS) and Lincoln City (LCMS), and SOMA in Northern CA.

Jill Nussinow

Jill Nussinow, aka The Veggie Queen is a culinary educator, Registered Dietitian and author of 4 cookbooks and stars in 2 DVDs. She has been teaching people how to eat more vegetables and other plant-foods for more than 25 years. Jill’s goal is to see everyone leading a healthy, happy life through better eating and cooking. She loves to share the passion and joy of following a plant-based diet through cooking demonstrations, recipes, talks and writing. She wholeheartedly believes in the power of mushrooms and has been writing, and teaching, about them for more than 10 years. They are featured in her book Nutrition CHAMPS. Her website is: www.theveggiequeen.com

Brian Perry

Dr. Perry has been at CSU East Bay since 2013, and has been studying fungal diversity, systematics and evolution since 1995. In addition to documenting the mushrooms and other fungi of the Hawaiian Islands, Dr. Perry's lab conducts research on the assemby, dynamics and biogeography of island fungal communities, endophytic fungi of Hawaiian plants, the systematics of Mycena and allied genera, and the evolution of fungal bioluminesence.

Justin Reyes

Justin is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Mycopia Mushrooms, a specialty mushroom farm located in Sebastopol, California since 1977.  Justin is a graduate of Sonoma State University's International Business and Wine Business Programs with additional focus on world history and economics.  

George Riner

George started mushrooming in 1990 in New England. President of the Boston Mycological Club from 2001-2006, he has led walks, taught classes and participated on grant-funded studies of fungi in Massachusetts. He moved to the Sebastopol area in 2008 and has been active with SOMA since. 

Monique Risch-Meade

My background as a professional graphic designer translates easily into the fiber arts, searching for hidden colors, the creation of abstract forms, and textures from plants on fabric or paper. Coaxing dye from native plants is an old form of art born out of the desire to enrich our lives with color and pattern. I lead workshops in the newest techniques in Eco Printing and modern Shibori making them easy for the beginner as well as providing inspiration to the advanced fiber artists. 

Alan Rockefeller

Alan has been studying mushrooms for 12 years.   He is most interested in photography and taxonomy of the mushrooms of Mexico and California.    He recently returned from 4 months of field work in Southern Mexico.  Alan is also interested in electronics, computer security and phylogenetics.   His most recent project was to set up a DNA lab to get sequences of mushrooms in an effort to find new species in California and Mexico.

Adrienne Rodriguez

Adrienne is an avid nature lover, mushroom hunter and natural dyer. She lives and works in Oakland, CA. 

Philip Ross

Phil Ross is an artist, inventor, and scholar whose internationally awarded and exhibited research is focused on biomaterial design and life support technologies. A thought leader on biomimicry, Phil is the Co-Founder and CTO of MycoWorks, a San Francisco based company that grows biomaterials out of mycelium. His innovations in mycelium engineering are globally recognized as foundational to the invention of mycotecture, the practice of building with mycelium.  Advanced Research  In 2014 Phil was invited to join Stanford University's Department of Bioengineering as a Visiting Scholar, where he has been pursuing research on fungal tissue development. In 2015 he joined the Bio Bricks Foundation to work on the Bionet, which is an early projection towards the internet of biological things.  Creative Work  Phil's creative work has recently been featured at the Venice Biennial of Architecture, New York's MoMA, the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Jurassic Technology among others. Phil's publications include Mycology Matrix Composites¬Ě, American Society for Composites, Your Rotten Future Will Be Great¬Ě in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture, and Building from Waste (Future Cities Laboratory Singapore/ETH Zurich)  www.mycoworks.com 

Meredith Sabini

Meredith Sabini, MA, PhD, has been collecting fungi since the 1970s, initially as a member of MSSF, more recently of SOMA. She trained as a social scientist, now works primarily as a teacher, researcher, and the director of an educational nonprofit in Berkeley. A widely published nature writer, she edited the popular anthology The Earth Has a Soul. Her personal practice of deep ecology is rooted in her Amish background. She has led beginners’ forays in Alameda, Sonoma, Marin, Napa, and Contra Costa counties.

Noah Siegel

Noah’s field mycology skills are extensive – he has spent two decades seeking, photographing, identifying, and furthering his knowledge about all aspects of macrofungi. He has hunted for mushrooms throughout the United States and Canada, as well as on multiple expeditions to New Zealand and Australia.

He is one of the premier mushroom photographers in the nation, having won numerous awards from the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) photography contest. His technique and attention to detail are unrivaled, arising from a philosophy of maximizing utility for identification purposes while maintaining a high degree of aesthetic appeal. 

Noah recently worked with Green Mountain Digital as a consultant for the Audubon Guide to Mushrooms of North America Macintosh/Apple application, and supplied over 300 photographs for it. His photographs have appeared on the covers and have been featured in articles of multiple issues of FUNGI Magazine and Mushroom the Journal, the primary mushroom enthusiast magazines in the United States, numerous mushroom books; including the cover shot on Ascomycete Fungi of North Americaas. He is currently working on, along with Christian Schwarz, Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, a comprehensive field guide for the northern California coast.

He is past president of the Monadnock Mushroomers Unlimited, (MMU) a mushroom club based out of Keene, NH, and is an active member of the Humboldt Bay Mycological Society and the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz.

Noah travels and lectures extensively across America, following the mushrooms from east to west and everywhere in between.

Gayle Still

My passion for Fiber Art goes back to the 70's with a spinning wheel, natural dying and basketry. I enjoy exploring techniques that feature the beautiful colors obtained from mushrooms and sharing through teaching and showing at various venues.

David Sumerlin

David Sumerlin has been in the Mushroom Industry for 30 years. He is presently working at Fungi Perfecti. David has been making paper and giving classes for the last 7 years.

Else Vellinga

Else Vellinga is a mycologist who is interested in naming and classifying mushroom species in California and beyond, especially Parasol mushrooms. She has described 20 species as new for California, and works at UC Berkeley for the Microfungi Collections Digitization project. Her main goal is to contribute to the conservation of mushroom species, and for that reason she has proposed several species for the IUCN global database of endangered species. She tries to keep current with the mushroom literature. Else is also an avid knitter and likes to use mushroom dyed yarn for her creations.

Glenn Walker

Glenn has worked in the mushroom cultivation industry off and on since 1989. After getting a Bachelor's in Biology from UC Santa Cruz he worked at a button mushroom farm in the Santa Cruz area. His interest grew to wild mushrooms after taking a couple of classes from David Arora. He went to the University of Washington to study taxonomy and ecology of wild mushrooms and earned his MS degree. Currently he works at Gourmet Mushrooms in Sebastopol, California growing wood-decomposing specialty mushrooms. 

Peter Werner

Peter is a long-time member of MSSF and has studied mycology at University of Washington and SFSU, and completed a professional certificate in microscopy at Merritt College. He is currently program assistant for the Microscopy Program at Merritt College and also an instructor in the mushroom cultivation class there, as well as scanning electron microscope and atomic force microscope technician at Ohlone College, and serves as president of the San Francisco Microscopical Society.

Tina Wistrom

Tina Wistrom is excited to return to teaching the Introduction to Mushroom Dyes class. Her appreciation for fungi encompasses plant pathogens (day job), edible mushrooms (dinner time), and especially the humble, crusty ones that produce beautiful pigments, which she learned with instruction and collaboration from Dorothy Beebee at SOMA camps from 2000-2012. She lives in El Cerrito with her husband and two propagules (children).

Mike Wood

Michael Wood, a California native, is a computer consultant by profession, and a mycologist and photographer by obsession.  He is a past president of the Mycological Society of San Francisco and chair of the MSSF systematics committee.  He is the publisher and webmaster for MykoWeb and The Fungi of California websites and former webmaster for the MSSF and the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) websites. He has been an avid mushroom collector, photographer, and taxonomist for over 30 years. His mushroom photographs have been published in many scientific journals, plus numerous books, magazines, newspapers, and websites. He has led numerous workshops and countless forays for the MSSF and others. He is the co-author of “California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide” and is currently collaborating on the forthcoming book “Mushrooms of the Great Smoky Mountains”.