2025 SOMA Wild Mushroom Camp

SOMA Camp > Class Schedule > Instructors

Faculty Biographies

Eleana Hsu and Kevin Gondo

Eleana Hsu and Kevin Gondo are small batch producers in San Francisco specializing in using koji, an ancient fungi, to create newly imagined ferments through their business Shared Cultures. Inspired by traditional fermentation methods, wild foraged mushrooms, and the bounty of Northern California, they are creating farm-to-ferment misos, shoyus, and umami seasonings using the magic of koji. 

Christopher Adams

hris is the creative mind behind Corvidopolis, The Mushroom Tarot and Sporelust!. Raised in the Pacific Northwest, he has always had a fondness for the outdoors and a love of creating art. After studying architecture at university he began working as an illustrator & printmaker, and has continued down that path for over a decade. In his late 20s he was introduced to mushroom foraging, and sometime around 2014 those two passions collided––the rest is (recent) history! His work merges: youthful influences from skate-punk culture, 60s & 70s counterculture inspiration and an attention to scientifically accurate depiction of mushrooms, plants and animals. Most recently he has begun to find himself in a position of an ‘accidental’ science educator by tricking people into learning about mycology & biodiversity through his artwork, which often utilizes recognizable popular culture references while maintaining key elements of morphological accuracy.

Cat Adams

Cat Adams is interested in how chemical ecology influences interactions between plants and fungi. For her PhD in Tom Bruns’ lab, Cat is studying the invasive ectomycorrhizal fungus, Amanita phalloides. The death cap mushroom kills more people than any other mushroom, but how the deadly amatoxins influence its invasion remains unexplored.

Previously, Cat earned her M.A. with Anne Pringle at Harvard University. Her thesis examined fungal pathogens of the wild Bolivian chili pepper, Capsicum chacoense, and how the fungi evolved tolerance to spice. With the Joint Genome Institute, she is now sequencing the genome of one fungal isolate, a Phomopsis species, to better understand the novel enzymes these fungi wield to outwit their plant host.

She also collaborates with a group in China, studying how arbuscular mycorrhizae can help crop plants avoid toxic effects from pollution. Their first paper, “Arbuscular mycorrhizae alleviate negative effects of zinc oxide nanoparticle pollution and zinc accumulation in maize plants – A soil microcosm experiment” is published in Chemosphere.

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.

Ryath Beauchene

Ryath is a mushroom seeker, cultivator, and educator who co-stewards Moon Fruit Mushroom Farm and Symbiiotica in Sebastopol, CA. He is also a trained horticulturist & tree pruner, medicine maker, and estate manager. Ryath studied the intersections of ecology and education at SSU with a BA in Outdoor Leadership. Ryath teaches online, facilitates ecological mushroom walks on the CA coast and has taught through the OAEC, Daily Acts, The Permaculture Skill Center, & the Sonoma County Herb Association.

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.

Trent & Kristen Blizzard

This community was started as an effort to connect people. While many things are sacred in the world of wild food forage (especially GPS coordinates :), one thing is usually true – we love to share our experiences and excitement for the hunt!

Self proclaimed “mushroom geeks”, Trent and Kristen Blizzard, live in either Cable, Wisconsin or Reedsport, Oregon - depending on where the mushrooms are fruiting.  They also devote time each year to trekking around Western Colorado and chasing burn morels across the Western US.  Always accompanied by their crazy doodles Benzie and Lulu. At first a hobby, the hunt for fungi quickly became nothing short of an obsession for these two. They are not mycologists but love to utilize the science behind edible mushrooms to help them locate prime terrain.  Beyond mushrooms, you might find them picking feral asparagus, ramps, huckleberries or capturing dungeness crabs.

Kristen was introduced to wild edibles and mushrooms while working at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, Colorado. Local friends helped to spread the enthusiasm and when she met Trent, they grew their love of foraging together. She thinks of mushrooming as hiking with purpose, and loves all of the peripheral benefits – stunning vistas & wildflowers, brisk mountain hikes, camping, discovering more of Colorado, honing her macro photography skills and even exercising that nutty dog.

Trent is an avid fisherman, and often ponders whether fishing can be classified as “foraging”. Is a fisherman a modern forager? We say yes – you may see some fishing posts spring up here and there on the site in the future! He is also a master of all things Google, including maps.   Both Trent and Kristen are WordPress developers by trade.

Their fondest wish is that in some small way, they can help you discover the same joys of nature that they cherish.

Taye Bright

Taye is a mycologist, naturalist, artist and all-around biophile passionate about fungal ecology, plant-fungal symbioses, bioremediation, ethnomycology, community science and conservation. She is especially interested in allying with fungi to encourage ecological literacy, create life-ways in alignment with bioregional intelligence and uplift cultural narratives that encourage interspecies reciprocity.

Taye works for the Fungal Diversity Survey, the only nonprofit focused on North America's fungal biodiversity and conservation. There, she serves as a field mycologist for the California Fungal Diversity Survey and as co-coordinator for the West Coast Rare Fungi challenge. She is a post-fire bioremediation researcher for the Fire Ecology Network in X-Site Study (FENiXS), a climate adaptation study investigating the effects of microbial and fungal inocula on community resilience and ecosystem recovery. She leads classes, courses, workshops and walks around California and beyond focusing on increasing accessibility of mycological and ecological education outside of conventional academia. Furthermore, Taye is the Education and Outreach coordinator for CoRenewal, on the Conservation and Stewardship committee for the North American Mycological Association, and sits on the board for the Sonoma County Mycological Association and Bay Area Applied Mycology.

Outside of her scientific work, you can find her in the garden talking with birds, experimenting with mushroom inks and dye's, surfing in frigid Pacific waters, reading Scandinavian mythology and writing nature-inspired poetry.

 

Wyatt Bryson

Wyatt Bryson from Jewels of the Forest. "Myco-Entrepreneurs with a Mission" is the name of the game for Wyatt and his brother, Hunter. Together they combine their "deep passion for mycology and the culinary arts.". You can taste the magic in their flagship product Shroom Snack: Premium Mushroom Jerky. USE PROMO CODE: Myco15 For 15%off!

Manager/Cofounder

Jewels Of The Forest
Phone: (707) 326-6308
Email: info@ShroomJerky.com
Web: ShroomJerky.com
Facebook: Shroom Snack
YouTube: Mycolab Solutions
Instagram: ShroomSnack

Twitter: Shroom Snack 

Ken Buegeleisen

Ken is wearing many hats these days:  SOMA Treasurer, Camp Scheduler, FunDiS.org, Walk in the Woods, and holds a full-time remote job with MIT for ERP software support, a 5-acre horse ranch, and has a large family with 5 amazing grandchildren.  So, he likes to keep busy!

Ken started on his mushroom journey in 2018 when he found seemingly edible white mushrooms growing around their horse ranch, and his wife insisted he must learn what they were before sampling them!  On his first SOMA meeting, the speaker was Rick Kerrigan who identified these mysterious white fungi as the somewhat uncommon Agaricus bitorquis, aka Road Mushrooms, because they like to push up the bricks in the roads.  And these are a great edible mushroom!  He was hooked after that.  Ken now devotes most of his free time to foraging, learning, teaching, and conserving the amazing fungi that often go unnoticed all around us!

Elissa Callen

Since finishing her BFA in Painting from California College of the Arts, Elissa Callen has spent her years straddling the words of art and ecology. She has worked in horticulture with an emphasis on drought tolerant and CA native plants and has continued to research native plants, invasive plants, and fungi to sustainably make natural dyes, inks, and pigments in her art practice. Using natural materials in her work is one of the ways she stays connected to nature an the outdoors, and she seeks to use her art practice to continue to engage others curiosity with nature and environmentalism as well.

David Campbell

David Campbell has been collecting, studying, eating, teaching and writing about wild mushrooms for over 50 years. He served more than a decade on council for the Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF), including 2 terms as president, and was the original president of the fledgling Mycological Society of Marin County (MycoMarin).  With primary focus on edible and poisonous mushrooms, he has lead innumerable fungal forays for MSSF, MycoMarin, and the Sonoma Mycological Association (SOMA).

David remains on-call with the San Francisco Poison Control Center for mushroom poisoning incident response in the greater Bay Area. He served as a 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 principal and 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 with annual Truffle, Mushroom, and Wine tours in northern Italy and Croatia.

Judy Christensen

Judy Christensen has been a member since 1996. Judy has attended most SOMA camps and was camp director, kitchen staff and raffle director for 10 years. Judy was a 2-time SOMA president in 2002-3004. She and her partner, Gene Broderick, lead the forays for 8 years. Judy is joining the fiber arts staff for the first time this year. Judy will teach needle-felting for beginners. Judy is a member of SOMA and MSSF

Langdon Cook

Langdon Cook is a writer, instructor, and lecturer on wild foods and the outdoors. His books include The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America, winner of the 2014 Pacific Northwest Book Award; Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager; and most recently, Upstream: Searching for Wild Salmon, from River to Table, a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Cook's writing appears in numerous publications and has been nominated for a James Beard Award. His on-screen credits include the Travel Channel and PBS. Cook lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

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.

Glade Dlott

Glade Bogar is a postdoctoral scholar studying the microbial ecology of agricultural soils of the Midwest at Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University. A Bay Area native, he became fascinated with mushroom collecting at the age of 12. He has been attending SOMA camp since 2005, received two generous SOMA scholarships during his graduate studies, and recently joined the SOMA Board of Directors.

Sharon Eisley

Sharon Eisley is a professional artist showing her paintings throughout the US and internationally. She graduated from California College of Art in 2001. She discovered SOMA camp while looking for a mushroom kit for her then 7 year old, Fyn, in 2014 and they have both been hooked ever since. Beautiful mushrooms have been finding their way into her oil paintings and watercolors.

Mario Gabiati

Mario Gabiati is the founder of the Science Laboratories of Practical Education (SLOPE), a microbiology teaching lab and startup incubator in Oakland, California where students, educators and founders work together to bring new ideas to the market and the classroom simultaneously. Learn more at www.slopelabs.org. He is also the founder of the popular Mycelial Mass Mushroom Meetup which has been doing monthly speaker events and science-forward mushroom hunts since 2014, learn more at www.meetup.com/Mycelial-Mass-Mushroom-Meetup/.

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

Sara is fiber artist from the Central Oregon Coast. She has been dying with fungi and lichens for over a decade. She finds joy in the process of turning raw fleeces into finished projects, dyed, knitted, crocheted, or felted!

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.

Patrick Hamilton

Patrick has been active in the club for about 25 years beginning with writing a foraging and cooking column for SOMA News, was involved in the very first SOMA Camp as a chef and in 2006 took on being the head chef for 6 years, is on the SOMA Board of Directors, and now has been our Foray Coordinator and chef for several years.  He has been cooking and teaching about mushrooms for many years and has his own foraging business called "Patrick's Wild Mushroom Adventures.

Christopher Hobbs

Dr. Christopher Hobbs, Ph.D., L.Ac., R.H. is a fourth generation, internationally known herbalist and mycologist, licensed acupuncturist, herbal clinician, research scientist, consultant to the dietary supplement industry, expert witness, botanist, public speaker, and author of over 20 books and numerous articles with over 40 years of experience. He is the author of the recent book “Christopher Hobbs’s Medicinal Mushrooms, the Essential Guide,” with German and English editions.

He earned his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley with research and publication in evolutionary biology, biogeography, phylogenetics, the chemistry of plants and fungi, and ethnobotany. Now faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

www.christopherhobbs.com

Jessica Holloway

Jessica Holloway (she/her/hers) joined LandPaths in the Fall of 2012. As Youth Education Lead, she develops curriculum and programs as a leader in the field. She is deeply committed to sharing her love of and comfort in outdoor spaces with youth of all different backgrounds. Supporting youth in finding confidence in themselves, seeing them learn new skills and knowledge and watching them find comfort in wild spaces is one of her greatest joys.

A longtime Sonoma county resident, Jessica studied at Santa Rosa Junior College before travelling and earning a certificate to teach English as a Second Language from International House in Egypt. Jessica obtained her B.S. in Environmental Science in 2005 from Humboldt State University and has worked in the field of environmental education ever since. She put herself through school working in grocery stores and then running the university’s compost site operations, and she still loves to talk trash and is passionate about turning waste into soil!

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.

Zachary Hunter

Deeply impassioned with understanding this planet that we call home, Zach has explored a wide range of topics and draws connections to inspire others here in Earth.  With his BS in Geological Sciences, Zach has explored Permaculture, 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 understanding the unique flavors from wild-crafted foods.  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.

Classically trained in French culinary education, and raised in New American and Pacific Northwest kitchens, Chef Zachary presents imaginative experiences in the culinary and mycological world, bringing people together through love of food and community. He hopes to inspire others though entertaining lectures and fusion-powered view of regional cuisines.

In 2020, he unexpectedly spent the first year and half of the pandemic in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he lived, cooked and foraged with his fiancé Kimberly. He now lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he is involved with local indigenous communities to explore sustainable community-supporting mycotourism. He is the owner of The Fungivore, an aspiring author, mycophagy researcher and performance poet. Follow his adventures on instagram at @the_fungivore.

Links:

Liz Hymans

Liz first learned weaving in childhood with loops on a potholder loom. She also learned sewing, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and beading. She maintained these skills through college and careers in ski instruction, river guiding, and photography, and then dove into the rabbit hole of spinning, weaving, wool processing, dyeing. She most enjoys being in nature, creative arts, and messing with colors.

Melissa Jaffray

Sigrid Jakob

Sigrid Jakob is a community scientist based in Brooklyn, New York. She currently serves as the president of the New York Mycological Society, board member of the Fungal Diversity Survey (FunDiS) and a member of the fungal conservation working group of the Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution. She co-founded the FunDiS Rare 2o conservation challenge and a fungi-focused community program for Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, a first for a public green space in the US. Sigrid also extracts fungal DNA in her home lab and teaches others how to do fungal DNA barcoding in support of science and conservation. Her favorite fungi are Inocybe and fungi growing on dung.

Stephanie Jarvis

Stephanie S. Jarvis completed her Masters of Science in Ecology, Evolution (Phylogenetics/Taxonomy) and Conservation Biology (EECB) at San Francisco State University (SFSU) under the guidance of world-renown Mycologists, Dr. Dennis Desjardin. It was at SFSU where she created a taxonomic monograph of the Lycoperdaceae (hypogeous fungi) of California. Her undergraduate years were spent at Sonoma State University studying Mycology, Plant Physiology & Chemistry with Dr. Chris Kjeldsen (founding member of Sonoma Mycological Society) and she was the research assistant to Dr. Richard Whitkus on the Sudden Oak Death task force.  While in college Stephanie become a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture and created a continuing education (CEU) training program for arborists to learn how to identify fungal plant pathogens for better tree risk assessment. Since 2002 she has been a speaker to various Mycological clubs, schools and plant societies, teaching Mycology, Medicinal Fungi, Truffle Cultivation and various other aspects of the mushroom and arboriculture world. In 2010 she began her consultation company, Pacific Truffle Growers (PTG) due to multiple requests to rehabilitate unproductive truffle orchards.  With PTG she manages truffle orchards throughout Northern California and currently assists clients in Oregon, Washington and most recently – North Carolina. Stephanie, as a geneticist & microscopist, analyzes roots, fungal tissues, plant tissues and soils for health, nutrients, presence of mycorrhizal fungi species, as well as tests for mating types in soils.  Her newest endeavor is the Urban Truffle Farmer collaborated with growing FOOD FORESTS FOR THE FUTURE. Why grow only truffles for your future generations when you can grow multiple types of food on your property!

For inquiries and questions, please contact her by email or website.
www.pacifictruffles.com  pacifictruffles@gmail.com

 

 

Daniel Kedan

Daniel Kedan began his professional cooking career as Sous Chef of Il Palio Restaurant in Shelton, Connecticut in 2004. This ignited a passion and excitement, in the restaurant field, for him. Wanting to learn everything he could, he decided to travel to Europe in 2006. Spending time tasting the amazing flavors of France, Italy, and Germany, Daniel felt invigorated and passionate about the culinary arts.

Daniel enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America, in 2006, being part of the school's first A.O.S. program on the Saint Helena campus. While attending school, he began working under Chef Dave Cruz, at Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc restaurant in Yountville, as part of the opening team. There, he spent three years learning what true professionalism, along with love and respect for great ingredients, really was. 

Daniel continued his career, in the Napa Valley while working briefly, at Solage in Calistoga. His interest in food sustainability, lead him to become the Chef de Cuisine at The General's Daughter in Sonoma. There he learned not only how to run a restaurant, but how to work and yearly plan, with farmers, plan and execute wine dinners and participate in wine auctions.  He, again, was part of an opening culinary team at Cantinetta Piero in Yountville. Still having a strong passion for dealing with local, organic farmers, Daniel found his home at Peter Lowell's in Sebastopol in December of 2010. While working with the restaurant's 2 acre farm, along with a handful of other local farmers and ranchers, Daniel found his home in west county. 

In 2012, with his wife and favorite pastry chef, Marianna Gardenhire, he opened Backyard. He has taken his passion for local farmers, house made pastas and charcuterie into flourishing. With their own garden, and the bounties of west county, their menu changes daily with the thriving seasons. 

Daniel's passion and skills for the culinary arts, and local sustainability, are held in high regard. He has received high marks from food critics, as well as the community. Daniel is an advocate for local sustainable communities, donating his time to local schools and charities in his community. Daniel's passion and reputation has made him one of the most sought after chefs in Sonoma County.

Paul Lagreze

I first became interested in mushrooms as a teenager, noticing beautiful white shelf-like mushrooms growing on poplar trees in the fall. These oyster mushrooms had a seafood-y smell and a slight licorice flavor when sautéed.  Later while living at Dawes Hill, an agrarian commune near Ithaca, NY I was introduced to mushroom basics through a mushroom field guide by Alexander Smith, (a University of Michigan mycologist) I was inoculated by the idea of mycelium and the forms that they took.
After graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in anthropology, I moved back to the Western Massachusetts, where the mushrooms I found piqued my interest again. I decided to take a beginners course in Mycology at UMass Amherst and joined the Boston Mycological Club and the Monadnock Mushroomers Unlimited in southern New Hampshire.
I was hooked!
One particularly dry year, around 2000, when there were very few wild mushrooms appearing I decided to grow shiitake mushrooms on oak and sugar maple logs. I sold the extra shiitakes and wild mushrooms to restaurants around the "Happy Valley".  I founded New England Wild Edibles in 2004 and my knowledge of mushrooms kept growing. I began teaching an introductory course on identification and foraging mushrooms at UMass Amherst in 2014 and I am currently teaching mushroom foraging and cultivation at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield MA.  

I also grow shiitake mushrooms and other saprophytic (carbon consuming) mushrooms and conduct cultivation classes at Five Springs Mushroom Farm in Heath MA. I lead mushroom forays at the farm and the surrounding woods of Western MA from late Spring to Fall.  There is nothing that I enjoy more or that brings me more peace than being out in the woods foraging and cultivating mushrooms.

Jennifer Levine

Chef and Culinary Chairperson for SOMA

Benjamin Lillibridge

Based in Kona, Hawai'i, Ben Lillibridge is the founder of MÄlama Mushrooms, a family-owned, superfood mushroom company for health & wellness, as well as the Hawai’i Fungi Project, a non-profit, community-science initiative devoted to the study & preservation of the mushrooms of Hawai'i.

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. He is also the Cultivation Chair for the Mycological Society of San Francisco, and incorporates the fermentation arts into his activities and teachings.

Mike McCurdy

Mike McCurdy has been foraging for edible wild mushrooms since the early 1980s. He has extensive knowledge of habitat and habit of wild mushrooms.

Jill Nussinow

Jill Nussinow is a Northern California nutritionist and culinary educator who has been teaching people the joys of “kitchen play” with whole foods for more than 30 years. She was an adjunct chef instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College in the culinary department. Jill has written 4 cookbooks, Jill has always loved eating mushrooms and has been foraging for them in Northern California for almost 20 years. She learned most of what she knows from attending SOMA forays and meetings. Jill enjoys all aspects of mushrooms so much that almost 5 years ago she moved from Santa Rosa to Southern Mendocino County to be able to spend more time in the forest. She has spoken and done cooking demonstrations at fairs, festivals and has a regular spot at Rancho La Puerta spa resort in Tecate, Mexico. Jill loves simple food, Mother Nature, reading and teaching breath awareness and nutrition to small groups. Her most mushroom oriented book is Nutrition CHAMPS.

Sandy Patton

Sandy and her husband Ron knew nothing about wild mushrooms when they retired from their tech careers and moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2007. After attending the Mount Pisgah Arboretum (MPA) Mushroom Festival in 2008 they enthusiastically dove in and started learning about and hunting wild mushrooms with the help of the Cascade Mycological Society. By 2015, they were leading forays and teaching a beginning mushrooming class for CMS. When she is not in the woods hunting for mushrooms, Sandy is creating them. She makes and donates to CMS, mushroom earrings, wine charms, ornaments, and magnets. These are sold online and at the MPA mushroom festival to benefit CMS grants and scholarships. She also makes a wide variety of mushroom models for educational purposes. Her latest artistic venture is felting mushrooms. In the past, she has just made them as gifts for her mushrooming friends, but is now starting to make felted mushroom pins to donate and sell. In her spore time, she manages the CMS website.

Melanie Perkins

I have been working with fiber ever since learning to knit and crochet when I was five or six. I was taught by my grandmother, Caren (Larsen) Pedersen, who immigrated from Sweden as a young child around 1900. We knit Continental, holding the working yarn in the left hand.  Since then, I have broadened my fiber arts skills to include spinning, weaving, preparing raw wool for spinning, and just about anything else fiber-related you can think of. After retiring from teaching in 2017, I opened Crockett Fiber Arts Studio, where I teach all things fiber arts. My focus is on promoting and sustaining the fiber arts in and inclusive and welcoming way. I am currently a member of Spindles and Flyers Spinning Guild, and am very active in the local fiber arts community.

Brian Perry

Brian Perry is a Professor of Biology at California State University, East Bay. He received his Master's Degree from San Francisco State University under the guidance of Dr. Dennis E. Desjardin, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University where he studied with Dr. Donald H. Pfister. Brian has been studying fungi since 1995, and has published over 40 papers in scientific journals. In addition to studying the evolution of fungal bioluminescence, he also conducts research on mushrooms and other fungi of Vanuatu, the assembly and biogeography of island fungal communities, endophytic fungi, and the systematics of Mycena and allied genera. Brian teaches several mycology courses at Cal State East Bay and the Sierra Nevada Field Campus.

Mandie Quark

Molecular biologist and grant writer by training, Mandie Quark is a researcher, writer, and editor with a passion for the advancement of community science. Currently she is devoted to fungal DNA barcoding initiatives, and is excited to use her gift of creative communication to explain the technical complexities of sequencing technologies to her peers. Her work also includes being head of communications for a biodiversity conservation organization, promoting her series of classes specifically tailored for mycologists, and event organizing for the largest mycological association in North America.

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 Rockefeller is an Oakland based mycologist who spends half of his time in the field and half in the lab. In 2001 he began studying mushrooms, and is self taught. Each year since 2007 he has traveled to Mexico to collect mushrooms - he has now photographed more than 1,000 species of fungi from Mexico. Alan enjoys mushroom photography, DNA barcoding and microscopy. Alan regularly identifies mushrooms for several fungus fairs in Mexico and the USA in addition to identifying on websites including iNaturalist, Mushroom Observer and various Facebook groups.

Karen Rusiniak

Nature and art are my two enduring life passions and I love helping others connect with the natural world and their creativity. I specialize in botanical illustration and landscapes, but lately photography, specifically cyanotypes, have gotten my attention due to their painterly aesthetic that is quite poetic with an otherworldly etherealness. They lend themselves to “happy accidents” and can be manipulated in many ways only limited by the artist’s imagination. Also, as a member of a postal correspondence co-op, cyanotypes make great notecards and postcards and make people happy to receive one.

Christian Schwarz

Christian Schwarz studied Ecology and Evolution at UC Santa Cruz, where his interest in the world of fungi became irrevocable – their seemingly endless forms (from the grotesque to the bizarre to the sublime) feed his curiosity. Christian now teaches Natural History of Fungi to undergraduates, and is a research associate of the Norris Center at UCSC. is co-author of Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, and now spends his time seeking, photographing, collecting, teaching about, and publishing research on the macrofungi of California and Arizona. He is a research associate of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and is assembling a mycoflora for the California Channel Islands. He has also served on the IUCN Red List Working Group for North American Fungi, advocating for habitat conservation focused on fungi. He is passionate about biodiversity in general, and especially in the philosophy and practice of community science (especially through the use of iNaturalist).

Mikhael Selk

Mikhael Selk is the SOMA (Sonoma County Mycological Association) Science Coordinator, and a mushroom ID Expert, and handles the Mushroom Poison Control hotline. He is also a very talented chef, and is the Lead Cook at Della Fattoria in Petaluma. His iNaturalist profile "mikhael" has 3000+ observations.

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.

Harte Singer

Harte Singer is an undergraduate student at Cal State East Bay studying cell and molecular biology. He sits on the board of Bay Area Applied Mycology and has taught mycology workshops at Counter Culture Labs, a community science space in Oakland California. He is currently working with fungi to remediate Eucalyptus stumps with East Bay Municipal Utility District, as well as sequencing the whole genome of Omphalotus olivascens. His passion for mycology started during his 15-year career as a chef. Learning to forage edible mushrooms eventually led to an insatiable curiosity about all the ones that didn’t make it into the foraging basket. He began attending workshops at Counter Culture Labs where he learned how to do PCR, tissue culture, and microscopy of fungi from a cadre of renowned community scientists. He strives to inspire and teach other budding mycologists while he is learning from both academia and the community at large.

Jon Sommer

Jon Sommer has led mushroom forays, given lectures on a range of mycological topics, and taught mushroom identification across the U.S. for more than 45 years.  He is a well-known speaker and presenter for mycological Societies and Forays across the country.  He received a Bachelor’s degree in botany from Humboldt State University and Master’s degrees in botany and plant pathology from the University of California, Davis.  He has studied mushroom identification with notable mycologists including Drs. David Largent, Orson K Miller, Jr  and Harry D. Thiers. A resident of Colorado for 30 years, and now living on the Oregon coast, Jon has in-depth knowledge of fungi across the US and particularly northern California and Oregon.  He has been a member of the Colorado Mycological Society since 1993 and currently serves as its President.  Jon is also a member of the Cascade Mycological Society, The Lincoln County Mycological Society, and the Humboldt Bay Mycological Societies.

 

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.

Autumn Summers

An avid wild foods forager, herbalist, gardener, and ethnobotanist, Autumn is passionate about sharing her 35 years of experience in an accessible and empowering way. She teaches botany, medicinal plant cultivation and how to safely and sustainably gather and use abundant wild edibles including seaweeds and mushrooms in Northern California. She currently teaches at the California School of Herbal Studies, Berkeley Herbal Center and Gathering Thyme herbal schools and is the lead herbal educator for Herb Pharm.

Mark Todd

"The Cheese Dude"

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.

Dr. Gordon Walker

Originally from Cambridge, MA, Dr. Gordon Walker moved to California to attend UC Santa Cruz where he developed a passion for scuba diving and home brewing. His interest in yeast and fermentation inspired him to attend UC Davis for graduate school where his doctoral research focused on the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in wine production. Specifically yeast physiology and metabolism as it related to the fermentation ecology. After receiving his doctorate in Biochemistry from UC Davis, Gordon worked at Opus One Winery, isolating wild yeast for wine production and establishing redox potential as process parameter for the wine industry. Beyond his love of yeast, Gordon is an avid mycophile who runs the @fascinatedbyfungi account on Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, and iNaturalist. Besides his obsession with fungi, he enjoys gardening, cooking for friends, and cats.

Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson, Ph.D.
Associate Curator of Mycology
Denver Botantic Gardens - botanicgardens.org
(he, him, his)

VISIT   York Street    Chatfield Farms    Mount Goliath    Plains Conservation Center

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”.

Kathy Yerich

Co-author of the popular and accessible field guide, Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest (Adventure Publications) Kathy Yerich has been hanging out with the Minnesota Mycological Society (MMS) and North American Mycological Society (NAMA) for more than 15 years. Current MMS Vice President, her mission in those organizations is to make learning about mushrooms fun and accessible to everyone! Annual NAMA forays have brought her around the country in search of interesting fungi. Like mushrooms, mushroom enthusiasts are interesting company, and no matter the location or time of year, nothing beats time in the woods.

Rachel Zierdt

SOMA Silent Auction Maestro!