Spring Time Safety Tips

by Brady Raymond

Well, it’s getting closer every day. Closer to the day we can head out to the woods and fill our baskets with nature’s bounty, or maybe just get skunked. The only thing I think worse than an empty basket is not knowing how to find your way back to the car. Getting lost in the woods is a serious thing to think about, and if you’ve spent much time out there you realize just how quickly mother nature can swallow you up, and sometimes never spit you back out.  Preparedness is a relative thing, there are probably people who could make it longer with less and be more comfortable too.

First things first, know where you are going, tell people when and where you are going (at least roughly). Before I go into some items you should bring along with you, let me stress one other thing, get your bearings before setting out. What general direction are you heading in, what time is it, and how long do you have before it gets dark?

I’m sure your smartphone has apps for some of the things that follow, and if your phone saves your life great, but I recommend highly that you have the following on you (not in the car, on you) while in the woods.

  • A very loud whistle, one for each member of your group
  • Compass
  • Map
  • Watch
  • First aide
  • Bright clothing, especially during hunting season

The whistle signals are
-One 2-second blast = Where are you? (This can be initiated by anyone and demands a one-blast response.)
-Two blasts of 2 seconds each = Come to me. (This signal is mainly used by the group leader.)
-Three 2-second blasts = Emergency (This can be used by anyone.)

These items are battery free with the exception of the watch, which typically last for a long time, sometimes years. A GPS and 2-way radio are also good items to pack but make sure you know how to use them before heading out, and they should not be a substitute for a compass and whistle. Make sure you dress in layers and have proper footwear. The weather can change very quickly in the mountains and exposure to the elements zaps the energy out of you very quickly. Making decisions when you’re cold and wet suddenly just got a lot harder.

This article isn’t intended as an all inclusive wilderness safety document. It is a reminder that nature can be unforgiving, and you are responsible first and foremost for your own safety. With that said discuss this with your hunting group while driving out to your secret spot, the whistle signals, what channel the radios should be set to, etc… If you have questions get them answered, come to a membership meeting and ask, if you’re a member and it’s your first field trip connect with someone who knows more than you do and learn what you can. The internet is full of resources some excellent some not so, but it can be a great resource as long as you cross reference, and use a little common sense.

Dispatches From Hawai’i: Mushrooming in Hawai’i

This is the first in a 4-part series on the fungi of Hawai’i from a Pacific Northwest perspective.  This article provides an introduction to fungi in Hawai’i.  The following articles discuss edibles and fungi with psychedelic properties, mycology in Hawai’i, and the connection between Hawai’i and the Pacific Northwest.

In the years leading up to my move to Hawai’i Island in 2014, my interest in fungi was growing, and I knew I would continue my hobby after I moved.  I wondered about the mushroom culture in Hawai’i: when and where to forage, what the edibles were, and who was studying mycology.

I asked members in PSMS and attendees of the 2014 NAMA gathering in Eatonville their thoughts.  Despite nearly uniform replies—there are few good edibles, it’s hard to find anything at all, there’s not much going on—I was not deterred.  Many areas receive plenty of precipitation, therefore, there must be plenty of fungi and people interested in them, I reasoned.

Continue reading

PSMS Bridle Trail Funga Study Meeting

7:30 pm Thursday March 17, 2016
Center for Urban Horticulture, UW Seattle (Where we usually have our monthly meetings)

Anybody interested getting involved in our newly launched local mushroom study is most welcome to attend the meeting. We will be discussing the nuts and bolts regarding timing, forming collection teams and past collection processing.

You do NOT need to be a mushroom identifier. Being interested in learning more about mushrooms is sufficient and there is many ways to contribute in our group effort. It is crucial that volunteers step forward to support the project organization. Most important right now is finding two or three project coordinators, especially for an email list service and forwarding info to the PSMS webpage and the new blog. Also, if a bunch of people want to meet at CUH before crossing the 520 bridge that would need coordination. In any case, it is a good opportunity to get to know more mushrooms and PSMS members.

We will be discussing how to select sites in Bridle Trails State Park, how often we want to go collect, how we will set up specimen collection, documentation (photography, notes, descriptions? and entry of this info in a data base, probably MushroomObserver.org) and processing (drying, selection for DNA sequencing, depositing). Also, if we want to work on the collection during an outing, where are we going to work on the collected mushrooms? Should we use local library meeting rooms we can reserve for free once a month around the BTSP (i.e. in Bellevue, Kirkland & Redmond etc.) or should we meet in a room at CUH (further away from the site and more costly). Where and how are we going to dry the specimens for vouchering, while making sure each collection is carefully labeled even while in the dryer? Do we have enough dehydrators between us or should PSMS have its own?

We will also discuss details about the project methodology in regard of study design. However, this subject will probably require a prolonged discussion and digging up comparable studies to inform ourselves of our options. Also we need to have better knowledge of the opportunities and limitations of in BTSP.

PSMS Bridle Trails Funga Study

Marasmiellus candidus pair Bridle trails 2-2016 DW Ms

As you might know we have been working on finding for PSMS a forest area we can use to study the local funga (= mycota = myco-flora, as in flora, fauna & funga). There are several objectives that inspire PSMS to get such a citizen science project underway. As one of the leading mycological societies in North America we want to contribute to the knowledge of the North American funga by collecting specimens that will be submitted for DNA sequencing and vouchered for future reference and thus contribute to the North American Myco-Flora Project. In addition, such a study will contribute to the knowledge of our local mushrooms and enlarge the pool of members that are interested in improving their identification skills. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity to get to know fellow PSMS members and exchange knowledge. And last, but not least, to have fun together in the woods!

Continue reading

Antarctic fungi survive Martian conditions on the International Space Station

Scientists have gathered tiny fungi that take shelter in Antarctic rocks and sent them to the International Space Station. After 18 months on board in conditions similar to those on Mars, more than 60 percent of their cells remained intact, with stable DNA. The results provide new information for the search for life on the red planet. Lichens from the Sierra de Gredos (Spain) and the Alps (Austria) also traveled into space for the same experiment.

Source: Antarctic fungi survive Martian conditions on the International Space Station

Morels

DSCF9672

Burn Morel

 

IMG_1811

“Natural” Morels 2 Years After a Burn

The top photo is a morel found the year after a burn near Leavenworth.  The bottom photo shows morels found 2 years after a burn near a stream by Blewitt Pass (who says old burns are worthless?).

Photos by Brady Raymond