The Mycoflora of Elk Island National Park and the Beaver Hills

The intent of this three year project is to use a community science approach to identify, catalogue and sequence the macrofungi (mushrooms) found within Elk Island National Park and other selected areas within the Beaver Hills Biosphere. This will greatly enhance our understanding of the fungal - and therefore overall - biodiversity in the region, and provide baseline data for Elk Island National Park and the Biosphere. Sites to be surveyed include: Elk Island National Park, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, Cooking Lake Blackfoot Recreation Area, Strathcona Wilderness Centre, and Nature Conservancy Canada properties. Other than permits we do not currently require support from federal or provincial governments.

FEIS will partner with the Alberta Mycological Society (AMS) to host a number of joint scientific forays within the Beaver Hills. At each foray, volunteers will collect and identify fungal specimens according to established protocols:

In the field:

After the foray:

How to Participate?

For society members who are interested in participating in this project event details will be posted on the Friends Meetup site and on the Alberta Mycological Society website. We regret that for risk management reasons participants should be members of either the Friends of Elk Island Society or the Alberta Mycological Society.  However, membership can be obtained through either of the societies' websites.

Participants should be familiar with foray protocols, which are based on those of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA), the Fungal Diversity Survey (FUNDIS) and the Alberta Mycological Society (AMS)

The FUNDIS YouTube Channel includes a great introductory video "How to Collect Macrofungal Specimens for Scientific Research". We recommend that you watch this before coming to a foray. This video,  study protocols and other useful information is linked below.

The preferred field guide for this project is Mushrooms of Western Canada  by Helene M. E. Schalkwijk-Barendsen and and Elaine Butler. Copies can be obtained from your usual book seller or in person at many events hosted by the Alberta Mycological Society.

A Warning

Handling wild mushrooms is generally quite safe. However, you should not eat any wild mushroom unless you are absolutely certain of their identification and you know that they are safe. Do not rely on web-based tools to identify mushrooms. Many toxic mushrooms are easily confused with edible mushrooms and unless you are an expert it is not worth the risk. Here's a recent article from the CBC.

Useful Links

If you only watch one of the videos linked below, make it this one: How to Collect Mushroom Specimens for Scientific Research.

Beaver Hills Mycoflora Protocols