Michael W. Beug

Unido: 27.sep.2019 Última actividad: 16.jul.2024 iNaturalist

I started mushrooming in 1968 or 1969 and began photographing fungi in 1973. My photographs now have appeared in well over 80 books and articles on mushrooms. In about 1975, at the invitation of my mentor Kit Scates, I joined the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) and the Pacific Northwest Key Council, a mycology service group dedicated to writing macroscopic keys for the identification of fungi. My specialties are the Ascomycota, the genus Ramaria, and all toxic and hallucinogenic mushrooms. I am researching oak-associated fungi of the Columbia River Gorge, especially Cortinarius species. I have discovered nearly 100 new mushroom species from a dozen genera. I am fungi photo editor for the University of British Columbia E-Flora website and supply mushroom photos to the Burke Museum (University of Washington). My hobbies are organic farming winemaking, and of course mushroom hunting.

I was on the faculty of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington for 32 years. There I taught chemistry and researched effects of pollutants on the environment, taught mycology, organic farming, and sustainable energy systems. I was Paul Stamets’ professor and with him studied (and named where needed) the psilocybin containing mushrooms of Cascadia. I have come to see careful and wise use of psilocybin mushrooms as the way out of the nation’s opioid crisis, an important tool in dealing with depression, and a route to making people more caring for each other and for the earth. I also see evidence for a role for psilocybin mushrooms in helping to slow or moderate neurological diseases. But always bear in mind these lines from R. Gordon Wasson’s May 13, 1957, Life Magazine article introducing these mushrooms to the white world: “Among the Indians, their use is hedged with restrictions of many kinds. Unlike ordinary edible mushrooms, they are never sold in the marketplace, and no Indian dares to eat them frivolously, for excitement. The Indians speak of their use as muy delicado, that is, perilous.”

In NAMA, I served on the Education Committee from 1974-75 to present, joined the Toxicology Committee when it was formed in about 1975 and chaired the Toxicology Committee for over 20 years. I am past chair of the Editorial Committee, and past editor of the Journal McIlvainea (for 10 years). I won the 2006 NAMA Award for Contributions to Amateur Mycology. I regularly write about mushrooms in Fungi Magazine, McIlvainea, The Mycophile, and Mushroom: The Journal of Wild Mushrooming. In the late 1970s and early 1980s I prepared about 15 slide-tape programs for the education committee that were loaned out free to clubs, etc. Then starting in 2006, again at the request of the education committee, I prepared over two dozen PowerPoint presentations about mushrooms (long available through NAMA). I updated those PowerPoint Programs early in 2022 and look forward to the day when NAMA reposts those programs (both as PowerPoint presentations and as You-Tube videos).
With coauthors Alan and Arleen Bessette, I wrote Ascomycete Fungi of North America: A Mushroom Reference Guide, University of Texas Press, 2014. I am a coauthor of MycoMatch, a free downloadable mushroom identification program for Pacific Northwest fungi covering nearly 5,000 taxa with over 6,000 images (by over 180 photographers) of over 2,300 taxa (www dot mycomatch dot com).
My newest book, Mushrooms of Cascadia: An Illustrated Key, was published by Fungi Press in 2021 (see my website (www dot mushroomsofcascadia dot com) for more information about the book; blogs, a vimeo, and You-Tube presentations; and updates). You can even order autographed and inscribed copies for the special people in your life. The book is designed as a field companion to MycoMatch (or any traditional field guide). The illustrated key makes identification much easier and faster; and allows for more species (about 950 species and 1050 photographs) to be covered in a small book of just 314 pages weighing 1 pound three ounces. It is designed for beginners and experts alike and helps users everywhere learn to recognize the major fungal genera.

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