Identifying New England’s Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms

Hidden Valley Nature Center | Sat, Aug 24 | All Ages


Time: Sat, Aug 24, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Location: Hidden Valley Nature Center


This course is full, with a long waiting list. Check back next summer for another chance to attend!

Most people interested in learning to collect and identify mushrooms are driven more by a hunger for their great edible potential than curiosity about their ecology. Maine offers a great opportunity to sustainably collect world-class edible mushrooms as you enjoy a walk through the woods and fields. The only thing standing in the way is having the knowledge and confidence to tell the good edible mushrooms from those that can sicken you.  The good news is that there are a handful of common, easily identified, great edibles that can satisfy most people’s hunger for mushrooms.

This day-long class is devoted to building the skills needed to identify common mushrooms and to begin a lifetime of of wild mushrooming. The class will combine lecture and outdoor experience to look at identification features, ecology and the seasonal occurrence of mushrooms. We will look at edible as well as common poisonous mushrooms and may end the day by cooking some of the mushrooms we find. Focus will be on learning of a few common edible and medicinal mushrooms and building skills for ongoing identification. Come prepared for a hike and to have a fun learning day. Participants are invited to bring fresh specimens of mushrooms from their own property.

Class Agenda:

  1. Introduction: Mushroom Basics
    1. Life Cycle of a mushroom-producing fungi
    2. Ecological Roles of Mushrooms
    3. Classification of Fungi and Mushrooms
  2. Mushroom Morphology-Identification features
    1. The major groups of Mushrooms
    2. The identification features
  3. Guidelines for safe and responsible mushrooming
  4. Use of Mushrooms:
    1. Mushrooms as Food
    2. Mushrooms as Medicine
    3. Mushrooms as Poison


  1. Afternoon field learning and collection
  2. Concluding remarks and Wrap-up
    1. Where to go from here
    2. Cooking examples
    3. Resources for further learning


Workshop leader Greg Marley has been collecting, studying, eating, growing and teaching mushrooms for over 45 years. Marley has spread his love of mushrooms to hundreds through walks, talks and classes held across the New England over the past 20 years. He is the founder of Mushrooms for Health, a small company providing medicinal mushroom education and products made with Maine medicinal mushrooms. Marley is the author of Mushrooms for Health; Medicinal Secrets of Northeastern Fungi, (Downeast Books , 2009) and the award-winning Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares; The Love Lore and Mystic of Mushrooms, (Chelsea Green, 2010). As a volunteer mushroom identification consultant to Poison Centers across New England since 2001, Marley provides expertise in mushroom poisoning cases. He is a frequent lecturer to college groups and a mushrooming foray faculty member. When not mushrooming, Marley is a clinical social worker and behavioral health consultant specializing in suicide prevention.

Cost: $60, $50 for Midcoast Conservancy members