Get to know all about us

Our Mission

To promote mycology as an avocation.

The Illinois Mycological Association is a mushroom club that gets together frequently on forays to look for and identify mushrooms. We have monthly meetings for presentations, some socializing, and discussion of fungi. There are also special events through the year, such as our workshops, annual show, and annual banquet.

From the IMA Constitution:

The purposes of the Association shall be to promote mycology as an avocation among its
members and the general public, and to assist in the development of the science of mycology. These purposes shall be served by meetings and other means of communication, by group field experiences, and by projects designed to enhance amateur mycology in Illinois.

Monthly Meetings

The IMA meets at 7:30 PM on the first Monday of each month from March to December. The September meeting is usually on the Tuesday following Labor Day. Check the events pages for locations.

At our meetings, we typically have a presenter talking about some aspect of wild mushrooms, fungi, or related topic. Members may bring fresh found fungi for identification and display. Like forays, this is a good time to learn about different species and when they are found.


During the mushroom season, mid April to early November, IMA conducts frequent mushroom hunting forays, most often in the Chicago region, but sometimes we travel farther afield for variety and weekend trips.

We gather at a predetermined site and venture into the woods to collect samples of mushrooms (and gather edibles where permitted). We return to our meeting point to look over our mushrooms for identification and discussion.

Education and Fun

Meet people who share your interests and expand your knowledge of mycology. As a result, you may add new edibles to the ones you normally hunt, learn new tips, and add to your circle of fungal friends.

Our programs and other events will expand your understanding of the Kingdom of Fungi. They are really unlike plants and animals, having their own lifestyles as decomposers, mutualists, or parasites.

Our Team of Officers and Volunteers

Patrick Leacock

Patrick is a professional mycologist, a scientific advisor for IMA, and the liaison with the Field Museum. He started his mushroom activities with the Minnesota Mycological Society before moving to Chicago. Patrick is also active with the North American Mycological Association and has served as Voucher Coordinator for 18 years.

Pamela McCann

Pamela has worked in public health and information technology. Pamela's interests include photography, classical languages, and Elizabethan drama. Her past experiences at producing events and engaging presenters for community organizations make Pamela an excellent addition to the IMA team.

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Susan Kayser

Susan has several roles with IMA. She produces and sends out the monthly newsletter. She maintains the membership records. Susan serves on the board as Secretary; she records the minutes for the board meetings, has charge of club records, and handles club correspondence.

Ron Kot

Ron serves on the board as Treasurer. He handles the income from all sources as well as expenditures for the club. The Treasurer serves as a member of the Membership Committee, helping to keep track of members and dues payments.

Rocky Houghtby

Rocky is an avid mushroom hunter and photographer turned citizen scientist. He is a contributor of photo records to Mushroom Observer. He has a great knowledge of the Cook County Forest Preserves. Rocky learned microscopy techniques and literature review to delve deep into mushroom identification.

Lorinda Sues

Lorinda loves the outdoors and all aspects of nature. She is a good photographer and you will see some of her photos on this website. Lorinda has assisted Patrick on numerous days of mushroom field work and is a museum volunteer for 2016.



  • Catherine Lambrecht. Lead

Publicize meetings on social media and distribute press releases for special public events.

Special Events

  • Stephanie Kowalyk. Lead

Organize special events. Our main event is the Labor Day weekend member foray & BBQ lunch and Chicago Botanic Garden Show.

DuPage County Research

  • Crystal McAllister. Lead

Citizen Science program of mushroom monitoring at DuPage County Forest Preserves.

Somme Woods Research

  • Reid Swenson. Lead

Citizen Science project documenting diversity of mushrooms in oak woodlands and their response to restoration.


  • Susan Kayser. Records
  • Ron Kot. Dues payments

Maintain membership records, tracking status and dues payments.


  • Susan Kayser. Editor

Produce and distribute to members the monthly newsletter and other e-mail notices.


  • Patrick Leacock. Editor
  • Nicholas Teeple. Tech

New website using WordPress. Site development is ongoing. Contributors welcome.

Become a Volunteer

Learn with us

Learn to Identify Mushrooms

Members will show you how to look for mushrooms, how to identify them, and how to use field guides. Learn the best edible mushrooms, as well as similar, inedible, or poisonous fungi.

Receive Monthly Newsletter

Club members receive a great digital monthly newsletter with details on meetings and forays. It also includes articles, recipes, research, art and information on additional events.

Contribute as a Citizen Scientist

Help us find and document mushrooms and other fungi around Chicago and the Midwest. Mycologists work with us at forays, meetings, and workshops.

All kinds of folks are interested in wild mushrooms!

  • Mushroom hunter: a person that looks for wild mushrooms. A Mushroomer.
  • Mycophile: a person that loves fungi; a mushroom or fungus enthusiast. A Fun Guy or Fun Gal.
  • Mycophagist: a person that eats fungi and loves to share recipes. A Pot-hunter.
  • Mycologist: a person that studies fungi (you don’t need a PhD).
  • Citizen Scientist: a person that contributes to scientific research.