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 with invited speakers. There are special events, 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.

Forays

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

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Susan Kayser

Susan serves on the Board as President, chairing the Board meetings and helping with announcements at the monthly general meetings. She produces and sends out the monthly newsletter. She is also the IMA trustee for the North American Mycological Association.

Pamela McCann

Pamela is in charge of planning programs and finding speakers for the monthly meetings. She also helps with logistics for special events and activities with visiting mycologists. She has worked in public health and information technology. Pamela's interests include photography, classical languages, and Elizabethan drama.

Crystal McAllister

Crystal serves on the board as Secretary; she records the minutes for the board meetings, has charge of club records, and handles club correspondence. She runs the Fungus Monitoring Program at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. Crystal teaches Biology at Proviso East High School in Maywood.

Lorinda Sorensen

Lorinda serves on the board as Treasurer. She handles the income from all sources as well as expenditures for the club. Lorinda has a strong desire to understand the beauty of nature that led her to an interest in botanical medicine.

Nicolle Omiotek

Nicolle and Jennifer organize the seasonal forays (field trips). They assign foray leaders and record the species names identified from each foray. Nicolle Omiotek is a biology enthusiast with a focus on plants and fungi. She is a contributor of photo records to Mushroom Observer.

Jennifer Howard

Jennifer and Nicolle organize the seasonal forays (field trips). Jennifer Howard is a scientific grants editor. Her lifelong interests in mushroom hunting and hiking brought her to the IMA and has spurred her to begin studying toward a degree in biochemistry.

Volunteers

Membership

  • Charles Olsen. Records

Maintain membership records, tracking status and dues payments.

Newsletter

  • Susan Kayser. Editor

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

Publicity

  • Catherine Lambrecht. Lead

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

Special Events

  • Lorinda Sues. Co-Lead
  • Fran Nathanson. Co-Lead

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

Website

  • Patrick Leacock. Editor

Manage website using WordPress. Post monthly programs and other events. Contributions welcome.

DuPage County Research

  • Crystal McAllister. Lead

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

Somme Woods Research

  • Reid Swenson. Lead
  • Patrick Leacock. Advisor

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

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.