Registered Charity No. 1118651
The website of the UK's leading
charity in mycological conservation


In years gone by, understanding of fungi in the wild, or field mycology, was generally looked on by many people as a quirky pastime for crusty old gentlemen sporting bushy beards and muttering copious volumes of unintelligible language. Those who labelled themselves field mycologists did little to dispel this elite and exclusive image. There persisted an inbuilt notion that mycology was too complex a subject for the general public to grasp, and therefore should be left to the experts. Public forays were rare events and generally served to point out a few common species with more memorable vernacular names. The result was that field mycology started to lag far behind more popular and accessible wildlife interests.

Today we know that fungi are more closely involved in the complex web of life in woodlands and fields than was understood as little as twenty or thirty years ago.   Then, mushrooms and toadstools were generally regarded as 'rubbish hoovers' or damaging pests.  We didn't understand that many species, far from being harmful, develop intimate relationships with trees and other green plants and help to protect them from adverse conditions.

The Trust's intention has been to change some of the more conservative perceptions of field mycology or fungus foraying. This, by the way, is significantly different from foraging, which is about picking fungi to eat.  If we are to protect our many species of fungi more effectively, some of them severely threatened and vulnerable we need to encourage far greater involvement from the general public, and this means making fungus foraying popular, friendly, and accessible.

We also need your financial support through membership. The Trust has a number of significant conservation projects under way, including the management and upkeep of the CATE national database, but they all cost money and we are able to rely very little on outside sponsorship.

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