High School Junior, Home School
Curator, Andy Warhol Film Project
Whitney Museum of American Art
New York, NY
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July 27, 2002
Bear Island, ME
Xavy: Allegra, Alexander's mother, gave us a book on mushrooms and it inspired us to go foraging on the island. We found all of these mushrooms just on Spook Trail. For some reason, the further north we went, the fewer mushrooms there were. And...next year...butterflies!
Callie: We knew the amanitas and Xavy knew the boletus. We thought it would be good to identify the ones that we like and the ones that are lethal. We'll separate the different kinds in general and work from there, becoming more specific. The book gives you questions to answer about each species as a way to initially separate them into categories.
I've spent a lot of time identifying birds on this island but this is the first time I've tied to identify mushrooms. I was looking for the Asian Shore Crab today that is invading Penobscot Bay but I didn't find any.
Later by email from Callie:
Xavy and I did spend an evening trying to identify the mushrooms, we got them roughly separated into 3 groups -- amanitas, boletes, and unknowns. But then when we started looking closely in the guide we realized we were mostly just guessing and really had no idea -- you're supposed to make spore prints (enclosing the mushroom under glass on white paper), the identification procedure seemed very technical -- well, I think you really have to take a course or something to even begin to identify mushrooms accurately. So the mushrooms sat around in the Big House for a few days and were admired by various people, and then Kariska threw them over the cliff. Some of them were really poisonous, and there were little kids there.
Variety of mushrooms found on Bear Island