Anyone who wants to participate in the collection foray will meet at the speaker tent at 11am on Saturday. We will brief you on the information we will need collected and how to photograph mushrooms and post those photos to iNaturalist. We strongly encourage everyone to look over the how-to presentation ahead of time here: Citizen Science How-To
We will assign you to a group leader. We will assign everyone to a small group lead by a foray leader. Your group leader will lead you to their assigned area. You will be looking for fungi around that area. Please only collect within general eyesight of your group leader, so we know what general area your collections came from. Look for mushrooms that are fresh, not old or damaged. Work together to take HIGH QUALITY OBSERVATIONS of the mushrooms and fill out the provided field datasheets, then place the collected mushroom with the field datasheet into the provided brown paper bag in your basket. When you are ready to head back, take your collections to the ID table where the mycologists will ID your mushrooms. The fungi will then be dried, sequenced and archived at the herbaria of Auburn and West Alabama Universities.
Will I Be Receiving Physical Tickets?
No, we are not sending physical tickets. Please be prepared to show your ticket purchase confirmation receipt at the gate (printed or on your phone). You will at that time receive a handstamp and a wristband that will correspond with your festival access level.
If at all possible, please leave your pets at home. That being said, we are not disallowing leashed, well-behaved dogs from strolling with you around the festival. Dogs WILL NOT be allowed on any group lead forays. Dogs must stay leashed at all times. Any dogs who become a disruption or a nuisance will be, along with their owner, asked to leave.
No, unfortunately, the park grounds are not ADA accessible.
No, individual fires are not permitted. We will have a communal fire pit that you can cook personal food on. Or you are welcome to bring a personal campstove or backpacking stove like a JetBoil.
There is potable water spigots at each of the small pavilions next to the speaker tent, and also available next to the restroom building. Attendees may get water as needed, but may not hook up to it.
Power outlets are available in these same locations, vendors and AMS staff have priority on outlets. Open outlets may be utilized on a temporary basis as needed.
There is a small bathroom facility and there will be additional port-o-johns on site. No showers.
Children are welcome and we are planning to have a few youth focused activities available (face painting and a mushroom storytime) but this event is primarily geared toward adults. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. The festival is immediately adjacent to a large lake and the risk of drowning is very real. There is NO SWIMMING. We love to spark interest in mushrooms in youth and encourage their attendance on forays. We expect parents to address their children's behavior if it is detracting from the lecture or destructive to the environment. Parents with children who are being continuously disruptive or destructive will be asked to leave.
There will be a SMALL number of food vendors on site. Bringing food for your personal consumption (not sales) is encouraged. There will be a communal fire pit available, but no personal fires allowed. Personal cookstoves or backpack stoves are permitted. There are several restaurant options in town about 10-15 minutes away, including Jack's, Wendy's, Burger King and a Huddle House about 20 minutes from the festival. As well as local non-chain establishments.
For attending forays, some recommended items include: shoes/boots suitable for hiking, bugspray, sunscreen, weather appropriate clothing, a basket or container to collect mushrooms, cellphone with the iNaturalist app already downloaded, water, a small pocket or mushrooming knife, a UV flashlight (For the UV Foray)
Campers: tent/hammock, sleeping bag suitable for October nighttime temperatures (check closer to the festival date, but sometimes can drop down into the 50s) personal food, water bottle, personal cook stove or backpack stove, clothing suitable for the weather, shoes/boots suitable for hiking, bugspray, sunscreen, personal first aid supplies, personal toiletries, wet wipes.
There is NO SWIMMING in Lake Howard.
You may bring a kayak, canoe or paddleboard if you like. No trailers, there will not be room to maneuver a trailer. No jetskis, skidoos or other engine powered watercraft will be permitted. All boaters are required to abide by Alabama boating regulations, which includes having a lifevest (PFD) for each person on board the boat and children under 8 are required to wear a PDF at all times on a boat or watercraft.
Fishing permits are required and available on site. Permits are $2 per person, per day. Alabama fishing limits will be enforced. No fishing is allowed thirty minutes before sunrise or thirty minutes after sunset.