Kitty LaBounty got her botanical start as a young girl growing up in Oregon collecting plants, fungi and lichens in the basket of her bicycle. While working towards a degree in botany at the University of Washington, she journeyed to Southeast Alaska as a student volunteer botanists for the USFS ecosystem inventory and mapping project. She fell in love with the region and has now made Sitka her home for more than 30 years.
In addition to her life-long interest in forest ecology and identification of all things not motile, Ms. LaBounty is a passionate gardener, wild food harvester, and dabbler in fungi and lichen-based natural dyes. She enjoys sharing her passions with others - listeners of Raven Radio (KCAW) may recognize her voice as one of the long-time hosts of the Garden Show and regular guest on the Sitka Nature show. She has regularly taught a fall mushroom workshop in Sitka, and worked with many students at the University of Alaska Southeast on science examining the relationships and roles of fungi in the ecosystem and cultivation of fungi on brewers waste and other locally available food waste.
The Pacific Northwest Fungus Master is back! Author of Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (a must-have reference for this part of Alaska) and Tricholomas of North America, Steve will once again grace us with his vast myco-knowledge. He has been identifying and photographing mushrooms and studying their ecology for over 30 years. Steve belongs to the Mycological Society of America, North American Mycological Association, and the International Mycorrhiza Society, writes for several mycological publications, and frequently serves as foray mycologist or invited lecturer for mycological societies and other nature groups. His research interests include the roles of fungi in forest nutrient cycling (bio excerpt borrowed from Timberpress). Copies of his books will be available for purchase at the Fungus Fair, along with autograph opportunities!
Chad is a classically trained chef that has spent the last decade working in restaurants and private clubs around the San Francisco Bay Area. He spends his free time hunting for and learning about mushrooms, along with seeking out new techniques and traditional ethnic recipes to apply to them. Chad frequently demos and teaches wild mushroom cookery at private and public events, does wild mushroom pop-up dinners, and recently released an innovative new wild mushroom cookbook, The Mushroom Hunter’s Kitchen.
Melissa Gabielson is the Prince William Sound zone wildlife biologist for the US Forest Service. She has been collecting and dying with fungi since 2013. She co-organizes the Cordova Fungus Festival and is a member of the Turnagain Arm Mycological Society.
Far North Fungi
Gabe DeGange and Allison Dunbar started Far North Fungi in January 2017.Their mushroom journey began much earlier. They were both inspired to pursue mushrooms by a speech given by a famous mycologist at the Bioneers conference in 2011. Allison watched in the audience in California while Gabe watched remotely in Alaska. Two years later, Gabe and Allison would meet at Paul Stamets' Fungi Perfecti mushroom cultivation conference. Their connection over mushrooms grew stronger as Allison worked on a mushroom farm in Atlanta and Gabe dreamed of starting his own mushroom business.
In the Summer of 2014, Allison came to visit Alaska and see the progress Gabe was making on his business. After networking and exploring the great Alaskan outdoors, they decided it was advantageous to combine their skills and become business partners.Through much hard work, second jobs, trials and errors, the mushroom vision was realized and Far North Fungi was born.
Teresa Paquet is a fungus dye hobbyist who was first introduced to dyeing with mushrooms in 2011 and has attended many dye workshops since. “I enjoy the process and the results, which are typically a surprise. You never know what you are going to get!” She is a member of the Turnagain Arm Mycological Society and has assisted with dye workshops held at the Girdwood Fungus Fair over the last several years.
Kate Mohatt has co-organized the Girdwood Fungus Fair since its inception in 2008. She is an ecologist for the Prince William Sound zone based in Girdwood
and co-authored the Mushrooms of the National Forests in Alaska brochure. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR and completed a Masters in Plant Science at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT studying mycorrhizal fungi associated with whitebark pine. She has been collecting fungi in Alaska since 2006, with annual trips to the west coast in the fall to extend the mushroom season.
Christin studied the potential for oyster mushrooms to clean up diesel for her master's thesis at UAF. She has degrees in Biology and Environmental Science from Oberlin College, and studied amphibian chytrid at Cornell in undergrad.
In Alaska she has taught mushroom classes from McCarthy to Denali to Bethel, mostly with arctic mycologist Dr. Gary Larusen. Now she lives in Anchorage and loves to look for all species of mushrooms!