Lecture: A Natural and Cultural History of Magic Mushrooms in BC, Canada by Andy MacKinnon and Paul Kroeger. The presentation will be given by Andy.

SVIMS Meeting and Presentation


Thursday, September 3rd, 2020, 7:00 pm

Where: Zoom

Magic mushrooms have been employed in spiritual practices in Mexico and Central America for millennia. The visionary powers of these mushrooms first became known to the world in 1957, and in the early 1960’s they sparked a social and cultural “psychedelic revolution” soon dominated by LSD. The discovery that magic mushrooms grew commonly and abundantly in the Pacific Northwest and in British Columbia helped make Canada’s westernmost province a focal point of social change. This presentation will explore the natural history of BC’s magic mushrooms, and their role in the rapidly changing countercultureof the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and up to the present day.

Andy MacKinnon: Andy is a forest ecologist who lives in Metchosin, British Columbia, Canada. Since December 2014, has also served as a Municipal Councilor in Metchosin. After completing graduate work in mycology (the study of fungi) at the University of British Columbia in 1982, Andy worked on-and-off as a forest ecologist for the BC Forest Service until his retirement in 2015. While at the Forest Service, Andy was responsible for ecosystem classification and mapping and for a program of forest ecology research focused on old growth structure and composition, effects of climate change, and BC’s native plants, fungi, and lichens. His recent research interests include ecology of BC’s ectomycorrhizal fungal species. He was lead BC scientist for Environment Canada’s 2017 ranking of BC’s threatened and endangered fungalspecies.
Andy has also taught rainforest ecology field courses in Bamfield and Tofino BC (for the University of Victoria) and Haida Gwaii (for the University of BC). He has also taught mushroom identification courses in Tofino (for the Rainforest Education Society) and in Victoria. He is co-author of six best-selling books about plants of western North America, and co-author (with Kem Luther) of the upcoming Royal BC Museum Handbook “Mushrooms of BC” (due June 2021). He is an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University and a (retired) Professional Forester and Professional Biologist in BC. Andy was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by Simon Fraser University in 2013. He is past president of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society (SVIMS), and an enthusiastic participant, speaker, and field trip leader for various mushroom festivals in southwestern BC each autumn.

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