Svims Cowichan Foray 2023

Prez Mel welcomes the crown on Saturday morning

The weather was frosty but clear for the annual SVIMS foray to Cowichan Lake. 

About 60 people came for all or part of the weekend to collect samples of the local mushrooms and identify them.

The collections started on Saturday morning. Groups went to three different areas and brought back specimens.  These were arranged on a display table and given IDs. In the afternoon, groups went out again.

It was a good year for mushroom variety. Just over 175 species were identified–a SVIMS record. The list can be viewed here.

A big thanks to Kurt and all the rest of the time who put the foray together. Photos by Steve Strybosch.

The SVIMS home for the weekkend--the Cowichan Lake Education Centre
Andy takes a group down the Schenstrom Trail and the Pacific Forestry Centre
Because of a ground frost the night before--many of the mushrooms were frozen when collected. Calocera cornea, for example.
Bryce and Adolf work on identifying the mushrooms that were collected.
On Saturday afternoon, several SVIMS people stayed in the collection room to begin laying out and identifying mushrooms.
With the mushrooms identified, a little time for musical fun on Saturday evening.
Some folks sneaked out in the evening for a UV light visit to the mushrooms around the centre.
On Sunday moring, foray participants talked about their favourite discoveries.

SVIMS Mushroom Show Returns to RBCM

Newcombe Conference Hall in the Royal BC Museum became the site for the SVIMS 2023 mushroom show. This was a return to RBCM for SVIMS–the show was at the museum in the 1990s. The 2023 show was the capstone event of a wide-ranging RBCM Fungi Fest that included the opening of a new IMAX film on mushrooms, a mushroom walk, and two noontime lectures.

This year’s event was, without doubt, the most stylish show ever, thanks to some new table signage prepared by Leya Costa, the species cards created in 2022, and elegant posters coordinated by show runner Andrew Anderson.

In the days before the show, SVIMS colllectors ranged far and wide to harvest the show mushrooms. Setup for the show was on Saturday, October 21. Workers arrived about noon and quickly assembled the displays.  The mushrooms were arranged on small paper boats and plates. Identifiers worked to put names to the more than 200 species that were brought in.

After the doors to the show opened at 10 am on Sunday, nearly a thousand visitors streamed through the displays, smelling and touching the mushrooms, asking questions to the SVIMS members behind the tables, and lugging in mushrooms to be identified. Visitors were able to buy the new SVIMS calendar and take out SVIMS membships. Displays at the edges of the room attracted children and foragers. Beginning at noon, short illustrated talks by five different SVIMS members–to capacity audiences–took place in the room next to the bookstore. 

Visitors walking through the doors of the RBCM were guided to Newcombe Conference Hall by a series of posters.
A big thanks to the many, many SVIMS members who contributed their time and effort to make the show a success. And also the the staff from the RBMC, who worked throughout the day to ensure that everything worked smoothly. (Photos by Steve Strybosch).
As the mushrooms were brought in on Saturday, SVIMS volunteers identified them, attached ID cards, and arranged them on the display tables.
The final display sat overnight at the museum, waiting for the morning rush of visitors.
A new addition this year--wooden pedestals to hold some of the specimens above the table.
The show in progress.
The show featured more than a dozen good edibles, such as this Bleeding Milk Cap.
People also learned that some mushrooms found around Victoria should never be eaten.
Andy works the ID table behind one of the new tent signs. Is it Andy or the mushroom that is "currently unidentified?"


October 8 foray results, SVIMS mushroom show October 22, Cowichan Lake Foray October 27-29.

Results of the October 8 foray have been posted.

The mushroom show is coming! This year it’s at the Royal BC Museum. (Click on poster for more info.)  Buy a 2024 SVIMS Calendar.

Cowichan Lake Foray

OCTOBER 27 – 29, 2023

OCTOBER 4, 2023 Update:

Registration closes October 16, 2023. There are still a few spaces remaining for the Weekend and Day participants. Don’t be disappointed.  

The Foray is for both novice and knowledgeable mushroom enthusiasts.

More specific information about the site and the Foray, including the registration form and fees can be found under “Resources”, “Docs” and then “Cowichan Foray 2023 Information” and “Cowichan Foray 2023 Registration Form”.

If you have any questions please contact Kurt Raeder as

Monthly Meeting Monday October 9, 2023

The October Monthly Meeting and Presentation can be attended via Zoom or in person at St Luke’s Hall, 3821 Cedar Hill Cross Rd,  Victoria BC.

Note that this is a Monday, not the usual Tuesday time.

6:45 pm promptly, ending 9:30 pm.  Zoom link will be sent to members by email. 

Our speaker is Alison Pouliot, on tour through Pacific Northwest from Australia, She will speak in person about her new book and experiences as an Australian ecologist, author and professional photographer. The title of the presentation is Curry Brain and Jelly Punk. More details after the photos.

Curry Punk & Jelly Brain 

 Alison will talk about the Conservation & Aesthetics of Fungi. The earth’s rapidly changing climate and environmental issues have come into sharp focus through the demise of charismatic megafauna and the ‘biodiversity crisis’.  

But what about stinkhorns and slime moulds?  How do fungi and their kin get our attention when they are not only overshadowed by more ‘popular’ organisms, but are rarely included in our ideas about ‘nature’ or ‘biodiversity’? 

Over the last 25 years Alison has divided her time between hemispheres, working both with fungi and their followers. She has been actively involved in fungal conservation and land restoration programs.  In this talk Alison will explore how fungi are perceived across hemispheres in conservation contexts and which fungal flagships best capture the public imagination. Alison will also some stories from the writing of her recent book, Meetings with Remarkable Mushrooms, in which she interacted with fungi and their followers across a dozen countries. 

DR ALISON POULIOT is an ecologist, author and professional environmental photographer with a focus on fungi. Her work spans both northern and southern hemispheres ensuring two autumns and a double dose of fungi each year. Alison is actively involved in teaching, research and conservation, and has conducted over 800 fungus forays across many countries. Alison is author of The Allure of Fungi, Wild Mushrooming, and Meeting with Remarkable

Foray Sunday October 8, 2023

On Sunday, October 8, 2023, SVIMS members and guest Alison Pouliot gathered at the Heatherbell entrance to Royal Roads University to see if mushrooms were poppin’. For the most part, they weren’t. Searchers still managed to turn up more than 30 species of fungi.

The results of the foray are posted on iNaturalist. You can view them here. As always, iNaturalist counts may change as other people weigh in on the observations.


One dead log produced a number of species. Alison photographs while Elora and Mel record. Photo by Steve Strybosch.
An old, infected Pycnoporus fulgens. Photo by Steve Strybosch.
SVIMS members gather at the end of the foray to discuss finds.