The fungi among us

Mushroom week is in full swing at HSU
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Mushroom week is in full swing at HSU

Humboldt State is home to a variety of mushrooms that are sprouting as the rain comes and goes. CCAT held a series of presentations and workshops to further educate more students on mycology this week, and it came with a lot of educational fun facts about mushrooms. The most interesting being the things that can be made from mushrooms.

Casey Albarran, the internal co-director of CCAT said mushrooms can be more than just food.

“There are so many applications of mushrooms that are revolutionizing different things in the world,” Albarran said.

According to students at CCAT mushrooms can be made into bricks, buildings, leather and of course food. They can be medicinal as well. These discoveries of mushrooms have led to so many innovations with what can be made from them. There is still a lot of testing that needs to be made, though. The use of mushrooms traces back to traditional Chinese medicine, and that’s the kind of information that CCAT wanted to display to the students.

Michelle Stone, president of CCAT said that her favorite thing about mushrooms is identifying them.

“It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt without knowing what you’ll find,” Stone said.

Stone explained that with making something like leather out of mushrooms, it would support the vegan movement and revolutionize the industry making leather. She also explained that over-producing mushrooms can be a problem with all these innovations, and the goal would be to create a more sustainable form of production.

“We wouldn’t be able to just completely switch to myco-building, but it’s still an interesting idea,” Albarran said.

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Mushroom growing locally in Humboldt County. | Photo by Amanda Schultz

One big thing about mycology is that it is incredibly complex. Just when you think you know a good amount of information there turns out to be a whole new array of facts and information.

JT Abbott, a student involved with CCAT, explained that despite his knowledge on mushrooms that there is still so much he doesn’t know.

“I love substituting my groceries by finding mushrooms, they’re a really fun addition to my forest walks,” Abbott said. “But eat them only if you are good at foraging.”

Mushrooms are notorious for their role in breaking things down in the ecosystem, and it’s myco-remediation that draws so many students to learning more about them.

Ben Nguyen is another student that is apart of CCAT.

“Nothing would be possible without them because they’re the natural digesters of Earth,” Nguyen said.

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