Oh this is perfect - THANK YOU!
Wow! Looks like I was already subscribed. Thank you for the reminder!
It’s been SO SO helpful. As has you sharing your experience here. Just please be careful!!
INat’s interface really isn’t too hard. Sign up, hit upload, and it prompts you pretty well from there - though I believe there is a new user guide that’s worth a read. Feel free to @ me once you figure it out, just on one or two obs, I’ll glance through them all.
Like I said though, no guarantee I can ID everything - I really have a lot of genuses I still need to improve on, and honestly, some mushrooms are just so cryptic that they can be extremely hard to separate from look alikes. Plus, there really aren’t a ton of users that focus on fungi, especially when compared to stuff like birds, butterflies, or dragonflies - So don’t get discouraged if you don’t manage to get everything IDed to species. Its just never going to happen to fungi
Speaking of birds though, iNat can be fun to help document yard visitors like bugs, birds, wild plants, etc. I’d encourage you to upload more stuff you see to iNat - its such a great way to continue to engage with nature.
As far as mushroom groups go, honestly you could try to google it, or search on facebook. Here’s one in western MA that I found - https://www.pvmamyco.org/
EDIT: Here’s the link to the North American Mycological Association’s page - https://namyco.org/ - they have a list of all the clubs registered with them across the continent
Boston proper has a club https://bostonmyco.org/
I’m glad I could help!
If you can educate yourself on how great mushrooms are for the environment l, maybe a different mindset will help
I get contamination anxiety about some things sometimes also, but as others said, the mushrooms can’t hurt you unless you eat them. They are very important to biodiversity, it’s true if you have toddlers or pets using the yard you might want to remove fruiting bodies from areas they frequent, but with me, i live in an area with lots of natural things around including poisonous plants and mushrooms, so my kids learned pretty early, just to ‘wave at the mushrooms’ and not touch them (so they don’t get tempted to eat one, not cuz touching a mushroom will hurt them) and not to touch plants alongside a trail unless we say it is OK (because poison ivy WILL hurt them).
Anyway, if you have no issues with kids or pets i suggest you just enjoy the fungi and add them to inaturalist. As others have said they are crucial for life on earth in general. Most of the ones you see are either in symbiotic relationships with plants (that plants depend on to survive) or else are turning dead wood into soil which is also obviously super important.
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