Yes, that is what my sister thought, too, when we were kids. She rubbed it on herself to show us she wasn’t allergic anymore. Last time she did that stupid trick.
My mindset really changed in 2020, when there was an absolute boom in interest in foraging and mushroom hunting where I live. People were trampling all over, cutting down all of the wildflowers and polypores to turn into “medicinal tinctures,” getting photos of them squeezing frogs and catching birds in their hands, tying roadkilled animal skulls to their heads as “Viking headdresses”, and picking every single mushroom on the trail so they could dump them in the car park for a “collage photo” to put on Instagram. I didn’t want to associate with that sort of disrespect. It encouraged me to get into restoration - and to get the hell off social media.
I’m pretty sure I’m not allergic but I refuse to test that theory out
I am so glad I ate wild strawberries when I was a kid. They tasted way better than any strawberries purchased in a store!
As with so many things, it’s not the concept that’s the problem, it’s the QUANTITY, boosted often beyond all reason by the “Instagram-effect”, and I too have backed off social media for exactly the same reason. This has happened for example, with bluebells in the UK, although I’m not sure a fad for poking dead things with a stick would have the same appeal. You never know though!
Your bluebells is one reason why my hackles rise when I see an iNat obs of (any) picked flowers. Unless it is from ‘your’ garden or you are a scientist with a permit … I scroll past. We are in spring flower season (altho there is a blizzard bucketing down right now!) People NEED to sit or lie among the flowers!! Why? At the West Coast Park, visitors are now obliged to drive thru, with a couple of places for picnics. Or limited hiking groups with permits.
Yeah, let’s get people back into their cars… that’s surely the only way the earth can be saved
(I know this isn’t your FAULT but it makes me so mad)
there’s always a balance here, but if people want to roll around in flowers they should convert their lawn to native plants and roll in those. I know not everyone has control of a lawn, but it would be a start. I’m not a fan of closing access to large areas either though…
Neither was I… once. But now I’ve too often been witness to the disturbance and damage large numbers of even the best intentioned people can do to anything but the most resilient of environments. Of course every situation is potentially different, but again it’s a numbers game. And usually big numbers and nature just don’t see eye to eye.
My eye twitches so much whenever I see people in mushroom groups waxing poetic about the medicinal qualities of Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) and with abandon encouraging everyone to go pick them and make tinctures! (its always mushroom groups too man, despite it being a plant.) Sure let’s encourage masses of people to go pick this rare and easily disturbed parasitic plant to make a tincture that has no scientifically proven benefits and may actually be mildly toxic.
I’m generally not too pressed by mushroom harvests, but still, occasionally you’ll get someone pick boxes of stuff and just throw them up on an ID forum to go ‘HEY CAN I EAT THESE?’ and it will be a random mix of inedibly spicy russula/lactarius, amanitas that will absolutely give you a bad day (or your last day), and boletes that are so far gone and bruised from being knocked around in a box that there’s no hope of IDing them properly - or its just a bunch of bitter Tylopilus
Mushrooms are a fruiting body and picking them doesn’t really hurt the organism, but by wantonly stripping the woods of everything we see, we remove food from the animals that live in the environment. Which is seriously not cool, I guarantee that none of the people stripping the woods without knowing what they’re picking are actually picking things because they absolutely need to eat those mushrooms to survive - otherwise they’d at least have SOME idea of what they’re doing
Obligate picture of a squirrel enjoying a Russula
Respect for nature is paramount
yes, it definitely depends on where you are, and small preserves or fragile habitats aren’t good places to allow people to roam. But i also think if you want people to care about nature you need to let them go off trail and explore, even if it has some impact. I think the ideal way to approach it is to encourage full participation in disturbed areas that are being restored, and discourage people from trampling things like bogs or annual wildflower meadows.
Yeah, I was invited to be a moderator of one of those big 30k+ mushroom groups, and I got disillusioned and left. I signed up to say, “Sorry, that’s not a chanterelle! That has gills. Here are some pictures to help you,” not to find myself saying 90 times a day, “Please, do not give your mother with cancer Monotropa uniflora, you are helping neither her nor the environment, stop, also, that thing you say is ‘witches butter’ is a slime mold, please stop putting it in your mouth.” I still have a collection of screenshots of “greatest hits” - totally bananas stuff people posted on that group, like, “is this edible” about a dinner roll they found under a bush and mistook for a Lycoperdon, and “what mushroom is this? Eatable?” on a photo of rotting kimchi!
I’ve spent so much time either typing Desarmillaria caespitosa or telling people not to eat Amanita muscaria var. guesowii the last few days… (Not to say it isn’t edible, but if you have to ASK if an amanita is edible you shouldn’t be eating it)
Ooh I love touching and poking, probably to a fault. When I come across dead critters I take advantage of the opportunity to get closeups that you wouldn’t be able to orherwise. I use gl9ves (or the occasional grocery bag) to protect my hands. I also poke things I wish I hadn’t, most notably tapeworms in coyote scat and regurgitated rabbit stomach and intestines from a bobcat. Ugh. LOL
Well, once upon a time I poked some poop with a stick and was duly yelled at by my parents. So I’m rather wary these days (I mean, I do understand why). Plus concerns about disease, and the fact that it’s generally considered not okay to disturb anything in nature areas around me, which I tend to agree with. This is why a lot of my mushroom pics are unidentifiable. If I see a mushroom way off the path, I snap a photo with my telephoto. (I know I’ve said this elsewhere, too) Who knows what I could be harming in-between?
That said, I’ve no qualms about picking up dead inverts in my house or at work bare-handed and certain living ones. I’m the designated critter remover at my place of work. I routinely pick up crickets and such to put them back outside. (If it’s winter I move them out of the room where they are an issue.) If I were to join a research team that needed to handle gross (edit: inverts aren’t gross!) stuff as part of the job, I’d probably be okay, so long as I could wash up later.
On a side note — I save the eating of mushrooms to the ones that come from the store. At least those are usually safe.
I remember assisting with a “Prairie Appreciation day” on the Puget Prairies. In the time it took for the group to walk to the first stopping point and assemble into a circle to hear the guide, they somehow managed to trample 100% of the biscuitroot plants in sight. They could hardly have been more thorough if they had been trying.
And what you want to say – knowing it isn’t at all tactful – is, “if you don’t already know the answer then you shouldn’t have picked them.”
These days? I don’t know if there has been an increase. I would assume it could be the unnatural lifestyle that’s been overtaking society.
I have seen and been disgusted by my fellow park goers, also. From trash (if you carried it in, carry it out!) to trail erosion by bike riders, motorized vehicles racing through as well.
On the other side, I’ve seen an increase in Forest Schools and more outdoor education opportunities. Maybe there’s a chance for educated outdoor participants.
For the most part, I no longer understand “modern human behavior”. None of it is normal.
I’m the barely supervised boomer kid, the one frequently admonished for the amount of dirt I carried in and omg what was in your pocket?
My favorite jobs were animal care at a county farm park and veterinary assistant.
I poke and prod and flip things around. Sometimes with a stick, sometimes with a glove, usually without much thought, bare handed. Except for inspecting feces. That’s NEVER bare handed.
Sounds like your immune system got some good exposure to things as a kid. Probably like me. If it didn’t kill us it made us stronger.
I grow wild strawberries in my garden now because they taste so good. It’s very hard to find proper wild ones these days but they’re taking over in parts of my garden.
I was out picking mushrooms to dehydrated & sequence this last weekend, and I just want to say that I ran into a family with a couple of kids that were so interested in mushrooms and it was very sweet. Their dad and grandpa were clearly into foraging (we talked with them a bit and were talking about your common edible mushrooms, ie, Laetiporus sulphureus, Grifola frondosa, etc) and the kids had picked some mushrooms and were so excited to ask me questions about what they had found and look at what I had in my tackleboxes
They just thought they were so cool; little dude was parading around an Amanita muscaria (a nice looking one at that,) with the intention of bringing it home to dehydrate & save. I encouraged them to look into seek/iNaturalist, and I really hope they do look into it - it was just so nice to see kids be so excited to learn about nature.