Festival of Fungi – Alison Pouliot Encounters with Fungi in the Strathbogie Ranges

Australia is home to a staggering variety of fungi unlike any other, with The Strathbogie Ranges packed full of it’s own unique varieties. Thousands of undiscovered species await curious minds to discover and record them, and it’s this unknown world that brought people from across the state to learn more from fungi expert Alison Pouliot. Alison is a mainstay of the Festvial of Fungi, having captivated audiences with here huge breadth and depth of knowledge, but also her enthusiasm the elusive and misunderstood kingdom of fungi.

A staggeringly beautiful and rich display of local fungi collected by Alison greeted fungi enthusiasts as they entered the doors of the Strathbogie Memorial Hall. Most fungi were not just displayed in isolation, but sat amongst recreations of their natural habitats, and important but often overlooked key to identifying what species of fungi is what. Textures, smells, tastes, shapes, colours and more were uncovered as tools at the disposal of fungi collectors to help them make sense of what they find when out in nature.

A3 Hospitality provided the hearty sustenance needed for the second phase of the workshop, the now traditional field trip up to Mount Wombat to put new fungi ID skills to the test. Fungi abounded from the moment attendees stepped out of their cars, with a truffle nestled in the base of an ancient gum causing excitement throughout the group. This set the tone for the excursion, as one barely had to move before stumbling onto yet another treasure trove of wild fungi. From the almost microscopic, to the palm sized fruiting bodies we’re most familiar with, a keen eye was quickly rewarded with a plethora of fungi varieties.