A mycophile in botany

Hello, class! My name is Rebecca, and I am an interdisciplinary science major exploring my options for degree completion somewhere in the realm of biology. Having been raised by a master gardener mother, I have always had a deep connection to green spaces. Whether cultivated or wild — I enjoy all of it, though I have not done much of my own research or planning into keeping a garden. These days, I am much more interested in the concept of permaculture and creating inviting spaces which need very little maintenance and continue to serve the creatures who already depend on finding resources in my yard.

My interest in formally studying botany truthfully comes from not a plant at all, but a mushroom. My mycological curiosity went from a passing interest to full-blown fascination last Summer after taking a weekend mushroom identification class through OLLI. From there, I moved into a biology track that Fall and just finished Ethnomycology this Spring semester. Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on a mushroom foray with Dr. Gary Laursen in Delta Junction to search a burn area for morels, and it was incredible. I came home with just over 4 pounds of mushrooms and spent the rest of the weekend dehydrating them for storage. Now I would like to learn everything I can about foraging and Alaskan flora.

I am planning to use the macro feature on my phone to take pictures, and potentially figure out rigging with a loupe I picked up for examining mushrooms closely. My favorite Alaskan plant is fireweed, even if its invasiveness is pesky to some people. I love how beautiful the flowers are and the deep red it changes to in the fall. Looking forward to meeting everyone!

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