We are lucky to live in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and our Board of Directors and volunteers are a wonderful representation of this diversity.
We are comprised of amateurs, enthusiasts, students and professionals with interests in all aspects of mycology including culinary, cultivation, identification, photography, ecology, art and more.
We are eager to bring our love of mycology to the masses so please do not hesitate to reach-out to us with any questions, thoughts or concerns.
We would love for you to join our group as a member and encourage you to participate in our events and form part of our Board of Directors! Positions are voted in yearly and open for anyone with the interest in supporting with some of the responsibilities which need to be fulfilled in order to give SDMS the best we can give. We holdi elections every November, so thank you in advance for participating and helping to make SDMS the best it can be. Thank you!
LOOKING TO SUPPORT OUR TEAM
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ELECTIONS WERE HELD THIS PAST NOVEMBER 6th, 2023.
CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW PART OF THE SDMS – B.o.D. team!
OUR 2023-2024 BOARD OF DIRECTORS TEAM!!
(please consider running for a position in our upcoming elections!)
CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Cassandra Ablola
Member since October 2014.
Previously served as Treasurer for SDMYCO 2017-2021 and this is the third year serving as President.
There is so much more than the common button or magic mushroom in terms of varieties of fungi. Bioluminescent species glow in the night forest and rich hues of caps and stems can be found throughout the globe, like an artist’s color palette whose inspiration is found directly in nature. I hope to illuminate this subject and share my passion for these forms.
I love finding mushrooms in their natural habitat and so far I have seen many in the western U.S., several countries in Europe and the Philippines! Looking forward to many fruitful forays in the future!
Vice President: Morgan Rockwell
Secretary: Mark Jenne
I’ve been a member of the SDMS for a few years now, and have mostly just enjoyed the activities without doing much to keep the gears turning. Fungi are everywhere, mysterious, beautiful, surprising, and fascinating–what’s not to like? I’ve been doing volunteer work (restoration, education) at the San Elijo Lagoon for several years and was always intrigued by the mushrooms we found and surprised that none of the naturalists could talk about them or often even identify them, and now find myself slowly becoming “the mushroom guy” in the group of naturalists/docents there.
Treasurer: Melissa Casey
Social Media Manager: Tanner Schmidt
Supporting Social Media Manager: Alix Aceituno
Urban botanist, mycologist, and science educator with a passion for connecting people to nature. Studied mycology under Dr. Terry Henkel, participating in a 2013 research expedition searching for new ECM fungi in Guyana’s Amazon Basin. Living in the jungle was life-changing, though not without obstacles. Now, plants and fungi catch my eye everywhere – even on normal walks down city streets.
As part of the SDMYCO community, I’m thrilled to share my enthusiasm for the natural world through social media and educate others. When not identifying urban flora and fungi, you can find me managing programs expanding access to green spaces in underserved neighborhoods.
A/V & Photo Journalist:
Foray Director & Photo Journalist:
Graphics: Alonna Farrar
Married for 42 years to (mushroom grower and entrepreneur since 1982) Steve Farrar, with 2 children and a granddaughter. I have sold mushrooms at farmers markets and fairs in the area since my husband first started growing oyster, beech, shiitake & enoki mushrooms here in 1987- 2006 and since then 11 different medicinal mushrooms for OM mushrooms / M2 ingredients.
My studies in Washington and California State community colleges, Washington State U and U of Idaho has been majoring in Fine Arts and Graphic Communication Arts. I have worked freelance since 1982 in Scientific and Medical Illustration, Courtroom Graphics, and various product graphics (including mushroom packaging, sometimes for other mushroom growers as well), illustration, web sites and branding. In 2017, I retired after 16 years working FT as a graphic artist for Palomar College in San Marcos. We have lived in San Diego County since 1987. I have enjoyed being a member of the San Diego Mycological Society since 2000 or so and learning about different wild mushrooms, going on forays and meeting some amazing members of mycological groups in the United States including attending 4 Telluride Mushroom Festivals. I look forward to helping with social media for our SDMYCO group and meeting other new members. Members: Please let me know if you have any useful information or pictures that you would like to share on our social media platforms.
Fungus Fair Volunteer Director: Rikki Navarro
Michelle Jachimowicz: Past President
I joined the San Diego Mycological Society in 2011. I have been attending meetings and helping with events ever since. My fascination with mushrooms peaked in 2008 as I was trekking through the jungles of Costa Rica while working as a manager of a biological station. During this time I became interested in the role fungi played in the environment. I joined the club to continue to expand my knowledge about mushrooms and how they can be utilized in all aspects of life. I am so excited to be able to to expand my passion for fungi while promoting our local mycelial network.
Newsletter: Keith Leyva & Jennifer Wolschlag
We are new and enthusiastic members of SDMYCO and grateful for the opportunity to become part of this mycelium of mycophiles! Although we are newbies in this primordial world, we are fascinated by the mystery and presence of the fungal world. My first introduction to mushrooms began with my younger sister having eaten an unknown species, and being subsequently rushed to the hospital. Later enchantment came in the form of The Invisible Landscape by Terrence and Dennis McKenna, and by the further expositions by Terrence himself.
Art Director: Sundari Masters:
Art and nature have always been pillars in my life, however, when I was introduced to the world of mycology in February 2023, I fell in love and never looked back. I became a member the same month, diving deeper and deeper into the world of fungi, as it began changing my art and the way that I perceive the natural world forever. I am honored to have the opportunity to foster awareness of mycology as an inspiration and medium in art and to celebrate all the creativity that exists in this amazing community.
Education and New Member Director: Carldee Soriano
Experienced microbiologist from Biotech/Pharma transitioning into the role of Education Director and New Member. Proficient in mycology with cultivation and identification, adept at creating engaging educational content. Skilled in curriculum development as worked in Elementary Institute of Science as instructor. Fostering a learning environment by collaborating with others, and passionate about increasing awareness. 🍄📚
Web Master and Design, Editor : Abelardo Rodriguez
I have been involved with SDMS since about 2013. I started my histoire du champignon reading articles in the New England Journal of Medicine on Japanese studies of specific mushrooms and their medicinal properties, after searching for alternative therapies, and found immediate love with Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum). I love learning about the healing relationship between corresponding parts of the body and mushrooms or other plants. I’ve worked in Broadcast TV and Production Media for over 2 decades, hosting a live local morning news show for many years and have a passion for medicinal herbs & sciences and creative arts, so naturally, I print t-shirts with mushrooms. I am also a part of several other societies in Balboa Park, among these, the SD Gem and Mineral Society and the SD Medicinal Herb Club.
Current project in SDMS is to continue building our new website.
Instagram: @ a l c h e m i c a l v i b r a t i o n s / @ a b e l a r d o a r t s / @ b e e e _ a r t
Supporting Web Director: Nadav Kempinski
Incoming graduate student in Environmental Management & current Product Manager in Healthtech. Fascinated by mycoremediation and hoping to build out a community-based curriculum to cheaply remediate soil & create local regenerative agriculture opportunities for communities hit by environmental injustice.
Skilled in web-dev. Excited to support the SDMyco community! 🤸
A/V Director: Patricia Andrews
Citizen Science Manager: Mary Ann Hawke
As one of the scientists in SDMYCO, I’ve been working on citizen science projects like DNA barcoding the mushrooms of San Diego and research projects like studying fungal spores at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I love the way that mycology brings together such a diverse group of people, who all have their own reasons for being interested in fungi, whether it is through science, cultivation, food, human health, ecological health, travel, or art.
Board Advisor: Pat Nolan
I’ve been with the club from nearly the start. I’m a plant pathologist so I see a lot of microfungi, but wasn’t very familiar with the macrofungi and the club is a great way to learn about them and meet great people.
Board Member at Large: Steve Farrar
Steve Farrar has been growing mushrooms in San Diego County since 1987. Originally a Horticulturist, Steve became entangled in the Kingdom Fungi early in his career. He is a co-founder of M2 Ingredients, Inc. (the parent company of OM Mushroom Nutrition), a company in North San Diego that cultivates 11 species of medicinal/functional mushrooms that are processed into organic dietary supplement and health food ingredients. He is a long time member of SD Mycological and has visited mushroom farms and attended forays and mushroom symposiums all over the world. He gives frequent presentations about medicinal mushrooms to a variety of audiences.
Board Advisor and Rain Dance Manager: Michelle Innis
My husband and I joined the club in 2012 and I was secretary for four years. I initially took a master gardeners class with a focus on mushrooms taught by one of our members, Sam Andrasko of Creekside Mushroom Farms. I was interested from a medicinal point because of my son’s illness. We have been growing shiitake at home for five or six years. Mushrooms are a natural fit in my life as we love to hike and photographing them out in the wild has become one of my greatest joys.
Board Advisor: Bonni Thoresen
SDMYCO was being founded at the time I first encountered the mushrooms that got me hooked on studying mycology, Amanita muscaria. Luckily, I was soon directed to the club and have been involved ever since helping with the board, mushroom fairs and forays. SDMYCO has been a haven of like-minded people, educating, inspiring and becoming friends.
Founding Member: Elio Schaechter
Elio, co-founder of SDMYCO, has been a great source of inspiration and teacher to many over the years. Elio maintains teaching positions at both SDSU and UCSD. Elio loves writing and besides authoring dozens of scientific papers and classic microbiology books, in 1997 his delightful book, In the Company of Mushrooms, was published by the Harvard University Press. In 2006, he helped originate the popular blog Small Things Considered, published by the American Society for Microbiology, with which Elio and co-bloggers continue to share appreciation of Earth’s microbes which of course, sometimes feature fungi!
About 25 years ago, Elio and a few like-minded folks joined efforts and started compiling an online collection of mostly European classical artworks depicting mushrooms. A few years ago NAMA adopted and incorporated the Registry of Mushrooms in Works of Art.
Board Advisor: Les Braund
Board Advisor: Sam Andrasko
Board Advisor: Darcy Salzl