Chasing chanterelles, a choice seasonal treat

by Krista Munger, Naturalist

Chanterelles are a seasonal treat in this neck of the woods, either for the eye or the table. Their distinctive shape, smell, and bright yellow color make them easy to identify.

The trouble is knowing where to find them.

Skilled mushroom hunters can anticipate where and when each kind of mushroom will be abundant. I am not so skilled, but enjoy planning out the hunt and awating the right conditions of temperature and humidity that cause fruiting of the mushroom above ground.

The larger part of the body is generally located below ground or in the wood of trees. It is a network of thread-like hairs that collects sugars and nutrients for cell growth and occasionally sends up a “fruit” laden with spores for reproduction. We can pick (and eat) these growths sustainably as long as we get them before the insects and animals do.

Some types of mushrooms are poisonous and a few are dangerously so, but many more are edible. All species of chanterelles are considered to be choice and are excellent served with eggs.

In midsummer, I begin checking locations where I have seen chanterelles before and search new areas when the timing and trees are right. They are generally found in forests that are dominated by oak, and will appear in the same location year after year. However, they are difficult to establish at home.

Like the ladyslipper orchid, chanterelles live in a symbiotic relationship between the tree roots and mycorrihaze of the fungus underground. Enjoy the hunt and good luck finding a patch.

Fungus of all ages are invited to learn more on a mushroom walk sponsored by the Lewisboro Land Trust, which I will lead on Sunday, Sept. 29, at Brownwell Preserve, from noon to 2 p.m. The preserve is located on Route 138 in Golden Bridge at the end of Harriet Lane.

2019 Spring Photo Report

Direct quotes from leaders:

“Noticed participants feeling good about themselves, less anxious, more relaxed.”

“Many of our clients still did not know that many of the parks in Westchester are free and welcoming of all.”

“They were both more relaxed and happier after this event. They all reported positive feelings to me when questioned about their experience that day.”

“Yes, absolutely a regular nature program would be beneficial. They love it and talk about it often.”

“Our clientele wants to go on hikes at nature centers more often.”

“Our participants are more social, engaging, being more aware of their surroundings in nature.”

“Noticed a desire to want to learn more about nature, excitement about being outdoors.”

Meadows and Monarchs

Saturday, August 17th 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Old Field Preserve. Learn about the wildlife in meadows and how to maintain one on your own property from naturalist Jim Nordgren. Look for signs of the endangered Monarch butterfly, their caterpillars, chrysalis, habitats, and learn how we can help them survive. All ages are welcome to come and count butterflies! Old Field Preserve, Mead Street, Waccabuc. (across from Schoolhouse Rd). Steady rain cancels.

Guided Hike at Westchester Wilderness Walk

Sunday, July 28th 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Discover the Zofnass Family Preserve on Joshua Hobby Lane off Upper Shad Road, Pound Ridge NY. This faster-paced hike passes over stepping stones and up and down hilly terrain, with numerous signposts and jokes to keep up the spirit. Wear good shoes and bring a water bottle or two in case of hot weather. Rated moderately/Difficult due to varied terrain. Steady rain cancels.

Children/Family Program: Painting With Nature

Sunday, July 21st 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Families enjoy a 1-hour hike gathering materials for their own set of paint brushes and then use them to create a painting. Everyone will contribute to a large-scale painting that will be displayed at the Lewisboro Library children’s room at the end of summer. Recommended for ages 4-14. Program held at at the Lewisboro Town Park, rte. 35, South Salem. Meet at the upper parking lot by the baseball field. Steady rain cancels.

Native Plant Tour at Leon Levy Preserve

Saturday, July 13th 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Smith Ridge Road (Route 123), South Salem. Pam Pooley, local native landscape designer, will lead a tour of the Leon Levy Preserve’s entrance garden and nearby restoration areas. Learn about using native plants to sustain wildlife and add beauty to your property. Steady rain cancels. (Photos shows native plant garden designer Pam Pooley with the John Jay High School Senior Interns who helped plant the original garden.)

Healthy Water and Lakes in Lewisboro

Sunday, June 23rd 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Long Pond Preserve, Mead Street, Waccabuc. Learn more about the water quality of our Lewisboro lakes, what we can do to protect it, and how it affects us all. Local experts and advocates Paul Lewis and Jan Anderson (of Three Lakes Council) will take us for an informational tour along the pristine Eastern shore of Lake Waccabuc. Bring your questions and your binoculars for a closer look at lake ecology. Steady rain cancels.

Mountain Laurel Hike

Saturday, June 8th 10:00 am – 12:00 am

Hike through meadows and forest as we enjoy the incredible beauty of thousands of blooming Mountain Laurels in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Meet at Kimberly Bridge parking in WPRR, Rte 121 (1/4 mi south of Rte 35), Cross River. (Small entrance fee applies). Optional pot luck picnic following the hike. Led by Bonnie Robins. 3-4 miles; rated moderate. Steady rain cancels.

Children’s Family Program: Container Gardens

Saturday, June 1st 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Join naturalist Pam Pooley to create a one-of-a-kind container garden that your family can watch grow over the summer. Pots, plants, seeds, soil, and materials to decorate your pots will be provided. Old Field Preserve, Mead Street, Waccabuc. Meet at meditation garden for planting, after which the group will hike the Education Nature Trail. Steady rain cancels.

Family Hike At Marian Yarrow Presever

Saturday, May 25th 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Join us on a family-friendly walk through a beautiful forest with meadow and stream. Dogs on leashes (with well-behaved owners) are welcome. Cookies and lemonade following the hike. Rated easy. Meet at the parking area off Mt. Holly Road, 1/3 mi from the intersection of Holly Hill Lane, Katonah. Led by Mark Ragette. Steady rain cancels.