Telluride Mushroom Fest: “Soil-Centered Mycoremediation Workshop,” 8/16!

The Telluride Mushroom Festival is back for the 43rd year in a row. In just a few weeks from now, the Town of Telluride will be taken over by amanita hat-wearing, mold- and spore-worshipping mycelium fanatics.

(Sorry, the event is sold out. And there is no waiting list. But day passes are available.)

Festival guest Dr. Lauren Czaplicki  (pronounced Suplicky) returns for an encore of her popular “Soil-Centered Mycoremediation Workshop,” 8/16!  Sign up here.

Dr. Lauren’s workshop prepares folks for a September-long virtual cohort program designed to equip ambitious individuals with skills to leverage fungi in big ways. Learn more here.

Scroll down to listen to Dr. Lauren’s podcast.

Go here for more on the history of the Telluride Mushroom Festival. (Scroll back to 2009.)

Headshot, courtesy Telluride Mushroom Festival

The evidence is mounting. It appears that if only we were able to harness fungi’s innate ability to degrade many different substances including toxic material, we would have another powerful tool in our chest to help fix what we have destroyed on Mother Earth.

“For centuries, mushrooms have been eaten by people due to their richness in flavor and high protein content, but there is so much more to mushrooms than just being produce. Fungi have a unique propensity for breaking down chemical pollutants, including oil and pesticides, and extracting or binding heavy metals, even radiation (Ali & Di, 2017). Fungi are even able to filter water, supporting countless life cycles that are regenerative for ecosystems. Mycoremediation is a method that utilizes fungi mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus) in contaminated soil sites as a remedial treatment. The enzymes produced by a mushroom are efficient in breaking down a lot of different pollutants. At heart, this method is about employing fungi’s natural capabilities of decomposition to restore and regenerate land.

“Heavy metals and toxic chemicals accumulating in our environment is an ever persisting and serious issue. These toxins end up in our food chain (such as heavy metals, PCBs, and dioxins) and bioaccumulate, which is the “gradual accumulation of a certain chemical into the living tissue of an organism from its environment [and] may result from direct absorption from the environment or from ingestion of food particles” (Institute, 2020). Fungal mycelia can remove these toxins in the soil before they are able to enter our food supply and ultimately us…, ” wrote USF in a blog.

Welcome to the world of Dr. Lauren Czaplicki, a returning guest at the upcoming Telluride Mushroom Festival where she will once again lead a “Soil-Centered Mycoremediation Workshop.” The event takes place Wednesday, August 16, 9 am – noon at the Ah Haa School.

Workshop overview (per the Telluride Mushroom Fest):

“Come and learn about mycoremediation from a pioneer in the field, Dr. Lauren Czaplicki, before the Telluride Mushroom Festival kicks off! Start thinking like a “fungi or fun-gal” and explore all things mycoremediation through an interactive mix of lectures, facilitated discussions, and fun group activities. You’ll walk away with a nifty guidebook too! This workshop will equip you with new perspectives and knowledge about how to tailor mycoremediation applications to site and pollutant characteristics!

Perfect for the casual mycophile and the mycoremediation enthusiast alike, this class begins by delving into mycoremediation’s origins, the hidden capacity of your favorite mushrooms, and the challenges of polluted sites.

This workshop will also cover mycoremediation potential of fungi beyond wood rotters, potential strategies to coax fungi to detoxify sites, and how fungi might be important allies to fight climate change! If you ever thought “fungi have all this potential, why aren’t they focused on?” this is the class for you! If you’ve just found out that fungi can break down toxins, this class is for you, too. Come tap into your “fun-gi” or “fun-gal” intuition and bring ideas back to sites in your hometown…

The class concludes with a guided walking tour exploring a few of Telluride’s historic industrial sites and their transition into community-building cultural centers.”

Dr.Lauren Czaplicki D’Antonio, PhD, is an environmental engineer, teacher, science communicator, and entrepreneur based out of Boulder, CO., who is passionate about finding ways to sustainably clean-up the environment and inspiring others to do so. She takes a genomic approach to identifying fungal communities and designs mycoremediation strategies based on what the communities need to degrade pollutants. Lauren is a past Duke Superfund trainee, Pratt School of Engineering Fellow, and Dean’s Graduate Fellow. She founded Fungal Solutions to help folks ally with local fungi through virtual educational programs and commercializing mycoremediation technologies.

Go here for more about her life and work.

And now listen to her podcast:


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