Mycology Certification

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Part
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Mycology Certification

Key Findings

Introduction

Below are details of three organizations that support mycology experts and those in the mycology industry. NAMA is a bigger organization that has a number of affiliated societies across the country. The American Mushroom Institute and The Mushroom Council provide support to growers of mushrooms. Information relating to certificate programs that provide mycology courses that can be completed within 6 months was limited. Details of Mycologo's courses have been given below along with details of its certification process. The details of a course run by the University of Utah have also been given found during the research have also been given below. Details of the research strategy are also noted below.

Associations

#1 North American Mycological Association (NAMA)

  • NAMA is a "501(c)(3) non-profit organization of professional and amateur mycologists with over 90 affiliated mycological societies in the United States, Canada, and Mexico".
  • In the United States, there are societies in most of the states as well as regional societies covering a wider area.
  • NAMA holds an annual conference and forays in North America which can include short courses in mycology and would have presentations given by professional mycologists.
  • The Mycophile, is the association's newsletter that provides news, reports, and notice of any events taking place. It would also include information about poison and reviews of books.
  • The association also publishes a peer-reviewed journal called Mcilvainea with scientific papers, toxicology reports, and articles by both professionals and amateurs.
  • It provides educational materials, however, these are aimed at K-12 students and clubs.
  • Its website has toxicology information and it hosts discussion groups for its members.
  • Membership can be applied for online and costs as noted below.

#2 American Mushroom Institute (AMI)

  • AMI in Avondale, Pennsylvania, is described as the leading national trade organization for mushroom growers, buyers, and suppliers. It aims to ensure that the concerns of those in the industry are heard and acted upon. Membership of the AMI allows access to information for businesses and employee workshops.
  • Resources for growers of mushrooms include an Integrated Pest Management Handbook covering pesticides, disease, disorders, and pests. It provides information on best practices in environmental management and guidance on food and workplace safety. The last 2 categories are available to members only.
  • It provides industry resources as well on topics like sustainability audits, covid, and the national agricultural statistics survey. The survey details can also be accessed directly from USDA website.
  • To join the Institute contact them via its website.

#3 The Mushroom Council

  • The Mushroom Council's main role is to promote mushrooms as a product. However, they also provide resources for the industry on sustainability, sales, and marketing.
  • It produces reports to assist growers and shippers of mushrooms to enable them to track sales, production, as well as marketing initiatives. The reports can be accessed here.
  • The resources also include best practices and forms for things such as applications for organic exemptions.

Certification Programs

#1 Myco Logos: Mycology Education and Research

  • Myco Logos based in Portland, Oregon, provide online and in-person courses (although only details of its online courses are available on its website) that lead to certification in mycology and also provides ongoing support after completion of the course. They describe themselves as the "world's first school dedicated to all that mushrooms, lichens, and micro fungi offer".
  • Its beginner and advanced courses cover the sciences of mycology as well as the practicalities of working with mushrooms. They are set up as a school to provide training, testing, and certifications. It provides an online discussion forum where students can ask questions about the topics covered in its courses.
  • The organization's online courses include a 7-week course entitled Mushroom Identification Basics and Beyond aimed at spore beginners It covers over each of the 7 weeks the following topics: foraging history and taxonomy, mushroom ID terminology, collecting and describing mushrooms, top mushroom species to know, 20 top "cap and stalk" mushroom species, 20 top "non-cap and stalk" mushroom species, ten tricky mushroom species, and next steps.
  • Another spore beginner level course is offered entitled The Many Ways of Fungi: First Steps into the World of Mycology over 7 weeks that covers the fungal queendom, finding fungi around you and cooking with them, working with medicinal fungi, cultivating a relationship with fungi, arts and crafts, and advanced mycology primer.
  • A 14-week mycelial, intermediate course entitled Everything’s Connected: Fungal Ecology from the Sea to the Sky covers fungi and ecology, fungi in nutrient cycling, lichens as landscape, fungi–plant symbioses, mycorrhizal fungi, all about arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, vocal fungi — plant infections, vocal fungi — animal infections, decomposing (and recomposing) fungi, the beauty of wood decay, and other fungal niches.
  • Courses can be joined at any time and the student has access to the material for up to a year. Course material is released weekly. Each course provides a year of streaming access to the course content, which includes video lectures, documents, and recordings from the field. Students are also given lifetime access to Mycologos community forum for that course as well as study and reference materials, and projects that can be completed at home. A certificate is given at the end of the courses to recognize the student's understanding of the course work and a completed project.
  • Certification is given provided students pass mid and final open-book exams with at least 80%. Up to 2 resits are allowed if required.

#2 Utah Valley University

  • The university runs a 16-week mainly web based course on mycology that covers "getting to know fungal biology and major groups (get ready for a bunch of mycological terminology) ; fungi as the enemy (human and plant pathogens, fungal distribution, secondary compounds) ; fungi as a friend (mutualistic symbioses) and molecular mycology (intro to modern methods and fungal bioinformatics)".
  • The course involves reading material, weekly quizzes, and an assortment of "home mycology lab, research and field exercises".
  • There are 3 exams completed on an open-note basis. It is not clear from the details if a certification is provided.

Research Strategy

For this research on mycology certification, we leveraged the most reputable sources available in the public domain including websites of associations, government sites, blogs that focused on mycology, news, and magazine articles. We also identified some universities that have a mycology department, like the North Carolina State University, however, most of the courses offered at these appear to be part of a wider course rather than offered specifically in mycology. Details of one from the University of Utah have been provided as it may be suitable. During the research details of the Medical Mycology Society of America were found, however, they were not included as a potential association to provide support and information due to its focus being on medicine.

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