Mushroom Forays
What is a foray?
All mycological societies sponsor field trips to mushroom habitats, called "forays", the purpose of which is to gather, learn about, and identify wild mushrooms.
What happens at a LAMS foray?
After arriving at the designated foray location the foray leader gives a brief orientation to the foray site and answers any questions participants might have. If a foray site is known to harbor hazards, such as poison oak, that will be mentioned and anyone unfamiliar with poison oak will be offered the opportunity to see it and learn how to recognize it.
In accordance with LAMS policy a liability release is given to each participant to complete and sign. Parents or guardians must sign for participating minors.
The foray leader then guides the group into the habitat to find whatever mushrooms may be found.
After the foray there will usually be an opportunity to identify the mushrooms found, although it is never possible to identify every mushroom found by every participant.
Is there a charge for participating in the foray?
Unless stated otherwise, there is no charge for participation in a LAMS foray. We do suggest to non-members that if you enjoyed the foray and would like to participate again that you consider joining LAMS.
When is the next foray?
This is probably the most common query we receive. First of all, Southern California has a Mediterranean climate. Rainfall is very uncommon in the dry months from May through November, and so, therefore, are forays. Even during the rainy season, we have found it necessary to implement a reservation system to prevent the number of foray participants from becoming unmanageable, as discussed in the following section. Current LAMS members receive email announcements of all forays as soon as they are scheduled.
How do I sign up for a foray?
To ensure a safe and enjoyable foray experience for everyone, participation in all forays will be by reservation only. For most forays LAMS members will have a three day window to reserve places before registration is opened to the public. Due to the popularity of forays, in most cases, this means that the foray will not have any openings for the public, and it will not be publicly announced. Once announced, foray reservations will be accepted on a first received, first reserved basis.
Foray reservations are accepted by email only. Specific reservation procedures will depend on the type and location of the foray and will be announced when the foray is scheduled. If you made a reservation and later find that you are not able to participate in the foray, please inform the field trip leader as soon as possible so that others on the waiting list may participate.
What should I wear to a foray?
For most forays you should wear clothing such as you might wear if you were going to be gardening, hiking or engaged in any similar outdoor activity. Shoes should be sturdy and comfortable with flat heels. Boots with waffle soles are recommended for all forays with an activity rating of moderate or strenuous. Even on warm days long pants, long-sleeved shirts and cotton gloves are strongly recommended as they will help protect you from poison oak, scratchy brush, ticks and sunburn. A hat is also recommended for protection from the sun and overhead branches. A jacket is also recommended as weather may change quickly, even on warm days.
What else should I bring to a foray?
For collecting: A sturdy container such as a wicker basket or plastic bucket is recommended to carry your finds. Plastic shopping bags are not recommended as they will ruin your mushrooms. A garden trowel or digging tool will help excavate your finds and an inexpensive steak knife and brush will help you trim and clean them. Bring wax paper to wrap and protect your finds. Bring a mushroom field guide if you have one. Many people also bring a camera to photograph mushrooms, plants, or animals they encounter. A pocket sized notebook is useful for recording details of where a particular mushroom was found and for recording information about any photographs you might have taken.
For yourself: Bring lunch, or at least a snack. Bring a bottle of drinking water. Toilet paper is also recommended as restrooms are not located at most foray sites.
What other preparations do you recommend?
Bring your cell phone, if you have one, and make sure it is fully charged. Make sure your car has adequate fuel, as many foray sites are located 10, sometimes 20 miles or more, from the nearest gas station. Check your spare tire to see if it is fully inflated and bring an extra set of car keys.
May I bring family members if they are interested?
Family members are welcome, but must be properly registered. Consider the Activity Rating (described in the side bar) if bringing children younger than 10 years of age.
Are dogs permitted on LAMS forays?
Subject to the discretion of the foray leader, dogs may be permitted if well-behaved toward people and other dogs, and on a leash. Foray locations are not "off-leash areas". Be aware that dogs may pick up poison oak resin or ticks in their fur and potentially transfer them to you or other people.
Activity Rating
LAMS forays may be assigned a physical activity rating in order to help potential participants determine whether or not a particular foray is appropriate for them. The ratings will also help participants decide what footwear or additional gear they may wish to bring. Ask the organizer what rating they give the foray.
  • Length: 1 mile or less
  • Terrain: level or very gentle
  • Footwear: sneakers acceptable
  • Length: 1-2 miles
  • Terrain: some slopes or moderately rough sections of trail may be encountered
  • Footwear: sneakers acceptable, boots or other sturdy footwear recommended
  • Hat and extra water recommended
  • May be too strenuous for younger children
  • Length: Greater than 2 miles
  • Terrain: steep slopes or rough sections of trail may be encountered
  • Footwear: sneakers not recommended, boots or other sturdy footwear strongly recommended
  • Hat recommended, extra water required
  • Will be too strenuous for younger children