Rachel Zoller
I live in the Columbia River Gorge of the Pacific Northwest and am a mom to two little mushroom foragers ages 5 and 7. I’ve been teaching mushroom foraging workshops for 8 years and also create educational mushroom videos YouTube under the name 'Yellow Elanor’.
Even though I spent endless days in the forest growing up, mushrooms didn’t find me until adulthood. After a failed huckleberry hike with some acquaintances, mushrooms caught our attention and I officially got my first lesson on Chanterelles. I knew nothing of the edibility, medicinal use or ecological impact of mushrooms, but inspired by what I was taught that day I left the woods with a hat full of fresh mushrooms and a curious mind. It didn’t take long before I was the proud owner of multiple field guides and using every free moment to collect specimens and take photos for identification. Fascinated, I studied and read, talking about mushrooms to anyone willing to listen.
I became especially passionate about making mushroom identification and foraging understandable and accessible for folks like me, people who didn’t come from academia but had an intense desire to learn mushrooms—whether for food or to participate in community science. This is why I began to teach, make videos, post information online and make mushroom education a significant part of my life. And that has brought me here, still excited and in awe of the world of fungi, still studying and learning, and yes, wanting to talk about them to you and anyone else willing to listen.
LAMS Meeting: November 2021
Program: "Mushrooms 101: What I Wish I Was Told as a Beginner Forager"