First and foremost, I’d like to thank each of you devotees of mushrooms for joining me and becoming a member of the Colorado Mycological Society (CMS) and to those who renewed their memberships. It has been an honor to serve you and to meet a few of you in person. It is through CMS that we can focus our combined energy, to meet like-minded people and to share the enjoyments of the wonderful world of mushrooms at our doorstep. Our membership is comprised of a diverse group of great people with a wide range of interests. However, our individual desires are sprouted from a common belief and goal: that is we all care about our environment, our forests, and we appreciate the positive relationship of mycelium with health of our forests and environment. We also appreciate the beauty of mycoflora which compliment the picture of forests, meadows and nature. It is you the stewards of our beautiful Colorado and its future that I thank for becoming a member and honoring me the privilege to lead the group.
In my introduction letter to the membership earlier this year, I predicted it would be a great and memorable year. It has been awesome. The level of moisture and snow packs have relieved the severe droughts of past and we are on the verge of peak fruiting season in Colorado.
This note is not just about fruiting of mushrooms but also about our mission and commitment toward one and another. I had made two commitments to myself as the President and Chairman of the board. One was to increase the membership to 500 so that we have a greater base to have positive impact in the environment. Secondly I wanted to return more values to the membership.
As of July 9th, we have over 450 active members. We have had membership from Texas, to New York, and other faraway states. Some even joined our local forays, believe it or not. Our biggest event of the year is coming. THE ANNUAL MUSHROOM FAIR is about to begin on August 9th and continue on August 10-11 at Denver Botanic Gardens. Bring family and friends and enjoy it. Better yet, become part of it and volunteer. Please see the announcements about the Mushroom Fair on our website and FB page. We generally get many new membership sign up during the fair and I believe we will shatter the membership target of 500.
I wanted to return values back to members.
FORAYS: With support from the wonderful folks on the CMS Board of Directors, we set out to increase the number of forays in 2019. We started with the first ever Winter foray on February 2nd when we found several live mushrooms (Enokitake, Flammulina Velutipes, Oyster, etc) and continued through with many more exciting forays in spring and summer. Overall we have scheduled 16 forays to public and several additional forays (not announced on the site) through invitation for members who volunteer (i.e. snow bank foray for volunteers only, Black Morel for volunteers only). I want to specially thank several kind members who supported my request and volunteered their time to lead forays. Special thanks to each board members who not only spent their personal time attending the board meeting, but also lead forays.
MEMBERSHIP CARDS: With help from my personal friend and our current Site administrator, Shruti, the former Site administrator and web developer, Justin (who still graciously helps us any time needed), and our membership Chairman Jon, we re-established membership cards. It required a lot of work involving graphic design and printing/cutting cards. But we got it done in two phases. Through phase I, where we provided direct cards to members at monthly meeting and Forays. And phase II, making it more user friendly (given limitation on application software), so that members can print their own card.
AWARDS: With support from the CMS Board of Directors, we increased the level of awards as well as creating of new reward systems. We increased the amount of Science and Technology award to students. In the past only the first place runner received an award. This year and beyond, the first, second and third place winners will receive awards and the size of award, is larger. We also allocated an eight hundred dollar budget for Colorado Schools. That is to include $500 for school projects (tools, expenses) involving mycology, and a $300 student grant involving science and mycology. Although this is not a very large sum, I believe it is a step in the right direction, which can and should be increased in future as our membership increases. School and Education is well aligned with the CMS mission and charter.
REWARDS: We started offering prizes and rewards of various levels to the members who volunteer their time to CMS. The CMS T-shirt costs $20 to non-members is discounted to $15 for CMS members. However, member volunteers will receive a Free T-shirt for their service. We also increased threefold the amount of rewards for the photography contest where members can share their favorite photo of mushrooms under different categories and the winners through vote of other members will receive rewards.
I would like to conclude by saying a big Thank You for being a member of CMS. Thank you for giving me the honor to serve you for the same salary that is available to each of the volunteers. It has been a busy but a pleasant year for all of us. Please volunteer and more importantly, the peak fruiting is to begin soon, so come to a CMS foray, bring your camera along and enjoy our beautiful Colorado Outdoors.
David Nazeri Sr.
President, Colorado Mycological Society (CMS)