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mushrooms on log at Highland Woods

Photo essay: Fantastic fungi are among the Treasures of OZ!

September 20, 2021  |  Topics: Stories

By Eddee Daniel

I didn’t go out expecting to find a lot of mushrooms. But I have to admit, I was primed. I had watched “Fantastic Fungi” on Netflix the night before; a documentary about the ubiquity, variety, and importance of fungi all over our planet. So, I guess it’s no wonder that I noticed the mushrooms I came across on my hikes during this year’s Treasures of OZ eco tour. For the uninitiated, Treasures of OZ is Ozaukee County’s annual tour and celebration of its many parks and preserves. It’s a great concept. They pick a selection of parks to single out for special events and tours each year in order to make the public more aware and appreciative of the treasures in their midst. (Kind of like what we do here at A Wealth of Nature!) I think every county ought to have a Treasures tour.

Historically, Treasures of OZ has been a daylong adventure featuring five or six parks. But because of COVID this is the second year the tour has been run DIY and a week long. Doing it yourself limits your interaction with other people, of course. Which is the point. But it means I got no photos of people out enjoying the tour. What I did get, in spades, was fungi!

Most of the photos that follow are uncaptioned because, frankly, I know nothing about any of the mushrooms that I found in the forest. I do know that the study of fungi is called mycology and when I did a search for it (I no longer “Google” since I’ve switched to DuckDuckGo) I found a website for the Wisconsin Mycological Society. So, if you want to learn more, I suggest you check them out. The images that follow are from two of the parks on this year’s Treasures tour: Highland Woods in Mequon and the Cedarburg Environmental Study Area in the town of Cedarburg.

Highland Woods

The spherical orange ones are teeny tiny!

Cedarburg Environmental Study Area

Not as attractive perhaps, but there were even numerous examples in this location of what seems to me to be fungal cannibalism, like this one.

For more information about Treasures of OZ go to their website.

Related posts

Treasures of OZ 2018 focuses on the Milwaukee River

Ozaukee County celebrates 10th annual Treasures of Oz!

Treasures of Oz Eco-Tour 2020

Eddee Daniel is a board member of Preserve Our Parks and project director of A Wealth of Nature. The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, which owns and manages the Cedarburg Environmental Study Area is a partner organization of A Wealth of Nature.