President: Audrey Kepp
Audrey is a retired teacher who lives in Bemidji. As a child, she hated mushrooms. To be fair, her only experience with mushrooms was canned soup. Her interest in wild foods led her to give mushrooms a second chance, and a friend at White Earth introduced her to morels. She was hooked and graduated to puffballs and shaggy manes. Finding beautiful, fascinating mushrooms as she roamed the woods foraging berries and herbs, she realized she needed the guidance of experienced people. She joined Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club, and the rest is delicious history.
Vice President: Michael Blassey
Michael is a refocused middle school teacher. He spends his time dabbling in various citizen science projects. He lives in Merrifield, MN, south of Crosslake. “My first encounters with mushrooms were looking through many glass jars in my grandmother’s pantry. I’ve been a forager ever since.”
Secretary: Rosa Stolzenberg
Rosa is a retired USDA Microbiologist living in Fargo with a cabin south of Nevis, Minn. She grew up picking mushrooms with family in West Virginia. She worked two years with the commercial mushroom Agaricus bisporus with the USDA in Maryland.
“I have been picking mushrooms near the cabin and on our tree farms prior to joining the Paul Bunyan Mushroom group in the early 1990’s, and was also involved in a short-lived NDSU mushroom group. I am a member of the Minnesota Mycological Society, North American Mycological Association, served as a NAMA trustee, and have attended 15 NAMA forays.”
“My favorite mushroom is the chanterelle.”
Treasurer: Mary Mitchell
Mary lives in Bemidji and has been interested in mushrooms since she was in her twenties. She was a founding member of the FunGis Mushroom Club in North Dakota and has been a member of the Minnesota Mycological Society and the North American Mycological Society. Her favorite mushroom is the Tawny Grisette (Amanita fulva).
Past President: Paula Peters
Paula founded the Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club along with John Mikesh. “We thought, why go to Minneapolis to learn about mushrooms when we have so much forest all around us? Anna Gerenday was instrumental in helping us for many years and to this day I still hear her voice pronouncing the scientific names of the mushrooms we find! I began to learn, as many do, about morels in the early 1980’s, and happened upon the Minnesota group at Deep Portage Conservation Reserve where I met John. I have enjoyed meeting all of the people who have joined us in our journey to know more about the forest and learned much from all of them. I am so happy our club is now ‘official’ and I hope that for many years we can continue to offer education and a fun experience to those seekers of fungi! Our club had many forays in the Akeley area where I once lived. I moved on to Walker and now I live South of Bemidji on 5 acres in the country where I can never have enough flowers, and a vegetable garden. My favorite mushroom would probably be the Hydnum repandum. I love the nutty flavor. But there are so many others as well! I hope to learn some new ones yet this season.”