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Public interest in mycology has been mushrooming – so why haven’t colleges joined in on the “fun with fungi?”

by Hannah Huber


That is, until now.

Far East and way up north in the United States, just north of the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains of New York, sits Paul Smith’s College. Overlooking Lower St. Regis Lake, the campus offers some of the best sunrise and sunsets in the region. Known as “the College of the Adirondacks,” Paul Smith’s is now planning a new degree program celebrating the Mycology of the Adirondacks – and beyond. Since 2015, the college has hosted an autumnal ADK Fungi Fest to celebrate the healing nature of the 5th Kingdom.

Paul Smith’s College’s Applied Mycology Program is designed to be individualized and accessible. Undergrads and beyond-college professionals can take upwards of nine new courses in designing their own customized mycology education program. Most of the courses will be offered entirely online or using a hybrid format to take advantage of the outdoor classroom (The Adirondacks) and the new Mycology Education Center. Courses including field mycology, the art + science of fungi, myco-medicinals, flourishing with fungi, regional and radical mycology, farming with fungi for regenerative agriculture, mycology education, and mycorestoration – mycoremediation for ecological restoration; apprentice training in mycology will also be part of the curriculum.

The “female and fungi” game is strong among the faculty – also known as the “Myco-ed Associates.” Course instructors include former Ecovative research and development mycologist Sue Van Hook; mushroom expert and dye artist Susan Hopkins; chemists Cheryl Joyce and Erica Sharpe; and myself, a soon-to-be mycology graduate student who was trained to hunt for morels before she could walk.

We dive in after spring morel hunting tensions relax with the first course beginning this summer. You can earn 3 college credits in just 2 weeks while exploring Adirondack Field Mycology in one of the most bountiful, beautiful and beneficial fungal ecozones on the planet! Join our Fungi Queendom and Kingdom in gazing through hand lenses by day and at sunsets across the lake by night. Non-degree students can audit the course for $150 per credit.

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The aforementioned chemists, Cheryl and Erica, will co-teach a course on Myco-Medicinals for Holistic Health starting in the fall, while Sue Van Hook will lead-teach a course on the Introduction to the Art and Science of Fungi.  This course serves as a pre-requisite to some of the upper division courses to follow, including a semester-long Mycology Education course for those who want to bring mycology into the interpretive arts and the K-college curriculum.

Learn more about the summer course and register here. Feel free to contact the program coordinator (Tom Huber) for more information about the details of the Applied Mycology Program at or 518.524.2238.


Hannah amanita
About the Author:
Hannah Huber is a 2014 graduate of Paul Smith’s College with a B.S. degree in Integrative Studiesin Biology and Environmental Science and a Minor in Chemistry. In addition to applied mycology pursuits, she works as a climate action community organizer at the Vermont Natural Resources Council in Montpelier, Vermont. 


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