The r

Locals can learn more about the fascinating world of fungi at two Nature Conservation Margaret River Region events designed to put the spotlight on the vital role fungi plays in our region’s landscape.

Nature Conservation is teaming up with ecologist Roz Hart – a former education officer with the Perth Urban Bushland Fungi project and a member of the Western Australian Naturalists’ Club who has led fungi talks, workshops and excursions for more than two decades.

There are two separate ticketed events, which were due to run in May but have now been rescheduled to run in July. The first is an Our Fabulous Fungi evening discussion at Margaret River Men’s Shed from 5.15pm-7pm on Thursday, July 27. It will cover the diversity, ecology and curiosities of fungi specific to our region, as well as the fascinating partnerships between fungi and other plants and animals including their role in land restoration and management.

Tickets are $10 for Nature Conservation members and $15 for non-members and can be BOOKED HERE. All profits from the night helping to fund the publication of a new book called Fungi4Land. Being written by Ms Hart and mycologist Sapphire McMullan-Fisher, it will be a much-needed guide to the use of fungi in revegetation for Australian land managers.

The second event is a guided bushland fungi walk with Roz and Nature Conservation Friday, July 28 from 10am-12noon at a Margaret River location to be confirmed closer to the date, subject to the best area for spotting mushrooms. Participants will explore a patch of bushland, learn to identify some of the common local species, and gain an understanding of how fungi benefit the ecosystem and land restoration. Tickets are $10 for Nature Conservation members and $15 for non-members and can be BOOKED HERE. Numbers of limited and are likely to sell out quickly.

Peta Lierich, who organised the talk which as part of Nature Conservation’s For Nature Landholder Stewardship Program, said the world of fungi has been long overlooked – but fungi are now the “exhilarating new poster organisms changing our understanding of the natural world and capturing the public imagination”.

“The roots of almost every plant in the Australian landscape are intimately intertwined with fungi. These clandestine relationships extend beyond trees to include every orchid and most shrubs and grasses,” Peta says. “Fungi not only help plants access water and nutrients, but also increase their resistance to drought and disease. They build architecture in soils, aerate them, and allow water to percolate down. Despite this, fungi often slips through ideas about nature and conservation that focus on flora and fauna.”

Ms Lierich urged anyone living on a suburban or rural property to attend the talk or walk to learn more about the role of fungi and how to include them in managing a healthy ecosystem. Landholders will also learn about how fungi are ecosystem service providers, why some fungal diseases are OK, the role of fungi in soil, and how fungi is affected by fire. “It promises to be a fascinating two days, and every ticket supports a good cause to help get the Fungi4Land guide published and into the hands of the people who need it,” she says.

Registering with the For Nature Landholder Stewardship Program is free and comes with loads of benefits for locals who are trying to boost nature on their properties, including free equipment hire, grants for conservation work, and a wealth of resources and how-to guides. See For Nature is proudly supported by funding from the West Australian Government’s State Natural Resources Management Program, the Water Corporation and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.