Advanced MycoRenewal Course: Schedule, Workshop Descriptions and Presenter Bios
*Please note: schedule may change Day 1: Inspiration and context of mycorenewal 8-9 BREAKFAST 9am-9:30 Maya Elson -- Opening address and curriculum overview 9:30-10:00 MayaElson -- Intros: what you’ve worked on and what inspires you 10-10:30 MayaElson -- Networking activity with yarn 10:30-10:45 BREAK 10:45-12 Mia Maltz -- Ecology of Bioremediation (1hr) 12-1 LUNCH 1-2 Maya and everyone -- Fungal ecology walk 2-3 Danielle Stevenson -- Toxicology 101 3-4 Mia Maltz, Lexie Gropper, Maya Elson, Jacquelyn Burmeister -- History of CoRenewal, Q&A 4-4:15 BREAK 4:15-5 Lexie Gropper and Danielle Stevenson -- Holistic bioremediation and social, economic and environmental aspects of remediation: Part 1 5-6 DINNER 6-6:30 Lexie Gropper, Danielle Stevenson -- Holistic bioremediation and social, economic and environmental aspects of remediation: Part 2 6:30-7:15 Maya Elson -- Discussion topic: what are some of the common ecological and social issues with bioremediation projects? How can we address these issues?
Day 2: Cultivation, hands-on activities and case studies 8-9 BREAKFAST 9-10 Maya Elson -- Experiential Mycopsychology: Exploring our Ecological Niche 10-11 Danielle Stevenson -- DIY mushroom cultivation 11-11:40 Alex Dorr -- Lab skills for mycoremediation 11:40-12 Lexie Gropper -- Building a Mycological Field Station in Ecuador 12-1 LUNCH 1-2:30 Alex Dorr and Jess Rubin -- Mycofiltration: Theory and Practice 2:30-3 Lexie Gropper -- Case Study: Amisacho and local adaptations for cultivation and bioremediation 3-3:30 BREAK 3:30-4 Daniel Reyes and Lexie Gropper — Enzymes, Screening tools and Mycoalliance 4-5 Mia Maltz -- Fungal Resilience: Disturbance and Restoration 5-6 DINNER 6-7 Mia Maltz -- Research in the Critical Zone Talk and Seminar (30 min talk, then open to discussion)
Day 3: Bioremediation in action 7-8 Alex Dorr -- MycoYoga 8-9 BREAKFAST 9-10:15 Instructor TBA -- Soil Biogeochemical cycling 10:15-10:30 BREAK 10:30-12 Danielle Stevenson and Lexie Gropper -- Bacterial Remediation, and Phytoremediation 12-1:45 LONG LUNCH BREAK 1:45-2:30 Alex Dorr and Danielle Stevenson -- Mycoremediation of cigarette butts 2:30-3:15 BREAK 3:15-4 Jacquelyn Burmeister -- Feasibility of the environmental remediation of petroleum contamination via small scale mushroom cultivation in Sucumbíos, Ecuador 4-5 Danielle Stevenson -- Mushrooms and “Waste” 5-6 DINNER 6-7Mia Maltz --Mycorrhizal symbiosis (30 min talk and 1hr design charette including reportback)
Day 4: Organizing MycoRenewal: Networking, discussions, research project development 8-9 BREAKFAST 9-10:30 Instructor TBA -- Environmental Justice 2.0 10:30-11 BREAK 11-12 Lexie Gropper -- Self-care and working with hazardous materials 12-1 LUNCH 1-2 Danielle Stevenson and Maya Elson -- Mycomimicry and Community Organizing 2-3 Jacquelyn Burmeister -- Grant Writing for Research and Community Development 3-3:15 BREAK 3:15-4 4-5 Maya Elson -- Break-out groups based on which types of projects you’re interested in (while Corenewal Collective meets) 5-6 DINNER 6-7:30 Optional: Bringing new energy into current projects (BRPP, Mushroom Lab, and Fungal Communities open meetings)
Monday, August 6th
Maya Elson -- Networking Activity Everyone stands in a circle. One person shares one thing they have to offer, and one thing they’re hoping to gain in the field of mycorenewal (be specific). If you feel a connection to something they said, have a similar offering or can support their need, raise hand and ball of yarn will be thrown.
Mia Maltz -- The Ecology of Bioremediation The basis of bioremediation is the concept of 'microbial infallibility,' that all natural compounds are biodegradable given favorable environmental conditions. However, our modern world is teeming with xenobiotics that are foreign to biological systems and contain structures and bonds not found in nature. By observing patterns in nature, we can predict how different species can perform in contaminated ecosystems in order to identify agents of bioremediation with the capacity to biodegrade even the most recalcitrant compounds. Let's take a step back and explore the ecological underpinnings of this design science, as we consider ecological life history traits. In this course we will evaluate tools organisms may use to respond to environmental stress and identify any potential trade-offs which may allow species, populations, or whole microbial communities to persist in sub-optimal environments.
Maya Elson and friends -- Fungal Ecology Walk Before seeking to heal a damaged environment, it is essential to study the complex web of relationships within that ecosystem. Fungal ecology and mushroom identification provide a powerful lense to observe and connect with our ecosystem, and to increase personal and community resilience. It also helps us forage for food and medicine, and monitor for endangered species to preserve threatened habitats.
Danielle Stevenson and Leila Darwish -- Toxicology 101 As we work to decontaminate and regenerate soils and waters, it’s important to understand how contaminants function in our environments, where they come from, and their health impacts to human, animal, and other living communities. Key contaminants of concern including heavy metals and organic contaminants such as pesticides, PAH’s, PCB’s and others will be de-mystified. We'll also talk through exposure pathways, how to make sense of lab analysis, and how to understand risk.
Mia Maltz, Lexie Gropper, Maya Elson, Jacquelyn Burmeister -- History of CoRenewal, Q&A Founded in 2010, CoRenewal/Amazon MycoRenewal Project has sought methods for addressing devastating oil pollution in Ecuador with Fungi and Bacteria. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about working with indigenous communities, functioning as a 501(c)3 and collaborative scientific research.
Lexie Gropper, Danielle Stevenson and Leila Darwish-- Holistic bioremediation and social, economic and environmental aspects of remediation When designing projects, especially disaster relief and remediation projects, it's especially important to consider where you're working, with whom, and a dynamic list of social, economic, and environmental considerations to ensure that your project will find success and be supported locally. Several examples and case studies will be offered to explore this topic.
Maya Elson -- Discussion topic: what are some of the common ecological and social issues with bioremediation projects? How can we address these issues? Break into groups of 4-6 for 35 min to discuss topic and highlight some issues and solutions that feel most important. Each group identifies a facilitator and notetaker (ideally with large, visible notepad). Make space for everyone to share more than once (no need to share all of your thoughts at once). Whole group comes together. One member from each group shares their highlights. Leave a few minutes for last thoughts and reflections.
Tuesday August 7th
Maya Elson-- Experiential Mycopsychology: Exploring our Ecological Niche For those seeking to ally with fungi to repair complex damaged ecosystems, it can be difficult to determine the best to ways fit in to that process without burning out, and to find our own ecological niche. Taking lessons from fungal ecology, this experiential, outdoor workshop explores the ways that fungi can be a part of cultivating inner wholeness, re-wilding, and finding our place in our human and ecological communities.
Danielle Stevenson -- DIY mushroom cultivation Learn simple ways to get started growing mushrooms and mushroom cultures using low-tech techniques which are easy and cheap. You don’t have to be a scientist to cultivate mushrooms! This workshop will offer an overview of basic mushroom cultivation with a focus on low-sterility techniques, including how to start cultures on cardboard and in liquid cultures, and how to find resources where you live to grow mushrooms without needing much equipment or materials.
Alex Dorr -- Lab skills for mycoremediation Want to take your remediation to the next level? Want to learn how to build and operate your own lab to run all your mycoremediation experiments? Learn crucial mycology lab techniques like cloning wild mushrooms, creating new strains via spores, liquid culture, grain making, bench scale tests, enzyme assays, species and contaminant testing with agar, and mush more!
Alex Dorr, Hannah Huber and Jess Rubin-- Introduction to Mycofiltration for pathogens Mycofiltration cleanses and harnesses water initially deemed unsafe. During this workshop, we will share about a current mycofiltration research project involving Mycoevolve in partnership with University of Vermont for watershed restoration. The project documents King Stropharia to cleanse water ofE. coli (known to be pathogenic) from dairy effluent through mycelial mats before it enters Lake Champlain. We will highlight results, outline steps to continue research, discuss what we learned, and brainstorm how researchers like you can install efficient mycofilters. Finally we will roll up our sleeves to construct a mycofilter to filter grey water for the NewMoonMycologySummitWeekend event.
Lexie Gropper -- Case Study: Amisacho and local adaptations for cultivation and bioremediation We are excited to share the mission and and goals of the Amisacho Research Station located in the heart of Lago Agrio, Ecuador. Our work focuses on research and education for mushroom cultivation for food, medicine, and remediation.
Mia Maltz -- Fungal Resilience: Disturbance and Restoration Microbial processes are threatened by land-use changes, which result in ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. This ecosystem degradation, along with methods for restoring these degraded landscapes, may either promote or inhibit fungi. Given the functional role of fungi in ecosystems, especially their interactions with plant and human hosts, it is important to disentangle how multiple and potentially interacting assembly processes affect their community structure and function. Using molecular and fluorimetric techniques, we will examine how degradation affects decomposer fungi and their production of extracellular enzymes. A mechanistic understanding of how disturbance alters microbial communities across space and time may inform strategies for restoring degraded systems and addressing threats caused by pathogenic microbes.
Mia Maltz -- Research in the Critical Zone Talk and Seminar The Critical Zone is Earth's living skin, from groundwater to canopy. In this session, we will discuss microbial ecology and biogeochemistry analyses of fungal communities and soil physicochemical properties across 10 Critical Zone Observatories. We will go deep (to bedrock!) and high (up to the high Sierra) to examine soil and dust-associated microbes from a range of unique soil layers with a broad goal of characterizing soil microbial communities across lateral space and vertical depth.
Wednesday, August 8th
Alex Dorr -- Mycoyoga Mycoremediation isn't just cleaning up dirty soils and waterways. Pollution starts with US. One of the healing tools in any mycoremediators toolbelt is somatic (mind body soul connection) healing - Yoga being a great example. Yoga is yolking the mind body soul together to find union and oneness. Disease and pollution arise from the idea we are separate from our environment and the world around us. In combination with healthy eating, herbs, lifestyle, etc yoga can help us not only heal our inner pollution, but also help build our resilience, help us detox, clear our minds so we can focus on earth repair work, and much more added benefits. Embody remediation in all dimensions with mushroom inspired mycoyoga.
Danielle Stevenson, Lexie Gropper and Leila Darwish-- Bacterial and Phytoremediation Different environments, conditions and types of contaminants favor different approaches. Bacteria, fungi and plants all can play a role in transforming contaminants into less harmful and toxic substances, and ultimately regenerating lands and waters. This workshop will outline the abilities plants, bacteria and fungi have to degrade, transform, and bind up certain contaminants, and best practices for working with a holistic, multi-kindgom approach to 'remediation', as we see in nature.
Alex Dorr and Danielle Stevenson -- Mycoremediation of cigarette butts Cigarette butts are one of the most littered objects in the world. These filters are made out of a type of plastic called cellulose acetate and leach many toxins into the environment such as heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides and more. These toxins are harmful to our environment, humans, and animals alike. We will go in depth about the history of cigarette butts in our environment, look at success from experiments and projects from Danielle Stevenson and Alex Dorr at remediating these toxins, and look to the future of remediating these toxin sources on a large scale. Join us on an exciting exploration on how mushrooms get the (cig) booty.
Jacquelyn Burmeister -- Feasibility of the environmental remediation of petroleum contamination via small scale mushroom cultivation in Sucumbíos, Ecuador Small-scale farmers exist at the intersection of contamination and the greater population by working with produce grown in soils. The incorporation of mushroom cultivation on small farms may provide an opportunity for increased human nutrition as well as an eventual avenue for environmental restoration. Introduction of mushroom cultivation will be most successful if materials are locally sourced. I attempted to identify regional agricultural waste streams that could be repurposed for the cultivation of mushrooms in order to close ecological cycles on farms. I surveyed 86 students at an agricultural institute and interviewed five farmers that represented the majority of the regions crop variety. Data suggest that residual pressed sugar cane and coco husks are not currently exploited for their nutritional content and may provide a suitable substrate for mushroom cultivation, given their abundance and chemical attributes.
Danielle Stevenson-- Mushrooms and “Waste” Oyster and King Stropharia mushrooms are great at breaking down household and urban waste.This workshop will offer an overview of some of the cool stuff you can do with fungi where you live--from growing protein-rich food on recycled materials, to filtering your greywater, to breaking down your cigarettes, animal waste, oil and grease and so much more.
Mia Maltz --Mycorrhizal symbiosis 30 min talk and 1hr design charette
Thursday, August 9th
Maya Elson and Danielle Stevenson -- Mycomimicry and Community Organizing Learning how to grow mushrooms is an important, but if we want to have successful collaborative mycological projects, its essential to learn some basic organizing skills. The good news is that fungal communities can teach us a lot about human communities, from creating a spore of inspiration to building symbiotic relationships. We'll explore relationship building, working with municipalities and businesses and non-profits, salvaging resources, barriers and opportunities for applying mycology to interconnected environmental and social problems.
Jacquelyn Burmeister -- Grant Writing for Research and Community Development Small organizations depend heavily on external grant funding. This workshop teaches you how to catch a funder’s eye and convince them that you will effectively utilize their funding. Learn how to sell your project to diverse parties. This interactive workshop will focus on identifying with your funder, using effective language, building synergistic partnerships, and writing airtight budgets.
Alexis Gropper is the Field Coordinator of CoRenewal and lives in Lago Agrio located in the Northeastern Amazon of Ecuador. Alexis holds a B.S. in Biology: Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Science from Appalachian State University. As an English/Spanish translator, Alexis is continually learning and adapting to help orchestrate local and international alliances in both culturally sensitive and mutually beneficial manners. Alexis coordinates international scientists and activists to integrate their work with local organizations for environmental projects in a wide range of themes, including bioremediation of anthropogenic contamination, alternatives to cut and burn agriculture methods, and utilizing agricultural wastes to grow fungi as protein-rich food. She has spent the majority of the last 6 years working in the field of applied mycology studying mushroom cultivation for food, medicine, and bioremediation. Alexis lives out of her family's eco-lodge in Lago Agrio where they are developing a location for experimental mushroom cultivation, plant propagation for bioremediation, and reforestation in the Amazon rainforest climate.
Maya Elson is the Executive Director of CoRenewal. Maya is a teacher, naturalist, mycologist, mother, organizer and lover of the wild. As the Executive Director of CoRenewal and Amazon Mycorenewal Project, she is dedicated to enacting effective and just solutions to environmental and social crises. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College. As one of the founding members of the Radical Mycology network, she’s worked on various fungal cultivation and educational projects in Olympia, WA and the San Francisco Bay area. She’s worked as a campaign organizer with a number of climate justice and wilderness defense struggles over many years. Maya is the founder and a guide for Wild Child Santa Cruz, a nature immersion program for homeschoolers. As an instructor of Mycopermaculture, Fungal Biology, Mycorenewal and Mushroom Identification for both adults and children, she has experience writing curriculum and giving mycology-related workshops. She is available for giving workshops and consultations.
Danielle Stevenson is an applied mycologist and the founder of D.I.Y. Fungi, based on the West Coast of Canada, which offers education and mushroom cultures to help people of all ages grow mushrooms for food, medicine, and earth renewal. Through D.I.Y. Fungi, and her diverse work as a food systems consultant and community organizer, Danielle develops projects which build community capacity to address interconnected environmental problems of waste and soil and water pollution, especially where they interact with food systems, ecological systems and community well-being. Currently these include ‘Healing City Soils’- a soil science literacy project which provides free heavy metal testing for farmers and gardeners, and several low-tech, accessible myco-remediation protocols to address specific toxic waste products in partnership with colleges, businesses, and townships. She is Vice Director of the CoRenewal, and advises other efforts to incorporate fungi into food security and remediation programs in North America and around the world.
Alex Dorr is a mycophile residing from Easthampton Ma. Owner, founder and CEO of Mushroom Revival, an organic Cordyceps militaris farm and organic medicinal mushroom supplement producer. Author of the book "Mycoremediation Handbook: a Grassroots Guide to Growing Mushrooms and Cleaning up Toxic Waste with Fungi" On the Mushroom Mountain mycoremediation team and the Mushroom Mountain Jamaica Project. Also, last but not least, Alex is an excited member of Corenewal.
Brendan O'Brien is a CoRenewal Board Member and a graduate student at The University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Brendan is interested in soil and aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry, nutrient cycling, and applied mycology. His research focuses on decomposition of organic wastes and how application of fertilizer products may affect native soil microbial communities and water quality. His work also investigates experimental methods designed to integrate fungi into waste management and resource recovery practices. Brendan earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from The Evergreen State College in 2008, where he focused on environmental analysis and water quality. In 2012 Brendan ventured to the Bolivian Amazon as part of a fungal biodiversity survey, where he developed a deep affinity for the region’s astounding biological and cultural diversity. Brendan is excited to work closely with CoRenewal to remediate petroleum contamination in Ecuador, and to engage local stewards in research that promotes soil health and water quality.