If you have ever dreamed of foraging for fungi in the depths of one of America's most beautiful forests, you are in luck!

Mushrooms on the Map

Did you know there are more than 10,000 known and named species of mushrooms across the United States and at least 2,000 of those can be located in Illinois? According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,

Fungi are second only to insects in the number of species that occur on earth. It has been estimated that more than 10,000 species of mushrooms are found in the United States and at least 2,000 species occur in Illinois.

Photo by Irina Iacob on Unsplash


Before You Put That In Your Mouth

While the mushrooms you buy at the store may be delicious on pizza or in your omelets, only some wild mushrooms and fungi are safe to eat. In fact, if you don't have extensive knowledge in identification, and can be absolutely certain of the species you have found, it is best to avoid ingesting any wild mushrooms or fungi. Eating the wrong fungi can have devastating effects.

WGBF-FM logo
Get our free mobile app

Gain Some Knowledge and Have an Adventure

If you're still set on foraging for wild mushrooms, you definitely are going to want to learn as much about identifying them, as well as safe gathering practices, as you can. You may even want to make plans to attend the Flyaway Fungi Festival in Southern Illinois this fall.

Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

Flyway Fungi Festival

The Flyway Farm Fungi Festival promises a weekend full of fun-gi. With guided foraging hikes, mushroom identification workshops, cooking demonstrations, kids' workshops, and even live music. They say you can,

Learn everything about wild, foraged, and even our farm fresh mushrooms through a variety of educational workshops. This will be an unforgettable experience for families and people of all ages! Flyway Fungi Festival is the continuation of a dream created by the Hatfield family to bring a weekend full of celebrating all things fungi to the Southern Illinois region. 


When and Where

Taking place October 14-16, 2022, the Flyway Fungi Festival will be hosted by Flyway Farms and held at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge at Camp Manitowa - Cedar Point located in Makanda, Illinois. Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is tucked within the boundaries of Shawnee National Forest and is made up of 44,000 acres that, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Services, are home to many different habitats.

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge was established on August 5, 1947. The refuge is made up of 44,000 acres of land with a great diversity of flora and fauna. The major habitats on the refuge include oak hickory upland forest, bottomland hardwood forest, cropland, grazing units, brushland, prairie, wetlands and lakes. The refuge also includes a 4,050 acre congressionally designated wilderness area.

Get Tickets

If you're ready to head to Southern Illinois for a weekend of mushrooms and fungi, you're going to need a ticket for the Flyway Fungi Festival. Tickets start at $60 for a single adult tent camper and go up to $475 for a yurt & tickets for 8.

More About Flyway Family Farms

Flyway Family Farm was first established in 2008 and is a family-owned facility. On the farm they grow Shiitake, oyster, chestnut, king trumpet, and lions mane mushrooms in an indoor, climate-controlled facility. Visit FlywayFamilyFarm.com to learn more and find the official Facebook event page here.

Beautiful Nature Photos from Shawnee National Forest Will Make You Want to Visit Southern Illinois

Take a virtual hike through the area between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers known as the Shawnee National Forest located in Southern Illinois with these stunning photos featuring Garden of the Gods, Tunnel Hill, Giant City Park, Cave in Rock, and more.


More From WGBF-FM