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Individual Highlight

Forest Service Research on Morel Mushrooms Featured in Natural Inquirer

Photo of Cover image for Natural Inquirer issue Cover image for Natural Inquirer issue "Morel of the Story," USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The Natural Inquirer's monograph series for middle school students and educators showcased a Forest Service researcher's work on local knowledge of morel mushroom types, habitat, and disturbance.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Emery, MarlaMcGuinness, Barbara
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 659


In 2014, the Natural Inquirer, a Forest Service-published education journal that reaches 72,000 middle-school students every year, published "The Morel of the Story," a monograph issue dedicated to Forest Service scientist Marla Emery's work comparing local mushroom hunters' knowledge in the Mid-Atlantic region with available scientific research. Forty-one morel hunters across the mid-Atlantic region were interview by Emery and her partner to learn about their knowledge of the types of morels found across the region, the habitat in which morels are found, how the morels are affected by disturbance, and environmental threats to the morels. They compared that information to scientific research available from the Pacific Northwest to see if they could draw conclusions about whether morel populations in the mid-Atlantic region were declining, but realized that there is insufficient information to draw that conclusion. By sharing this research through the Natural Inquirer, Forest Service Research is helping students and educators better understand the process of real science. The issue includes activities that help students examine different types of mushrooms and conduct oral histories of their own.

Additional Resources

The Morel Story(web site)

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Knowledge Management and Communication Staff
  • Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association