An advanced fungi workshop was held at Duchy College Rosewarne, Cornwall, led by the renowned fungus expert, writer and broadcaster Michael Jordan.

Spring isn’t usually the time of year when we expect to see a profusion of mushrooms and toadstools in our countryside but Duchy’s science technicians had ensured that a variety of fresh material was available from the College’s 120 acre campus. The fully-booked workshop focused on the use of high powered microscopes to unravel the life history of fungi collected in the field and to ensure accurate identification of specimens.

Michael Jordan famous for presenting Wild Track and other natural history programmes for BBC1 during the 1980s, went on to write and present a six-part TV series about fungi, first broadcast by Channel 4 in 1990 as Mushroom Magic. He is a trained mycologist (fungus specialist) who launched the Association of British Fungal Groups (ABFG) in 1997 as a voluntary conservation body. Today the Association includes 26 regional UK groups made up of amateur enthusiasts (not surprisingly, several leading Cornish mycologists attended the workshop). He is the author of the leading UK field mycology reference work for amateurs, The Encyclopedia of Fungi (Francis Lincoln, 2004), as well as a number of other popular books on fungi.

The training event was held as part of Duchy’s yearly programme of two-day advanced identification and recording workshops which cover such diverse groups as birds, mammals, moths, seaweeds, ferns and grasses. A series of introductory workshops on these and other plant and animal groups are also held throughout the year in partnership with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Conservation Lecturer Gavin Nicol Said “As well as being open to members of the public, the workshops form part of Duchy’s part-time Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) course in Biological Recording. Places are still available on a number of workshops during the remainder of this academic year and a new programme will be starting this September. We hope that Michael will be presenting another fungus workshop at Duchy in the autumn.”

Dave Linnell OBE principal of Cornwall College of which Duchy College is a part said, “Cornwall College endeavours to invite inspirational field experts as guest speakers, this adds ‘colour’ to students classroom learning and really adds to the student experience at university level. These courses combine work-related and academic elements and are designed with employers to give students lots of relevant industry experience, that will set them apart from other graduates.” For further details of the advanced workshops and this Cert HE course, contact enquiries at Duchy College on 01209 722100; for details of the introductory identification workshops contact Sue Scott at the Cornwall Wildlife Trust on 01872 240777 ext 240. Places are still available on a number of workshops during the remainder of this academic year and a new programme will be starting this September.