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Issue 9

September 2021

Greetings Enchanted Nature Community

Welcome To The Enchanted Nature Newsletter


Happy Fall Y'all! On September 22nd, we experienced the Autumnal Equinox. This is when the sun passes the equator and the southern hemisphere begins its spring. Here in the Shenandoah Valley, early leaves are beginning to fall off of the trees and a little bit of color is beginning to appear on the foliage of many trees and shrubs. 

From Our Readers

We have received some wonderful pictures from our participants and readers. Thank you all and PLEASE continue to send your photos and questions to ADVENTURES@ENCHANTEDNATURETOURS.COM

A Request To Our Readers: Please take photos of any beautiful autumn colors and send them along. You might take a few pics of the same plant to show the progress over time. MANY THANKS to everyone that contributes to the Enchanted Nature Newsletter.

Tammy from Churchville, VA sent us pictures of Oyster Mushrooms 

Giant Puffball, Calvatia gigantica

These mushrooms, Pleurotis Ostreatus, are decomposers (Saprobes). 

They have AMAZING properties. Cholesterol-lowering chemicals used 

in pharmaceuticals are found in these mushrooms. In fact, this is where Lovastatin was discovered.

There are a host of other benefits this fungus provides, 

but we'll reserve that for another newsletter. In addition to the health and environmental benefits,

they are absolutely delicious. You might find these at your local supermarket, as they are commonly cultivated

Thanks for the GREAT pics Tammy!

Anna Maria of Harrisonburg, VA submitted a couple of pictures of 

Russula Emetica

or what is commonly called:


This mushroom will not necessarily kill you if you consume it. It may make you wish that you were dead though. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, and violent abdominal cramps. Symptoms set in between 30 minutes and 3 hours. 

The toxin evidently doesn't affect all animals or insects, as you will

see some "nibbles" in the mushroom cap pictured below.

Thank you for the pictures Anna Maria

Very nice photography!

Please continue sending us your pics and queries:   

You can also text your pics & questions to (540) 324-8778.

Pics from the Writers

We luckily happened upon a cache of Oyster Mushrooms and enjoyed them in a soup.

While guiding an enchanted nature tour for

our new friend Joseph, of Los Angeles, we found a variety of mushrooms:

 These mushrooms are called Indigo Milky (Lactarius indigo).

It has a stunning indigo interior when you slice it open. It also happens to be delicious.

These were fried in a tempura batter.

This mushroom is called a False Coral Mushroom (Tremellodendron schweinitzii)

We also discovered some immature Puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum)

These mushrooms have a list of common names: 

the common puffball, warted puffball, gem-studded puffball, wolf farts, and the devil's snuff-box

It was wonderful spending the day with you Joseph. Hope that your travels back to California are enjoyable and that you continue to be enchanted by nature.

**We want to remind you...NEVER eat a wild mushroom unless you are 100% sure that it won't make you sick and you know exactly what the mushroom is. 

Always  thoroughly cook your mushrooms, including the ones that you purchase at the supermarket. 

There are two sayings that you will hear among wild mushroom hunters:

"There are old mushroom hunters and

there are bold mushroom hunters, but

there are NO old bold mushroom hunters."

Remember, every mushroom is edible...ONCE!

Enchanted Nature Tours inc. teamed up with Jack and Mary Wilson, Mark Jones, and the Headwaters Chapter of The Virginia Master Naturalists for a sensational and educational hike in the George Washington National Forest.

Mark Jones of Sharondale Mushroom Farm is an expert mycologist and mushroom cultivator in addition to his knowledge of plant health, permaculture, and carpentry.

Here's a sample of some of the amazing fungi being 

grown at Sharondale Mushroom Farm.


Jack and Mary Wilson of White's Wayside, Necessary Bees, Friends of Fungus, The Necessary Mercantile, and The Millstone House hosted the event. They and the culinary magicians at White's Wayside provided

mushroom themed dishes & snacks, as well as famous White's Wayside bread. 


Regular readers will remember Jack from our May 2021 issue of the Enchanted Nature Newsletter

Jack provided the Morel Mushroom test.

The Headwaters Chapter of The VIrginia Master Naturalists "are volunteer educators, citizen scientists, and stewards helping Virginia conserve and manage natural resources and public lands." These people are wonderful! Since the program began in 2006, volunteers statewide have contributed more than 230,000 hours of service, worth close to $5 million to the state of Virginia.

According to the website, "To maintain certification, each Master Naturalist must complete 40 hours of volunteer service each year and 8 hours of Continuing Education." This program was part of their continuing education requirement. 

Below are some photos from the day:

Jack displays one of the lethal mushrooms in the area. 

This mushroom is commonly known as The Destroying Angel. It is in the Amanita Genus.

When immature, it is difficult to know if it is an Amanita virosa, Amanita bisporigera, or Amanita phalloides.

This mushroom contains a chemical known as Amatoxin. Eating it will cause a host of

symptoms like nausea, vomiting, euphoria, loss of muscular coordination, profuse sweating, chills. Symptoms don't occur for 6-24 hours and by then, liver and kidney tissue has already been destroyed.

This is a beautiful fruticose lichen, most likely in the Cladonia genus. 

Beside it we find Partridge Berry, a white oak and a lovely fern.

Below, we spotted a Cordyceps mushroom. These mushrooms are rare and strange. They are 

pathogenic to and grow out of insects.

This mushroom was growing from an unidentified underground insect larvae. 

Cordyceps are valued throughout the world for their potential medicinal powers.

After the guided hike, the Master Naturalists enjoyed lunch from White's Wayside at the Necessary. 

There were also exhibits of fungi, beekeeping, and a lichen presentation was provided 

by Enchanted Nature Tours.

It was a great day!

Autumn at the Branch

is this month's video theme

Take a moment to sit by the creek in early autumn. 

The title is Autumn at the Branch. In the southern Appalachians, creeks have names not often used in other parts of the continent. A branch, draft, and run are names often associated with creeks.

If you haven't finished watching the video and relaxing for a few minutes...back up and relax a minute.

Findings reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, suggest that keeping a few snapshots of greenery around yourself might be beneficial. When participants viewed the natural images in the experiment, their stress levels lowered, thanks to the activation of their parasympathetic nervous system – which controls certain rest functions. "Viewing green scenes may thus be particularly effective in supporting relaxation and recovery after experiencing a stressful period and thereby could serve as an opportunity for micro-restorative experiences and a promising tool in preventing chronic stress and stress-related diseases." Take a deep breath, hold it, and let it out slowly as you relax.

If you're ready to explore the forest,

come out for an adventure with us 


There are many proven health benefits to spending time in nature. It has also been proven that just looking at images of nature can provide multiple health benefits including: reducing depression, speeding healing, improving your immune system, preventing dementia, improving your mood, and increasing happiness. We plan on ending each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.

*Enchanted Nature News*

Give the gift of nature! We now offer gift certificates. They can be customized and emailed for any occasion. The gift certificates are available at our Trading Post

We have added a new web page called, "Our Local Friends". These are small local businesses that we support and feel confident recommending. Keep an eye on the page, as we expect the list to grow.

Stay safe and enjoy nature

If you haven't taken the time to explore our website, please do.

There are a lot of free educational resources to enjoy

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with the word, "unsubscribe"

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