The California Lichen Society was established as a nonprofit corporationin 1994, & has grown from the original9 founding members- including Mr. “Bill” Hill- to now include over 200 members worldwide. “CALS” is an active group, & has set the goals of mapping the state’s lichen flora, preserving its endangered species, AND enhancing the knowledge & understanding of lichens throughout California & adjacent areas.
Above: The Clathrus ruber is a highly-poisonous stinkhorn mushroom; this was just one specimen on display at one of the Fungus Fair events. There are thousands of different species of mushrooms just in California- many edible & many poisonous- & many with uses as dyes or traditional & emerging medicines. Many edible species have poisonous look-a-likes!
As you can see, dichotomous keys usng books makes species identification tedious, difficult, & a time-honored art; pages like the one above can go on for 20 pages just to identify a single specimen! (THEN its time to *double-check*!) There also must be at least one expert in the room to explain things which pictureless pages make too vague for beginners to grasp.Underneath the photo below you will see some more *rollover-&-view glossary terms with pictures* (there were some above in case you missed them!). When you hover over the magenta glossary terms, if the explanation bubble appears partially off the page,scroll the page until the glossary term is in the middle of the page– then hover again.
The use of lichens by humans dates back to the earliest of civilizations. However,due to ecological depletion & extreme sensitivity to air pollutants,harvesting lichens is strongly discouraged; small amounts should ONLY be harvested IF there is a great abundance of that species in the area, AND only as needed. Otherwise- please be good to the forest & *don’t harvest anything*- let it continue growing.
Above: Ramalina menziesii– also known as “the lace lichen”-has beenused for thousands of yearsby more than one California Native people.The Kawaiisu Nation has traditionally used this species for its metaphysical properties; it is said that by placing the lichen in water, rain will come, & by throwing it in fire, thunder & lightning will not come. (Sharnoff 2003). People of The Kashaya Pomo nation have used it as a fiber- specifically “for baby diapers & other sanitary uses of that nature”. (Sharnoff 2003).
Bill has combined a lifetime of learning with collecting a unique & vast library on slough of topics among what has now become The Institute for Social & Technological Alternatives, & his aid to & teaching Distance– including extensive education & providing a safe place to be & get work done while being also provided countless meals & “rescues” of all sorts, helped makeWild Willpowerwhat it is becoming today.
“I would like to extend a very humble thank you to Bill, TICOR, & everyone at The ISTA for helping to make my life possible; its a great honor to be continuing PART of your amazing, passionate life’s mission. I would also really love to thank everyone at The California Lichen Society workshops for all the helpful education & inspiration. You have not only been a wonderful teacher, but also one of my closest friends; you saved my life & are a grandfather to me. I look forward to working out the kinks, & soon upgrading the website to help bring this all to life.”