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University of Iowa News Release

April 29, 2005

Natural History Museum Sponsors Woodland Field Trip May 7

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History will sponsor a Mushroom Hunt and Wildflower Walk at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7, in Palisades-Kepler State Park. The field trip is co-sponsored by the Prairie State Mushroom Club and will be led by club members Damian Pieper and Dean Abel.

Pieper is president of the Prairie State Mushroom Club and a member of the Iowa Native Plant Society. Abel is the co-author of "A Guide to Kansas Mushrooms" and chair of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) annual Photo Contest.

According to Abel, the secret to finding morel mushrooms lies in knowing when to look during the spring. "By learning nature's subtle timing signals, such as the blooming of wildflowers, morel hunters can significantly increase their chances for a successful harvest," he says.

The program is free and open to the public. Participants should gather near the park entrance in the first shelter on the left at 10 a.m., rain or shine, and be prepared for hiking with sturdy shoes, long pants, long-sleeved shirt and a hat. Water, a paper bag for collecting mushrooms and a hand-lens for identification are recommended. Participants are encouraged to bring a sack lunch and stay for the two-hour morning foray. A short and relatively flat trail is available for participants looking for an easy hike.

For further information, call David Brenzel, museum coordinator, at 319-335-0482 or visit the Museum's Web site at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,