Anna & the Friendly Fungi

With the fall and the beginning of what we hope is another rainy season, we start to see new friends on the forest floor. These friends emerge from the deadfall and leaf detritus that provide the perfect condition for mushrooms to burst forth from the earth in their many different glories. We found the perfect guide in Fort Bragg to walk with in the forest and learn about this seasonal natural occurrence.

Anna Towers is a local photographer and naturalist, and a dedicated mycophile (devotee to mushrooms.) She has been studying, hunting for and photographing mushrooms in Northern California for over 10 years. Anna’s experience has taught her where and how to find a surprising variety of mushrooms and how to best capture their beauty on camera in the varied lighting situations in the woods. And let’s be clear, this often includes laying flat on the ground, eye to eye with the forest floor, among the sticks, stones, etc. But none of that bothers Anna whatsoever! Her inspiration from the treasures she finds on the forest floor is both palpable and contagious. And her photos are magically wonderful.

"I want to successfully share this otherwise elusive mycological magic with as many people as possible."

Anna has been published, interviewed, contributed to interpretive work around the Bay Area, shown in galleries and her photography is currently featured in retail locations in both the Bay Area and Mendocino County. Follow her on social media @thefriendlyfungus, and find the Friendly Fungus Photography table at Fort Bragg events. Just look for the woman with a red and white mushroom hat.

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If you are interested in foraging on the North Coast, Anna recommends (and we do too) hiring a guide to help you identify what might be edible and what is not. A good place to start is the Mendocino Coast Mushroom Club:

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