17th Salmon and Mushroom Festival


Conservation through Education

Sat/Sun September 24/25 the 17th Salmon and Mushroom Festival takes place in Lake Cowichan Centennial Hall 10:00am – 4:00pm, with lots of activities for the whole family. Fish Painting and Mushroom shows and identification are surrounded by a market of local Produce, Arts, Crafts, as well as Music. The popular Mushroom Café will again offer delicious Mushroom Delicacies.

Passionate and very knowledgeable Ingeborg Woodsworth started this festival to make sure that we learn about the bounty of wild edibles in our forests, so we can preserve the richness of mushroom varieties that are unique to our region.

Born in Berlin and raised in war torn Germany Ingeborg discovered her passion for plants and mushrooms early in life. She wanted to know everything about her observations, and she surely tested the patience of her adults with endless ‘why?’ questions. At age 5 she snuck out at her grandmother’s house to observe the fascinating ‘mysterious luminescent/glowing wood’ in the bog. She found out that these were ‘glowing mushrooms’ so surely there must be non-glowing ones. Ingeborg’s thirst for knowledge convinced her Dad to connect her with a friend at the Max Planck Institute who helped her on her long journey of research. Eagerly she made lists of her observations of plants and mushrooms, didn’t give up until she knew the names – Latin as well – and their characteristics. Ingeborg’s photographic memory certainly helped in accumulating the wealth of knowledge she has.

In June 1955 she came to Canada for the first time determined to follow through with the findings in her research in Heidelberg. Ingeborg had found out that there was a Cross/Hybrid of a Rhododendron and an Azalea in Ucluelet! The Scottish George Fraser had brought Rhododendron to Ucluelet, and there with the plantings of different kinds of Rhododendron and Azalea these two plants had connected with each other. Up to this day we can be surprised and admire at the same time the beautiful Rhododendron & Co flowers even in the woods around Ucluelet. Apparently these guys like to move around.

Ingeborg researched along the Pacific North West, taught at Community Colleges and started The Native Plant Society, Coastal Chapter of Oregon. She connected with the Mycological Societies of Vancouver and Vancouver Island, and was the first one to insist on showing mushrooms in their living spaces and not just dried up in jars.

With the Salmon and Mushroom Festival Ingeborg wants to fill a need for knowledge and preservation of the local forest and its enormous variety of mushrooms, lots of them delicious edibles, others for natural colours and dyes and more. The Festival will feature  various local mushrooms by display, slide show,  taste! in the Mushroom Cafe, and Field Trip. Of course, Ingeborg will be available to inform and answer questions.