Two field- and lab-focused ascomycetology intensives located in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains
August 14-17, 2023: The Korf Foray Limited Availability
August 18-20, 2023: Purchase Knob AscoBlitz Almost Gone* see below
Modeled after the meetings of the Pacific Northwest Key Council and the ascomycete field workshops of northern Europe, this event will be the first of its kind in the United States. We invite you to join us in celebrating the Ascomycota, ascomycetology, and the international community of those dedicated to their study for what is sure to be an exciting and memorable event unlike any in the history of the North American continent.
The four core components of the Korf Foray are as follows:
Field: Immersive, long-form, multi-site collecting trips to a curated selection of pristine, accessible, fungus-filled habitats.
Lab: Open-ended lab sessions, with well-equipped workstations suitable for collaborative or independent microscopy, photography, computing, culturing, sequencing, or the task of participants’ choosing.
Leisure: picturesque grounds, campfires, lakeside strolls, sunsets, starry nights, ample refreshments, custom catering, abundant local and regional recreation.
Lecture: Evening programming provided nightly by a total of four guest presenters:
Dr. Teresa Iturriaga
Dr. Teresa Iturriaga is the Curator of the Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium (CUP), and a professor emerita of Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela. Dr. Iturriaga is a lifelong scholar of the discomycetes, having obtained her PhD at Cornell under the tutelage of Dr. Korf himself. In addition to being one of our Foray’s guest ascomyceteologists, Dr. Iturriaga will deliver our inaugural address with a retrospective on the life, work and singular spirit of her mentor and our Foray’s namesake, Dr. Richard P. Korf.
Dr. João Araújo
Dr. João Araújo is the Assistant Curator of Mycology at the New York Botanical Garden, an adjunct professor at the City University of New York, and is among the world’s foremost authorities on cordycipitaceous fungi, particularly the myrmecophilous (=ant-associated) members of the genus Ophiocordyceps. Dr. Araújo joins us as both an invited ascomycetologist and speaker, and will present on the recently-described hyperparasite genera, Niveomycesand Torrubiellomyces, as well the extent of the undescribed diversity in this fascinating ecological niche.
Dr. Luis Quijada
Dr. Luis Quijada is a post-doctoral researcher in the Pfister Lab at the Harvard University Herbarium (FH). Dr. Quijada, whose cutting-edge research on the systematics of the Leotiomycetes and Orbilliomycetes is accompanied by some of the finest macro- and microphotographic illustrations in modern mycology, will be joining the Korf Foray remotely for a brief talk on his latest research, with a Q&A portion to follow.
Björn Wergen is the director of the Schwarzwälder Pilzlehrschau, a mycology school nestled in the Black Forest of Hornberg, Germany, which offers a variety of courses and workshops to the public throughout the year. The vastness of Wergen’s comprehension of the Ascomycota (to say nothing of other fungal groups) is partially recorded in volumes 1a & 1b of his in-progress series, Handbook of Ascomycota. Björn will be providing us with a prerecorded talk on the topic of Rare Pyrenomcetes from Around the World.
Lodging & Meals:
Lodging available on site (Highlands Biological Station) or at one of several specially-selected AirBnB properties from within 1-2mi of HBS. More information is available on the Register page. Participants preferring to secure their own, separate accommodations may do so by choosing the "Commuter Rate/Independent Lodging" option in the registration process.
Home-cooked meals lovingly provided by Suzanne & Dan Young of The Kitchen of Highlands catering company, a business with close ties to the Biological Station, which is ready and willing to meet all the dietary requirements of our participants.
Highlands and its immediate surroundings are arguably the most biologically significant area in the Appalachian Mountains, located near the crest of the Blue Ridge on a high plateau at an elevation of ~4,000 feet. Nearby habitats include oak-pine and bottomland hardwood forests, mesophytic cove forests, and grass and heath balds and spruce-fir forests on the summits of the higher peaks. The area is renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life and few regions outside the tropics offer such opportunities for analytical and experimental work in ecology, systematics, and evolution. Summers in the Highlands are especially pleasant, with temperatures rarely exceeding 80F."
Equipment and Vouchering:
Participants are encouraged (but not required) to bring their own compound and/or stereo microscopes, with the added option of utilizing an array of laboratory facilities and equipment generously made available to our group by official Korf Foray host and sponsor, the Highlands Biological Station (HBS). Those wishing to voucher specimens at their home institutions are kindly requested to deposit duplicate material with the Cornell University Plant Pathology Herbarium (CUP), Korf's home institution, as to help build a reference collection of ascomycetes of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains for the benefit of future study by local, regional and international students and scholars.
A generous donation from the Korf family has enabled the creation of the Kumi Korf Scholarship Fund. Any prospective foray attendees currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate mycology program are encouraged to apply at firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of their background in ascomycetology, current and anticipated research objectives, and level of need. The number of scholarship recipients and amount of funds awarded per recipient will depend on the number of applicants, their respective degrees of financial hardship, and any further contributions made to the scholarship fund in the months preceding the foray. The scholarship application deadline is August 1st, shortly after which time recipients will be notified with their award amounts.
Purchase Knob AscoBlitz:
A secondary collecting trip will take place immediately following the Korf Foray, approximately 1.5hrs north of Highlands at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob, from August 18th through the 20th. Indoor lodging at Purchase Knob is limited to 8-10 persons, available on a first-come, first-served basis, and is free of charge thanks to a generous contribution from official Korf Foray sponsor, Discover Life in America. **As of 7/4, very few available beds remain inside the field station.** Tent platforms are also available for use at the station, though tents and sleeping bags are not provided. Registration in the Purchase Knob AscoBlitz is restricted to paid participants (including scholarship recipients) in the preceding Korf Foray, and interest in this secondary event must be specified in writing to secure a spot. Records generated during the PKAB will be incorporated into the database of the Great Smoky Mountains All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory. Participants in excess of the maximum indoor and outdoor sleeping capacity of Purchase Knob may still take part in the event, but will be required to make separate lodging arrangements. A variety of hotel/motel/AirBnB options exist in nearby Waynesville. Camping on or near the grounds of the station beyond the tent platforms is not permitted. Unlike the Korf Foray, this event is without any meal service, and will instead take advantage of the station's well-equipped kitchen for an improvised combination of group and individual meal preparation. A grocery budget sufficient to cover most anticipated food expenses for the duration of the event has been generously provided by Discover Life in America.
Purchase Knob Field Station.
When: Korf Foray: August 14-17, 2023 Purchase Knob AscoBlitz: August 18-20, 2023 Registration Opens: January 26, 2023 Cancellation & Scholarship Deadline: July 14, 2023