Digital Mushroom Hunt

13 November 2020

This autumn, the Green Office is heading into the forest to search for mushrooms. There are over 4,000 different mushroom species that grow in Flanders and we want to spot as many as possible. Through our DIY digital mushroom hunt you can join us!

The Objective All November, try to photograph as many species as possible on your lovely autumn walks. Don’t eat them, don’t pick them, just identify them with the ObsIdentify app.

This is a great way to discover more about the powerhouses of the forest: they clean it up, are food for the animals, and protect trees against diseases. The more species, the more biodiversity. Together we try to observe as many species as possible in Flanders this autumn.

Digital mushroom hunt, how does it work exactly?

1. Download this mushroom hunting guide so you can recognize some of the common mushrooms.

2. Download the ObsIdentify-app and create an account. That way you can find your collection of observed mushrooms on https://waarnemingen.be/ (which is the online database for nature observations). Furthermore, you can share your data with Natuurpunt.

3. Go on an adventure into nature, preferably a few days after rainfall.

4. Seek some mushrooms and take some pictures of the pileus/cap (above and under) and the stipe.

5. Upload your picture to the app, crop if you have to and click the button “ObsIdentify”. Within a few seconds, you will get the name and how certain (expressed in percentage) the identification is. In case of uncertainty, you can add extra pictures of different parts by clicking on the button “change photo selection ” (“Pas fotoselectie aan” in Dutch). Or you can determine it yourself with a classic guide book for mushrooms.

It gets even better!

This is a friendly competition and there are  prizes to be won!

Send us a picture of you (and your bubble) on your autumn walks and you’ll have a chance to win one of our wonderful goodie bags! 

Tips and Tricks

Enable location tracking: Make sure your location tags are enabled in your picture app settings! Otherwise you will not be able to upload the picture.

Be cautious: The identification isn’t always 100% reliable, so don’t pick or eat the mushrooms you find. ObsIdentify is an image recognition app that becomes better with every picture that’s added. Your pictures will only improve the identification!

Why you shouldn’t pick or eat the mushrooms: 

  • It isn’t allowed in natural areas.
  • Some mushrooms are deadly poisonous. Some look exactly the same as edible mushrooms, so don’t eat them!!
  • Mushrooms are important autumnal food for insects and snails, but also for adorable squirrels and little deer. So it’s best not to touch their meals.
  • Mushrooms are the fruits of a fungus (like apples are the fruits of a tree). If you leave them, they can still spread their spores to produce offspring. They’re incredibly important for our ecosystem.
  • Mushrooms are detrivores: they decompose all the organic material into nutrients for the trees.
  • There’s a shortage of nature in Flanders and there are a lot of inhabitants, so leave them be in order for everyone to enjoy them.

Thanks to Natuurpunt for starting this campaign! You can check them out here