Mushrooms: The Good, The Bad and The Deadly

Warm Springs, Va – The forests in our area provide the moist, cool conditions that produce a variety of mushrooms. You can learn about finding them and identifying them at a program on Saturday at the Old Dairy. The presentation entitled, “Mushrooms: The Good, The Bad and The Deadly” will also offer an outdoor hands-on experience. Mary Hodges is the Executive Director of the Virginia Hot Springs Preservation Trust and she organized the program.

“I just think mushrooms are a very interesting topic and I certainly like to eat them any chance I can,” says Hodges. “And I’ve had the good fortune to be taken through these woods around Bath County on numbers of occasions and I just thought this would be a fun thing to share with the community.”

Extreme care must be taken when eating mushrooms found in the forest. Many mushrooms are toxic and eating them can cause illness or death. So you have to be absolutely sure that you know what type of mushroom you have. This will be emphasized by Skip “Toadstool” Taliaferro, who’s presenting the program on Saturday.

“Skip’s knowledge of mushrooms is legendary in our part of Virginia,” says Hodges. “Mushrooms are his passion and he has studied them the world over for most of his adult life. He identifies them by touch, smell and taste. But he is quick to call himself an amateur and emphasizes extreme care when eating mushrooms. When in doubt throw it out is his mantra. There are about 10,000 varieties in North America and perhaps 20,000 world wide and Skip knows and can identify about 300 of these.”

The program is sponsored by the Virginia Hot Springs Preservation Trust and it’s on
Saturday May 5 at 10am in the Holstein Barn at the Old Dairy Community Center in Warm Springs.

“Wear comfortable shoes and bring your camera because, if the weather cooperates, afterward we will have a foray into the woods and hopefully find some mushrooms with Skip,” says Hodges.

If you want to attend, please register in advance if possible, by calling Mary Hodges at 540-839-2407 or email her at

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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