Membership expires at year-end, but new members joining on or after October 15th will have their membership extended through the following year.
Your membership in COMA supports our mission of advancing the study of mycology through public education, organized forays, field trips, publications, lectures, and nature study. Being a registered COMA member gets you and your family involved in a community of knowledgeable and enthusiastic mushroom hunters and naturalists.
Membership also gets you these exclusive benefits:
COMA membership entitles you to join the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) at a reduced rate. NAMA members receive a bi-monthly newsletter, The Mycophile, and can attend annual and regional forays throughout the continent.
Spores Illustratedis the premier publication of the Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association. The newsletter is published quarterly and current issues are an exclusive benefit for COMA members. To read past issues of Spores Illustrated visit the archive.
COMA relies on the efforts of volunteers to organize club events and activities and has effectively done so for over 40 years. There are always opportunities to assist the club including roles such as walk leader, foray volunteer, board member, administrator, or special events organizer.
COMA was founded in 1975 by a group of people who wanted to explore the world of mushrooms and to learn and share knowledge about the science of mycology. The Westport Nature Center was COMA's original sponsor. The association's name was revised to include “Westchester” in 1978.
Professional mycologists and advanced amateurs have been associated with COMA from its inception. A partial list includes Roy Halling, Peter Katsaros, Carol Levine, Gary Lincoff, Roz Lowen, Vincent Marteka, John Minot, Marge Morris, Sam Ristich, Clark Rogerson, Ann and Bud Schwartz, Sandy and Jerry Sheine, Sylvia and Philip Stein, and Barry Wulff.
Clark T. Rogerson, mycologist and former curator of the mycological herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden, served as an advisor to COMA from its inception to his retirement in 1996; in 1981 COMA named its annual foray in Dr. Rogerson's honor in appreciation of his tireless commitment to education and the development of amateur mycology. Ann and Bud Schwartz of Westport, Connecticut were the club's founders and first directors. Sandy Sheine of Pound Ridge, New York became president in 1978, serving until 1999.
At the forefront of COMA's scientific activities is the recording of comprehensive collection lists of fungi collected on mushroom walks and the annual forays. In addition, the club conducts an annual survey of fungi at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Pound Ridge, New York for the Westchester County Department of Parks.
Dr. Samuel Ristich, an entomologist, mycologist, and founding member of COMA who has been a constant source of inspiration, challenging ideas, and good humor remarked, “Philosophically and pragmatically I believe in deep stewardship of the planet.” Ultimately, COMA has sought to promote and develop this sense of stewardship of the natural world through the study and appreciation of the world of fungi.