2023 recap: a successful year working for the fungi

This year has been filled with milestones, and we are delighted to share them. Here’s a glimpse of some of them.

December 18, 2023

FFungi Staff

FFungi Volunteer

Alejandra Olguín

Communications Lead

We'd like to begin by thanking all of you for supporting the work we do at the Fungi Foundation! For the past 11 years, we've been working to conserve the world’s fungal diversity, and we could not have achieved it without our collaborators, partners, friends, volunteers, and donors.

This year has been filled with milestones, and we are delighted to share them. Here’s a glimpse of some of them:

Education Program

This year, we published the Spanish version of our free mycological curriculum. What would the world be like if all students learned about flora, fauna, and funga in their schools? That’s what we want to find out.

Together with Reconsider and Fantastic Fungi, we've created a free mycological curriculum for teachers and educators. After a year of testing and teaching lessons in schools in the US, the resources are now officially available in Spanish. We hope that more and more Spanish-speaking educators use this tool around the world. 

We would love to know if you are already implementing it in your classroom. The more feedback we receive, the better. Write to us at education@ffungi.org and share your thoughts. 

More about our Education Program:

  • Our Fungi Education resources, including the FF Curriculum and K-5 Activities, have been accessed by numerous educators worldwide: we've had 4,350 enrollments from 80 countries in our English curriculum, while 370 educators have accessed the Spanish translation of the curriculum.

  • Very soon, we will launch a Portuguese translation of the curriculum!

  • We continue our collaboration with North Spore to distribute free mushroom grow kit coupons to educators throughout the USA. Approximately 125 teachers have used this engaging resource in their classes to educate students about fungi in general, mycelium, the mushroom life cycle, nutrients, and much more!

  • We also welcomed 'Mistercaps' as new partners to assist in providing teachers with free mushroom grow kits. Whiz Khalifa’s organization donates 1% of all their proceeds from these mushroom grow kits to the Fungi Foundation.

  • Throughout the year, Diana Richards, our Education Lead, taught lessons from our Fungi Education resources to over 200 students, aged 5 to 15, in New York and New Jersey. Many of them shared aspirations of becoming future mycologists, botanists, and environmental scientists!

We continue to strive towards developing a more comprehensive curriculum for ages 4 to 18. This year, we've collaborated closely with mycologists and educators, gathering their expert input on what students need to know about fungi to achieve scientific literacy at school.

Subscribe to our Education Newsletter for regular updates, valuable information for teachers, and more on the fungi world. 

Elders Program

We are committed to unveiling and documenting the ancestral uses of fungi within diverse cultures across the globe. Humanity has evolved alongside fungi and this relationship holds immense cultural relevance for Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities. As we witness the loss of habitats, traditions, and languages worldwide, we also lose the ancestral wisdom connected to communities in close harmony with nature. 

We are also aware that the knowledge underlying the resource management practices of the world’s Indigenous People and local communities is directly tied to the maintenance of biological diversity, making its protection crucial. For this purpose:

  • We've cataloged 284 uses from 184 species of fungi, using publicly available information. These uses have been documented among approximately 90 Indigenous Peoples, local communities, or traditional societies spanning about 48 countries.

  • We seek to include ancestral and traditional uses that may not have been formally documented, that live within the oral histories passed down from one generation to the next. Have your elders shared or shown you a specific use for a particular type of mushroom? Do you know anyone using fungi for medicinal, ritual, or decorative purposes? We’d love to hear about it. 

  • This year, we released the Fungi Foundation’s Ethnomycology Ethical Guidelines. This document serves as a guiding tool for our initiatives, and we hope it can be widely shared and utilized by other organizations. If you decide to implement them in your work, please let us know. We want to highlight any efforts in following these principles and encourage others to adopt them as well.

Amanita muscaria, a mushroom with widely known ancestral uses between shamans in the North Hemisphere. Photo by Carolina Magnasco.


This year offered new opportunities to explore the Earth’s fungal diversity and add samples to our FFCL Fungarium, which currently houses close to 2,000 species from Chile and around the world.

  • A new species of magic mushroom was described this year thanks to Giuliana Furci from the Fungi Foundation and Dr. Bryn Dentinger of the University of Utah. It was named Psilocybe stametsii in honor of the legendary mycologist Paul Stamets, renowned for inspiring hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to love fungi. This mushroom species was discovered in the Los Cedros Biological Reserve, an area protected under the Rights of Nature articles in the Ecuadorian constitution.

  • Together with the Society for the Protection of the Underground Networks (SPUN) we spent three weeks at the southern tip of the South American continent, in Chile, doing above and below-ground fieldwork. We sampled in bogs, Patagonian steppe, and old-growth Nothofagus forests, collecting mushrooms for our fungarium and taking soil samples for SPUN. Their soil cores will help build a picture of mycorrhizal communities below ground, while our collections help describe new species of fungi, unveil the funga of these ecosystems, and establish baselines that can be used to track changes in the biodiversity of the region. We were joined by the National Geographic Society, who were shooting for an exciting upcoming project!

  • A team of mycologists traveled to Chile’s Nahuelbuta mountain range in May 2023 searching for the Big Puma Fungus (Austroomphaliaster nahuelbutensis), a fungus that has only been documented by science once in 1988. The Big Puma is the first fungi species to be added to the top 25 most wanted list by Re:wild’s Search for Lost Species, and Fungi Foundation’s team might have rediscovered it. The candidate samples are undergoing DNA analysis, and after the results are compared with the original sample found 35 years ago, we’ll be able to know if the mystery has been solved. 

  • We premiered the documentary "10 Days in the Forest," now available on YouTube for free. It was screened in six festivals in Chile, Mexico, the US and Austria.

Expeditions like these ones are crucial within conservation efforts, as we are currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction, and we will not be able to discover all species. 

Would you like to get updates about our work to your email? Subscribe to our newsletter! 


  • We published a new tool called Fungal Conservation Tracker. This living project was born out of the realization that fungi, despite their ecological significance and importance to human well-being, are often overlooked and under-protected in almost all countries worldwide. We aim to shed light on the deficiencies in global fungal conservation efforts and highlight successes, thanks to a country-by-country overview of the global landscape on fungi conservation, presented in an interactive format. This project is still under development, and currently, 86 countries are listed.

  • Over 90 organizations and institutions have used or adopted the term “funga” in their communications—always remember it’s fauna, flora & funga, or animals, plants, and fungi!

  • Daniela Torres, Programs Lead at the Fungi Foundation gave a talk at the Latin American Mycology Congress and took part in the pre-congress Workshop "3rd IUCN Latin American Workshop for the evaluation of fungal and lichen species." The aim of these workshops is to train mycologists in the step-by-step process of integrating fungal species into the Red List, as well as evaluating specific species.

More about out Conservation Program.

Photo by Giuliana Furci

As usual, we also conducted in-person and online talks and participated in panels, seminars, and festivals. 

Here are some of the highlights:

The work of the Fungi Foundation was featured 70 times this year in articles, digital and printed publications, podcasts, and videos. Click here to explore them all.

Special thanks to all our volunteers and interns, who have been essential to all of our programs. We will continue to work for the fungi, their habitats and the people who depend on them for many years to come.