Fungi Education 2023 Year-End Wrap-Up: Cultivating Minds, Spreading Spores

The Fungi Education 2023 Year-End Wrap-Up highlights the Fungi Foundation's accomplishments, including a remarkable surge in course enrollment, the publication of a Spanish curriculum, collaborations with partners like North Spore and Syzygy Science, and impactful outreach efforts in the tri-state area. The program's success is attributed to global support, and the Foundation anticipates continued growth in spreading fungal knowledge.

December 20, 2023

Diana Richards

FFungi Staff

Education Lead

FFungi Volunteer

As we bid farewell to 2023, the Fungi Foundation is thrilled to share the remarkable journey and accomplishments of our Fungi Education Program. This year has been an incredible chapter, filled with growth, collaborations, and a deepening commitment to our mission of spreading fungal knowledge globally.

Our Fungi Education resources, comprising the FF Curriculum and K-5 Activities, have left an indelible mark across the globe. We are elated to report a significant milestone – 4,350 enrollments from 80 countries! The growth in thinkific course enrollment has been nothing short of spectacular, surging by 117% from January to December 2023, reaching from approximately 2,000 to an impressive 4,350. Adding to this achievement, the Spanish translation of the FF curriculum, introduced in June, has garnered a substantial enrollment of 370 eager learners.

Among our proudest accomplishments is the completion and publication of the Spanish translation of the FF Curriculum. This expansion ensures that more children worldwide can benefit from our educational materials. Additionally, our Portuguese-speaking friends are in for a treat as Prof./Dra. Larissa Trierveiler Pereira's translation of the FF Curriculum, complete with relevant Portuguese website links, nears its official launch. Maria Alice, a Brazilian mycologist and educator, has meticulously reviewed the Portuguese FF curriculum, ensuring its quality and cultural relevance. Portuguese subtitles have been added to the Fantastic Fungi Film, enhancing accessibility. The translated curriculum is in its final design phase, set to be visually engaging and user-friendly upon publication on our website. 

Collaboration has been a key theme in our journey. Partnering with North Spore, we distributed approximately 125 free mushroom grow kit coupons to educators throughout the USA. The collaboration extended to "Mistercap," where we joined forces to provide teachers with complimentary mushroom grow kits. Two new volunteers joined our ranks, contributing to social media posts and translating blog content into Spanish.

Our outreach efforts in the tri-state area have yielded significant results. Diana, our dedicated educator, conducted lessons from our Fungi Education resources for over 200 students in New York and New Jersey. The impact was profound, with students expressing newfound interest and aspirations of becoming future mycologists, botanists, or environmental scientists. Diana also presented about Fungi Education at the "For the Love of Fungi" festival in New York and at the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) conference, our Education Lead presented our resources, garnering 115 new teachers signed up for our newsletter.

A significant leap forward in our mission involved collaborating with Syzygy Science to create a comprehensive curriculum for ages 4-18. Seeking input from 20 diverse mycologists and educators across the United States, we crafted nine key mycological concepts. These Mycological Key Ideas serve as the foundation for understanding fungi and align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The curriculum development is progressing, with phenomena-based storyline lessons in the works.

In a momentous in-person workshop held in NYC, a diverse team of mycologists and educators, including Todd Elliott, David Hibbett, Meredith Blackwell, Don Pfister, Catherine Aime, and Giuliana Furci, collaborated to shape engaging storyline lessons. Jeffry Mann from Syzygy Science and our Education Lead, Diana Richards, led the workshop, collecting valuable insights for the curriculum's next stages.

As we conclude this chapter, we extend heartfelt gratitude to our global community, collaborators, educators, and supporters. Together, we've spread spores of fungal curiosity, and we eagerly anticipate the flourishing growth in the years to come. Here's to a fungi-filled future!