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Monthly Meeting: February2: Lily Clarke
February 2 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Lily became interested in mycology when she noticed that morel mushrooms were the first organisms to return to an ecosystem following a wildfire, a regular event in her rural western Montana community. Reading that the life cycles of post fire morels had not yet been studied, she pursued the question of whether post fire morels are mycorrhizal or saprotrophic for her undergraduate independent study. She then went on to conduct research as a Guest Scientist with the morel expert Dr. Francois Buscot at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany. Following this position she received a Fulbright Scholarship to study ethnomycology in Nepal. Returning to Montana, she wanted to focus her efforts on wildfire and became a federal wildland firefighter while pursuing a Master of Science in Systems Ecology. After her fourth season she is now on the community wildfire resilience team at Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit focused on disaster preparation in the United States. In the last year she won the John Ruffatto Business Challenge out of Montana’s Blackstone Launchpad and the Festival of Urgent Reinventions Reducing Plastic Pollution awards. With the award money she began mushroom farms with women in Tanzania and Zimbabwe that she met during past research programs and is still close with. She hopes to create a mycofilter to support access to clean drinking water in these communities. She will discuss her journey in mycology, morel and mycofiltration science, and how she has found and accessed grants for her endeavors to date.