The Wexford and Missaukee Conservation Districts will be hosting a workshop on Saturday, May 11 at the Carl T. Johnson Fishing and Hunting Center in Cadillac from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The focus of the workshop is to encourage families to learn about the safe, edible products we can enjoy from our northern forests.

School-aged children through adults will enjoy this hands-on experience in the classroom and along the trails at the nature center. A great Mother’s Day weekend event!

Brian and Karen Cool of LeRoy will present a session on foraging the forests. The Cool’s operate Found in the Woods, a small wild crafting business. Years of experience in marketing nature’s buffet, along with a love and respect for all things wild, have led the couple to share their story.

Brian has recently published a thorough and practical guidebook to a longtime forest favorite, “Ramps” or wood leeks.

The couple will lead a hike to search for in-season edible and medicinal plants as they share their knowledge on both harvesting and propagation—also a handful of essential recipes and preservation tips will be offered.

Jim Ruster of Ellsworth will present a session on Shittake mushroom cultivation including a demonstration on how to inoculate logs with Shittake spores. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to purchase one to take home.

A second session will be on cultivating the elusive morel mushroom. Jim has been “raising” morel mushrooms on his forested land with great success and will share his secrets with participants. Jim will lead a hike to share morel hunting tips around the center.

Andy Bonczyk is a honey producer from Manton and will share the importance of bees as pollinators for the plant world and the process beekeepers use to turn bees busy work into products we use every day.

Jim Blecher is a maple syrup producer from Marion. The syrup season is wrapped up for 2013, but it is never too early to start planning for next spring. Jim will share how to get started in producing maple syrup.

Cost for the workshop is $5.00 person and includes lunch. Pre-registration by May 9th is required.

Call the Wexford Conservation District office at 775-7681, ext. 3 or email for more information. A workshop flyer is on our website: