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CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu

Release: April 6, 2001

UI Museum of Natural History sponsors April 14 field trip

IOWA CITY, Iowa –- The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History will sponsor a 10 a.m. Saturday, April 14 field trip in Palisades-Kepler State Park introducing participants to spring mushrooms and wild flowers and preparing them for the upcoming "great annual morel search." The field trip, a part of the Museum's "Afternoon With a Scientist" education series, is free and open to the public and will be led by Dean Abel and Damian Pieper.

Abel is the co-author of "A Guide to Kansas Mushrooms" and chair of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) annual photo contest, while Pieper is a member of the Iowa Native Plant Society and president of the Prairie States Mushroom Club. According to Abel and Pieper the secret to finding morel mushrooms lies in knowing nature's signals, such as the blooming of certain wildflowers.

Participants should gather near the park entrance in the first shelter on the left at 10 a. m., rain or shine, and be prepared for hiking by wearing sturdy shoes, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a hat. Water, a paper bag for collecting mushrooms and a hand-lens for identification are recommended. The two-hour foray will be followed by an identification session. A short and relatively flat trail is available for those participants looking for an easy hike. A map giving directions to the park is available at the Museum's web site at: http://www.state.ia.us/dnr/organiza/ppd/palismap.htm.

For further information or to be placed on the Museum of Natural History mailing list, contact David Brenzel, program coordinator, at david-brenzel@uiowa.edu or 319-335-0482.