Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland

Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland


View of Sugarloaf Mountain

The millionaire Gordon Strong discovered Sugarloaf Mountain for himself, and fell totally in love with it at the turn of the twentieth century. He did not, however, keep it for himself. He felt that the mountain and its wonderful views were not only pleasant, but also had the capacity to improve the visitor.

It certainly has had a transforming effect on me, not only with its wonderful overlooks, but also its wealth of plant and animal life, its lively streams, and its deep history.

Below, I am sharing with you the products of my years of visiting the mountain and attempting to capture the wonders photographically.


Please view my photographic products and my individual pictures, on this page below:
Products Available Now or Soon

Gallery of Sugarloaf Photos




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Proposed cover of picture book on Sugarloaf Mountain

Photo Book of Sugarloaf Mountain, Expected Out in 2019
This is the proposed cover for a picture book on Sugarloaf Mountain that Howard and I hope and expect to publish on Amazon in this year. We have created a first draft, and are currently in an editing phase. When that is done, we will be pursuing publishing efforts. Stay tuned for more developments.



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Front cover of 2019 Photo Calendar on Sugarloaf Mountain

2019 Photo Calendar of Sugarloaf Mountain
This is the front of a 2019 photo calendar featuring sights of Sugarloaf Mountain. If you would like a copy of this calendar, it costs $10. Send me an email at gridley.biz@gmail.com to make arrangements.
<While Supplies Last!>



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Administrative Offices of Stronghold, Incorporated

Exploring Sugarloaf Mountain by Car
Stronghold Square is the first stop when visiting Sugarloaf Mountain by car. The long brick building houses the administrative offices of Stronghold Incorporated, named for its founder, Gordon Strong. This organization owns and manages the mountain and surrounding woods in accordance with the wishes of Mr. Strong in his will. This building began life as a vocational school, funded by Gordon Strong to benefit the local community. To learn more about Stronghold Incorporated and to make donations for the upkeep of the mountain, visit their website at http://www.sugarloafmd.com/index.html.

Below are additional pictures of places on Sugarloaf Mountain that can be visited by car.

Pond located adjacent to Stronghold Square

Adjacent to Stronghold Square are several buildings, but also a large pond. Gordon Strong used to row about this pond for exercise.

Head Injury group visiting the East Side Overlook

Well, you did it! You started driving up the mountain, and now you’ve arrived at the East Side Parking Lot. Here you find a lovely picnic area and overlook, looking east over the rich Piedmont farmland.

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Roosevelt Overlook at the West Wast Side

Continuing along the road to the West Side, you see the view to the west that Gordon Strong created for his friend Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who didn’t need to leave his car for a lovely view of the valley and mountains to the west.

Strong Mansion from the front

Now you’re driving down the mountain road and you pass some impressive mansions. The first one you come to is the Strong Mansion, which Gordon Strong built for himself and his wife, to make life on the mountain luxurious. You too could enjoy it for a day by renting it from Stronghold Incorporated for your special occasion.

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View from Sugarloaf Mountain Summit

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain
Some of you may imagine that there is more to see if you get out of your car and do some hiking in the woods. Good guess! One of your first hikes might be to visit the summit, and enjoy the exhilarating view from the top, seen here. The little silver sliver is the Potomac River.

Broad Headed Skink on a rock

There’s more to the summit than just an overlook. Check out this Broad Headed Skink that was running along this rock, hoping that I wouldn’t eat him.

Mountain Laurel flowers on the summit

There are also a lot of interesting plants on the summit, such as this Mountain Laurel with spring flowers.

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Ascending the Orange Trail to the Summit

If you’re ambitious, you can reach the summit by hiking up the Orange Trail, which is quite steep in places–a real challenge for you capable hikers.

Ascending the Green Trail to the Summit

An alternative route to the summit is the Green Trail, which starts on the West Side. It’s a very different experience, with much of it’s length paved with stone steps.

Kids climbing the rocks just off Green Trail near the Summit

If you climbed the Green Trail, you might have enjoyed seeing some rock climbers ascending the rock face. In this case the climbers were quite diminutive, just learning the ropes.

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Abandoned Farmstead

Surrounding the summit is the White Trail. On the west side of the mountain there is a side trail that goes a short distance from the White Trail to this abandoned farmstead. I can imagine a nineteenth century farmer working the land here and coming home after a long day to his log cabin, of which today only the chimney remains.

White Rocks Overlook

The Sugarloaf Mountain main summit is in the south, but then there is a smaller one in the north. Beneath that northern summit is a west-looking overlook called White Rocks. Although it’s not at the northern summit (it’s on the side of the mountain), it does have some great views, like seen here.

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A friend and I examining a glistening stream by the side of the Blue Trail

The main trail that takes you north is the Blue Trail. Here a friend and I are examining a glistening stream that was running down the side of the mountain beside the Blue Trail. That same stream contributed to early nineteenth century industry near the mountain. Today it contributes to a variety of plant and animal life.

A frog in a frog pond beside the Purple Trail

At the north end of the Blue Trail is the Purple Trail, which skirts the lower reaches of the north end of the mountain. The Purple Trail features a frog pond, but this frog recommends that you don’t come visiting.

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A twisted tree hangs over the Yellow Trail, with hikers passing under it

Circumnavigating much (but not all) of the mountain is the Yellow Trail, which hikers, bikers (in season), and horsers can enjoy. Here a tree blew over and twisted itself above the trail, like a kind of gate.

Hiking up the Orange Trail in the snow

Hikers can enjoy the park in winter too–even when it snows. Here you see me ascending the Orange Trail in the snow, looking like I’m having fun.

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Administrative Offices of Stronghold, Incorporated

Exploring Sugarloaf History and Local Community Features
Sugarloaf Mountain is much more than a piece of geography. It’s also rich in history with a strong vibrant community. Here is the Bell’s Chapel UMC church beside the local cemetery.

Comus Inn

Not far from Sugarloaf Mountain is the locally famous Comus Inn, which was originally a nineteenth century farmhouse that was subsequently expanded to meet demand for the fine food.

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Lilypons Pink Building

How would you like a pond in your backyard, with water lilies and perhaps a waterfall. Well, you can! Come to Lilypons, not far from the mountain, and get all the inspiration and materials you need. Or–just come on out and enjoy the summer blossoms.

Red Barn at the Sugarloaf Mountain Winery

Sugarloaf Mountain certainly enjoys a lot of beautiful nature. How would you like to enjoy all that nature with a glass of award-winning wine in hand. The Sugarloaf Winery is the place to come and enjoy this wonderful combination. Note that the wines are not just OK–they really are award winning wines.

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Identify Maryland Wild Fungi Mushrooms

Identify Wild Fungi and Mushrooms in the Maryland Mountains
Do You Know These Fungi?


Tiny white mushrooms growing on a Black Walnut

I need help to identify Maryland wild fungi and mushrooms.

I found these tiny white mushrooms growing on a Black Walnut sitting in the middle of the Catoctin Trail near its northern trailhead. I believe they are Marasmius rotula. Do you find them interesting? Any ideas?

But I’m not always so successful to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Below are thirty three fungi  I found growing along Maryland trails that I could not identify. I wonder if members of The Mycological Association of Washington, DC could help me?

Can you identify them for me (Genus and species if able)?

My interest in mushrooms/fungi is purely love of nature … I only eat mushrooms that come from the store, not from the field, no matter how confident I am of their identity. The fungi below are roughly organized by what they are growing on.

Click on any of these numbers to visit a numbered fungus waiting to be identified, or just scroll down the page to visit them all one after another.
Fungi growing at bases of trees:  F01 F02 F03
Fungi Growing on the ground:    F04 F05 F06 F07 F08 F09 F10 F11 F12 F13 F14
Fungi growing on living trees:    F15 F16 F17 F18
Fungi growing on dead wood:    F19 F20 F21 F22 F23 F24 F25 F26 F27 F28 F29 F30 F31 F32 F33



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Fungus #01


Big round orange and white fungus with many fan-like lobes at base of tree next to AT near Wolfsville Road.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This immense fungus at the base of a tree was growing in August right next to the Appalachian Trail, where the trail was ascending the hill just south of Wolfsville Road. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 01" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Thanks.



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Fungus #02


small size shelf fungus at base of tree. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

small size shelf fungus growing up side of tree.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

These small white shelf fungi were growing at the base and up the side of a tree in December right next to the Appalachian Trail, about five miles south of Gathland State Park. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 02" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Thanks.



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Fungus #03


Flat ovoid orange and white fungus at base of tree next to Sugarloaf Mountain Blue Trail.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This flat ovoid fungus was growing at the base of a tree in August near the Sugarloaf Mountain Blue Trail right off of Mount Ephraim Road. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 03" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Thanks.



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Fungus #04


Red button mushroom with white polka dots growing in leaf litter next to trail on west side of Sugarloaf Mountain.    Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This pretty red button mushroom was found in July growing in leaf litter by the side of a connecting trail on the west side of Sugarloaf Mountain. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this mushroom, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 04" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Thanks.



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Fungus #05


tall slender white mushroom with design on top of cap. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

tall mushroom bent over to show gills.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This tall slender mushroom had an elegant design on top of its cap. It was found growing in August on Sugarloaf Mountain by the side of the White Trail on the east side of the mountain. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this mushroom, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 05" in addition to your observations about this mushroom. Thanks.



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Fungus #06


fat little white mushroom with conical cap.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

fat little white mushroom bent over to show gills.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This fat white little mushroom was found growing in August on Sugarloaf Mountain by the side of the White Trail on the east side of the mountain. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this mushroom, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 06" in addition to your observations about this mushroom. Thanks.



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Fungus #07


fat little white mushroom with conical cap, which is broken.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

fat little white mushroom bent over to show gills.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This fat white little mushroom was found growing in August on Sugarloaf Mountain by the side of the White Trail on the east side of the mountain; it’s perhaps the same kind of mushroom as Fungus 06 above. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this mushroom, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 07" in addition to your observations about this mushroom. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #08


Flower-like orange fungus growing in leaf litter.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This pretty flower-like orange fungus growing in leaf litter was found in July, fifteen feet off the Sugarloaf Mountain Blue Trail, halfway between Mount Ephraim Road and White Rocks overlook. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 08" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #09


Red mushroom with white stem growing in leaf litter.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

Red mushroom with white stem turned upside down to expose gills.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This pretty red mushroom with white stem was growing in leaf litter. It was found in September next to the Appalachian Trail just off a power-line right-of-way near the AT Washington Monument. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this mushroom, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 09" in addition to your observations about this mushroom. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #10


Flower-like yellow fungus growing in leaf litter next to a rock.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This pretty yellow flower-like mushroom was growing in the ground next to a rock in the middle of the Appalachian Trail north of Foxville Road in September. It may be a "Honey Fungus" (Armillaria mellea) or a Cantharellus cascadensis. If you have some helpful comments about the actual identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 10" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #11


Flat fungus that is orange but black area on one edge.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This flat fungus that is orange but black on one edge was growing in the ground near the Appalachian Trail north of Foxville Road in September. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 11" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #12


Mushroom with fat stalk, cap is white with gray edge and tan spot on top.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This white mushroom was found in August on the Thurston Griggs Trail, a side trail west of the Appalachian Trail. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 12" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #13


White mushroom with cap curled upward.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This white mushroom was found in June on the Catoctin Trail north of MD77 (Foxville Road). It was most unusual. For most mushrooms the cap is curled downward, but in this mushroom, the cap was curled upward, showing the gills on the sides. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 13" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #14


Plain orange oblong mushroom growing up from under a rock.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This plain orange mushroom was found growing in July on the Catoctin Trail near Bob’s Hill, pushing its way out from under a rock. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this mushroom, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 14" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #15


Small white shelf fungi growing up the side of a live tree.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This small white shelf fungi were found in May, just off the Catoctin Trail near White Rock, growing on a live tree. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 15" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #16


Whitish tan fungus, looking a bit like tiny icicles, growing on the bark of a live tree along with lichen and moss.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This fungus was growing on a live tree in December just off the Appalachian Trail near Annapolis Rocks. My guess as to its identity is that it is an immature Hericium fungus, perhaps of species americanum, growing on the bark of the tree. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 16" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #17


Two brown shelf fungi with white edging.  They are growing on a live tree.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

These two interesting shelf fungi were seen in September growing on a live tree by the C&O Canal east of Harper’s Ferry. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of these fungi, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 17" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #18


Shelf fungi growing on live tree.  Some have algae growing on them.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

Shelf fungi viewed from below.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

These are two views of shelf fungi in July growing on a live tree by the Appalachian Trail south of Gathland State Park. The left image is looking down on the shelves, and algae can be seen growing on some of them. The right image is looking up at them from below. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of these fungi, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 18" in addition to your observations about this mushroom. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #19


Many shelf-like fungi growing on a log.  They are orange with a black spot in their centers.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

These shelf-like fungi were found in September growing on a dead log (what other kind of log is there?) just off the Appalachian Trail north of Foxville Road. They appear similar to Fungus #11 above. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 19" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #20


A cluster of orange shelf-like fungi growing out of the sawed-off end of a log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

I found this cluster of orange shelf-like fungi in June growing out of the sawed-off end of this log in the Shenandoah on Hawksbill Mountain. Well … OK … I admit that that isn’t Maryland, but I found this cluster of fungi attractive. They look a little like Chicken of the Woods, but I generally associate that with living trees. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 20" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #21


Red globs on a rotting log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

These red globs on a rotting log were found next to the Appalachian Trail north of Gathland State Park. I think this fungus may be Wolf’s Milk slime mold (Lycogala epidendrum). If you have some helpful comments about the actual identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 21" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #22


White irregularly shaped globs on a rotten log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

These white irregularly shaped globs on a rotting log were found in September next to the Appalachian Trail near the Pogo campsite. I have no idea what they are, but if you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 22" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #23


Two sets of small mushrooms with conical caps on a log.  The left-most ones are somewhat tan, and the right-most ones are more whitish.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

Two groups of small mushrooms with conical tops were growing in October on a log next to the Appalachian Trail north of Raven Rock Road. I don’t know if these two sets of mushrooms are the same or perhaps they are two different ones. They are about an inch or two tall. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of these mushrooms, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 23" in addition to your observations about these mushrooms, plus make sure to refer to the mushrooms on the left and/or the mushrooms on the right.. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #24


Large white fungus with multiple antler-like lobes.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This very large "antler"-like fungus was growing on a log near the northern trailhead of the Catoctin Trail in August. I’m not sure, but I think It may be a Bondarzewia berkeleyi. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 24" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #25


An orange shelf-like fungus growing on a rotten log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

I found this orange shelf-like fungi in August growing on a rotten log on the Catoctin Trail near its northernmost trailhead. It looks a little like Chicken of the Woods, but I generally associate that with living trees. It also appears similar to Fungus 20. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 25" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #26


An orange shelf-like fungus growing on a rotten log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

I found this orange shelf-like fungi in June growing on a rotten log on the Catoctin Trail north of MD77 (Foxville Road). It looks a bit like Chicken of the Woods, but without the bright yellow edging. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 26" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #27


Flat ovoid orange and white fungi growing on a rotten log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This cluster of fan-like fungi were found in September growing on a rotten log next to the Appalachian Trail near the Pogo campsite. It appears similar to Fungus03 above If you have some helpful comments about the identity of these fungi, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 27" in addition to your observations about these fungi. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #28


Orange and white shelf fungi growing on a log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This cluster of colorful shelf-fungi were found in September growing on a log next to the Catoctin Trail near the Manor Area State Park. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of these fungi, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 28" in addition to your observations about these fungi. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #29


Green and white shelf fungi growing on a log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This cluster of colorful shelf-fungi were found in September growing on a log next to the Catoctin Trail near the Manor Area State Park. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 29" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #30


Orange and white shelf fungi growing on a log.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This cluster of colorful shelf-fungi were found in September growing on a log next to the Appalachian Trail near Warner Hollow. They appear similar to Fungus 28 above. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 30" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #31


Numerous white shelf fungi growing on a dead tree that is still standing.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This mass of small white shelf fungi were growing on this dead tree in September next to the Appalachian Trail near the Pogo campsite. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of this fungus, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 31" in addition to your observations about this fungus. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #32


Large white shelf-like fungi growing on a dead tree that is still standing.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

This tree has two different fungi: large white fungi and a mass of small white shelf-like fungi lower down on the tree. They were growing on this dead tree in September next to the Appalachian Trail near the Pogo campsite. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of these fungi, especially the large white ones, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 32" in addition to your observations about these fungi, being clear whether you are referring to the large fungi or the small fungi. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Fungus #33


Shelf fungi growing on live tree.  Some have algae growing on them.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

Shelf fungi viewed from below.  Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms.

These two images are of fungi growing on the same log. I suspect that they are the same fungi, but the greener ones have algae growing on them. I passed this log white hiking the Catoctin Trail near Cunningham Falls in November. If you have some helpful comments about the identity of these fungi, please click here and leave a comment that includes "Fungus 33" in addition to your observations about these fungi. Help me to identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.



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Click on a number below to revisit a numbered fungus, or just scroll up the page.

F01 F02 F03 F04 F05 F06 F07 F08 F09 F10 F11 F12 F13 F14 F15 F16 F17 F18 F19 F20 F21 F22 F23 F24 F25 F26 F27 F28 F29 F30 F31 F32 F33

Please provide comments below (fungus # plus observations) in this section of my website to help me identify Maryland wild fungi mushrooms. Thanks.

NEWS_MD Rockville Science Day

Rockville Science Day

View of Welcome Tent for Rockville Science Day

April 22, 1988 — Rockville Science Day — it was Earth Day, and the City of Rockville was celebrating it with Rockville Science Day for 2018, to promote interest in science. That’s appropriate given how science takes such a beating in the political world. This wonderful celebration was organized by the Rockville Science Center.

Note that Rockville “Science” Day might actually be called by the wider acronym STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. These are related disciplines that point in much the same direction and that reinforce each other.

Shown here is the welcome tent that people first came to when they came to enjoy the celebrations, which took place at the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College. The tent was staffed by happy and welcoming volunteers of the Rockville Science Center.

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Collage of welcome tent and pictures of volunteers

Welcome Tent
Rockville Science Day happens every year because of the dedication of volunteers and of the community coming together to make it happen. There are people who are deeply committed to science and want others to appreciate it too.

Most of the volunteers were wearing the orange “I Do Science For Fun” T-shirts.

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Collage of pictures of the Opening Ceremonies

Opening Ceremonies
Naturally, no big community event would be complete without some pomp. To kick off Rockville Science Day, we sang the National Anthem, posted the colors, and retired the guard with military dignity. We then enjoyed speeches by the Chair of the Rockville Science Center and by the Mayor of Rockville … and the press were there to cover the action.

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Collage of music activities

Music of the Spheres
“We learn in moments of pleasure,” and that was certainly true on Rockville Science Day. And, of course, music is quite pleasurable, so we all enjoyed the Kentland’s Acoustic Jam Band. There was a “Bach to Rock” table offering music lessons, and near the entrance, kids could help Organ Grinder Lola make music. There were of course also some science projects where kids explored music in an experimental way.

You may note my odd reference to “music of the spheres,” which in medieval times referred to the irregular and mysterious motion of the planets and stars in the sky. Some early astronomers got into trouble with the law for suggesting that the complex “music” could be simplified by considering the possibility that the earth rotated on its axis while it revolved around the sun.

Since then, we have also found the many connections between music and math and science, particularly physics.

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Collage of pictures of kids enjoying building things and table of STEM kits

Hands-on Science for kids: STEM After School Academy
Rockville Science Day focused on kids. These kids were not just learning about engineering, they were actively building things like towers and radios at the booth for the “STEM After School Academy,” which offers after school programs and a summer camp. I wish I were a kid again.

A representative from the Academy provided assistance to the kids to ensure their success with the projects. The zip-lock bag contained all the stuff needed to build an FM radio, which can be seen being successfully used. On the table are a variety of Academy kits.

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Collage of pictures of kids enjoying STEM at booths for three different STEM programs

Hands-on Science for kids: 4-H, Kid Museum, and Gaithersburg Community Museum
Rockville Science Day provided opportunities for youth. The 4-H Club got into the act, with its “Inventor’s Club,” exploring physics and creativity. “The Kid Museum had a popular table too, as well as the Gaithersburg Community Museum’s sun-dial making, which was also an activity that the museum provided at the Eclipse Party that it sponsored.

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Collage of pictures of booths offering STEM educational opportunities

STEM Education
Rockville Science Day helped youth to get interested in STEM, and to see it as an interesting career choice. Opportunities for STEM education for kids as well as for adults were available. The Barnes & Noble company had materials, including the “STEAM Education” program. The Montgomery County Public Library also had educational materials for home and school, to be used to demonstrate various science concepts. The Scouts and the Pursuing A Dream Corporation both promote interest among youth learning about STEM, with a possibility of going into the field. There was also a local dramatic group rehearsing for their playing of “Radium Girls,” about a time when people were careless about radioactivity safety issues.

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Collage of pictures of demonstrations of remote-controlled robots.

Robot Demonstrations
Rockville Science Day had a space where robots were doing work, picking up blocks and moving them. Other robots, however, had seemingly lost it, and were running back and forth, frenetically spinning like tops, or just sitting there trying to regain their composure.

Actually, I don’t think these are robots in a strict sense … they are really ground-based drones, since they are not self-directed, but rather are remotely directed by radio-control.

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Collage of pictures of promoting and teaching robotics.

Promoting and Teaching Robotics
At Rockville Science Day, a lot of people were there promoting robotics, including a successful robotics team from Rockville High School that presented. Two robots were competing on green cloth to attract attention to “BeSTEM! Robotics Summer Camp.” Also doing their thing were robotics scientists associated with 4-H/Adventure in Science, Inc..

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Collage of pictures of STEM of rocketry and flying drones.

Flying STEM
It was up up and away at Rockville Science Day. A drone table got some attention, but the biggest attraction was the NARHAMS Model Rocket Club that made a splash. You can see some of their special rockets, but the real attraction was the opportunity for kids to become rocket scientists and make their own rockets from supplied kits with expert help available … and fly them too.

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Collage of pictures of birds, reptiles, and mammals with their handlers.

Biology — Birds, Reptiles, and Mammals
Rockville Science Day was for the birds … and reptiles, and even mammals. John Celia was showing off his beautiful and intelligent homing pigeons, who always know their way home. “Reptile Wonders” was also well represented by snakes, a blue-tongued skink who most enjoyed snuggling, and some lovely and friendly tortoises. People had the opportunity to touch and be touched by the snakes. “Echoes of Nature” included both snakes and mammals.

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Collage of pictures of human biology, DNA, and germs.

Biology — Humans, DNA, and germs
Rockville Science Day also focused on humans. Shady Grove Medical Center showed visitors inside themselves with sonograms, while the University of Maryland displayed a popular item: real human brains. There was an opportunity to synthesize DNA with beads, while Sanaria, Inc., educated us about malaria eradication.

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Collage of pictures of astronomy, including making a dirty snowball comet right before our eyes, and using telescopes to look at the sun.

Astronomy
Rockville Science Day offered a glimpse of the heavens. Skip Bird of the Westminster Astronomical Society Inc., demonstrates the creation of a “dirty snowball” comet before your very eyes, while his “minions” assist with viewing the sun with telescopes. The tops of these telescopes have special filters to protect your eyes; don’t do this at home.

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Collage of pictures of archeology learning booths provided by Montgomery County Parks.

Archeology
Rockville Science Day provided an opportunity to learn about archeology. Montgomery County Parks gave kids the opportunity to experience archeology first hand, with reference to a place called “Seneca Store.” They sifted through sand, they detailed analyses of the contents of soil, and pieced together pottery fragments to give life to a story of yesteryear that could only be told this way.

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Collage of pictures of showing Civil War era medicine, a solor oven, and an old-timers electronics display.

STEM History
And, Rockville Science Day also looked at the STEM of yesterday. By the sidewalk, under a tent, was a Civil War field hospital. Historian Clarence Hickey played Dr. Edward Stonestreet, a Rockville doctor, explaining the state of medicine. Also on the sidewalk was a solor oven, both old and new technology. In the room with the robots was an old-timers electronics display.

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