Fungus Fest Presenters

Kent Brothers

Kent Brothers is an amateur mycologist who has had a keen interest in biodiversity in general and macrofungi in particular for nearly 20 years, not only in the Pacific Northwest but also in the neotropics.  Through guided walks in forests he enjoys sharing knowledge of the extensive diversity of fungi in ecosystems and the valuable roles that they play in the environment.  He is past president of the Vancouver Mycological Society, served on the advisory board of EFlora BC in respect of fungi, and is a member of the Pacific Northwest Key Council that develops identification guides for fungi in the PNW.  

Madeline Christie

Madeline is a Death Companion and Educator with a mission to provide knowledge about end of life planning, home funerals, pet loss, grief rituals, eco-friendly disposition options, and much more. By educating and empowering individuals to take control of their personal death journeys, her goal is to foster compassionate relationships in the community with the vision of creating a holistic deathcare network. She currently splits her time between Deathwork and project managing at Harmonic Arts

Amy Crook

Amy’s love of nature and scientific training support her fibre worship. She can most often be found stirring her dye cauldron filled with local plants and mushrooms, behind her spinning wheel or loom, or making beautiful useful garments out of local fibre. Amy’s business, Getting Fleeced by A. Crook, focusses on sharing her knowledge with others.

Dawn Copeman

Dawn is an avid forest explorer, community historian, artist, photographer and ‘naturalist in residence’ for the Cumberland Community Forest Society with a passion for the wild side of the forest including the incredible worlds of slime molds and lichens.

Candice Cullum “Full Baskets”

Passionately sharing the love and various bounties of our wild Canadian wilderness through tutorials and workshops, we are delighted to welcome Candice from the Alberta Mycological Association as part of out 2023 event.

Juliana Bedoya

Born in the Colombian Andes, Juliana Bedoya is a community-engaged environmental artist who supports individuals and community groups to establish their own cultural significance through skill sharing, including all stages of ethically harvesting and processing raw plant materials for art-making and environmental art practice. Respectfully using ancestral skills and traditional knowledge that navigates across cultures, and mainly working with garden trims or the so-called “invasive plants”, this work also aims to support local ecological restoration that fosters native ecology. Through Plants Are Teachers, she invites individuals to seek opportunities to creatively connect with their local landscape while cultivating reciprocal relationships with the land and people. Providing educational opportunities as entry points to interact with plants as teachers and more-than-human beings who carry intrinsic knowledge, Juliana invites people to explore different technologies to interrelate with the territories they inhabit for an ongoing search for relationship with the natural world.




Arzeena Hamir

Arzeena Hamir earned her Bachelor’s degree in Crop Science from the University of Guelph and a Master’s in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of London, England. She worked as a CUSO volunteer in Thailand and as a researcher in Jamaica, India, and Bangladesh. She was the staff Agrologist for West Coast Seeds from 1997-1999 and served as the Coordinator of the Richmond Food Security Society from 2008-2012, and in 2010 helped launch the Richmond Farm School. She and her husband moved their family to the Comox Valley in 2012 and run Amara Farm, a 25-acre certified organic farm in Courtenay, BC. In 2018, Arzeena was elected to the Board of the Comox Valley Regional District where she served as both Vice Chair and Director, Area B. She continues to work as an educator, food security advocate, arts champion and community leader.

Dr. Michael J. Hathaway

Dr. Hathaway is a Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Associate Member of the School for International Studies, and the Director of SFU’s David Lam Centre for Asian Studies

Hathaway is a cultural anthropologist with two central interests. First, he is deeply interested in China’s place in the modern world, looking at how little-known dynamics there have created world-spanning effects in surprising realms such as feminism, environmentalism, and Indigenous rights. His aim is to disrupt the typical assumptions that globalization emerges solely from the West. Second, Hathaway is doing what he can to foster a transformation in scientific understandings based on colonial assumptions of the natural world.

Hathaway’s recent work examines the global commodity chain of the matsutake, one of the world’s most expensive mushrooms, following it from the highlands of the Tibetan Plateau to the markets of urban Japan. In it, he asks what happens when we imagine “world-making” not to be capacity exclusive to humanity, but as a part of all organisms, including the seemingly humble fungus? This work has culminated in a new book, called What a Mushroom Lives For: Matsutake and the Worlds They Make (Princeton University Press, 2022).

For a quarter-century, Hathaway has lived in, worked, and traveled in China and increasingly in Japan, where he has explored the entangled and emerging worlds of transnational environmentalism and Indigenous rights.

More recently, Hathaway has been exploring hidden histories of Indigenous-led activism across the Pacific Rim and how they have shaped the contemporary world.

Philippa Joly

Philippa Joly has been a nature educator and a clinical/ community herbalist for the past 15 years, combining her love of nature and medicinal plants to offer adults and children meaningful and healing connections to the wild world. She has run Salix School, an outdoor school for children for the past 5 years and Bright Moon Botanicals, her herbal consultation and medicine making business for the past 12 years. She offers ongoing workshops in local medicinal and edible plants, sensory awareness, animals and bird song, nature connection, herbal medicine making and more.

Bringing an anti-colonial and community awareness to her work and life, Philippa’s workshops and classes are engaged, playful and hands-on. She has recently published the best selling book “A Kid’s Guide to Plants of the Pacific Northwest.” through Harbour Publishing. Find her at

Jenn Laing

Jenn is a middle school and art teacher and amateur mycologist raising two kids with sensitivity and curiosity in the world of fungus and nature. Her family lives in Cumberland and regularly walks the forest in search of weird and wonderful biodiversity it is home to.

Natasha (Tasha) Lavdovsky

Natasha (Tasha) Lavdovsky (she/they) is a neurodivergent interdisciplinary artist and amateur lichenologist/naturalist with a passion for integrating ecological activism into their artistic practice. Originally from so-called Vancouver Island (in traditional Tsawout First Nations unceded Territory), Natasha went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in studio art from Princeton University in 2009 while also studying geology, oceanography and environmental studies. Since 2011, Natasha has been committed to deepening their understanding of anti-colonial perspectives and environmental stewardship, which greatly informs their work in video, performance, photography, installation, sound and sculpture. Natasha recently completed an MFA in Intermedia Studio Art remotely through Concordia University (Montreal), focussing on ecological reciprocity interventions and subversive approaches to public art. 

Andy MacKinnon

Ecologist, author, activist and politician, Andy is renowned for his talents as an educator and is one of the modern architects of the widely-used biogeoclimatic forest classification system in British Columbia. His graduate research was in mycology and he is the co-author of six guidebooks to BC plants. His passion for the natural world persisted into a 30-year career as a forest ecologist. Andy is a retired registered professional forester and registered professional biologist. He still leads various field schools and guest lectures at post-secondary institutions and at Fungus Fests throughout the Pacific Northwest. Andy has an intimate understanding of BC’s coastal forests, how they have changed over time, and what is needed to safeguard them into the future. 

Adrian Oberg

Adrian is a community consultant and counselor. He helped to found the Victoria Association for Psychedelic Studies in 2014 and has acted as Director since 2015. Through harm reduction work in the city core and at arts and music festivals, as well as in-depth personal experience, he developed a familiarity with altered states that led to a practice holding space with medicine in 2016. He completed the Chiron Academy training in 2020 and trained in Psilocybin Therapy with TheraPsil in 2021.

Adrian holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Victoria and is currently completing an MA degree in Child and Youth Care.


RootZ approaches life as a wild child at heart.  She carries 20+ years of lessons guiding beings of all ages and abilities in creative programs and wild open spaces.  She has influenced the creation of hundreds of kinaesthetic programs, alive with curiosity and passion.  

With a fearlessness to collaborate with a plethora of life-changing communities, she has designed programs, plays, camps and retreats rooted in unearthing authentic connection with our most expressive and connective self.  She currently mentors neurodiverse individuals as EA and mentors nature connection with Fianna Wilderness School.

Megan Rose

Megan Rose is a stand up comic, improvisational performer, musician, wild edible mushroom forager and mycophile from Denman Island.

Heather Soo

Heather Soo is a Professional Forester with the Ministry of Forests and fungus enthusiast. She is an active volunteer with the Canadian Institute of Forestry promoting forestry education through local initiatives on Vancouver Island including guiding walks in Campbell River in the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands.

Heather Thomson

Heather was born on Pentlatch – K’omoks First Nation territory, she is of Norwegian, Irish, English and Scottish descent. Currently she works as the program coordinator for the Cumberland Community Forest Society, running stewardship activities, education programs, and fundraising events. She’s also a teacher with a specialty in nature education.