The Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award

2015 - Cornelia Cho

In the short time Cornelia Cho has served as president of the Mushroom Club of Georgia (MCG), she has transformed MCG from a small, localized club into an active organization with diverse membership, regional influence, and national presence. Through her genuine interest in others and personal love of learning, Cornelia found intersections between club members’ skills/interests and areas in which the club could grow and turned the club into a group effort, praised people for their contributions, and nurtured enthusiasm, ownership, and community. Club activities grew in diversity and scope under Cornelia’s thoughtful leadership, and membership more than doubled in size with new members as far as California and as young as eight years old. Cornelia also forged relationships with notable leaders in amateur and professional mycology across the nation and continent, bringing their expertise to MCG.
With vision, intellect, and inclusiveness, Cornelia has led MCG through an incredible transformation in less than five years. Through her efforts, Cornelia is building a leading mushroom club in the region and a strong community of amateur mycologists in Atlanta and Georgia.

2014 - Dick Bishop

dick bishop

The Oregon Mycological Society has had many outstanding volunteers over the years, but one person really stands out. I am confident in stating that there is no one who is more qualified to be the recipient of the Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award than Dick Bishop from the Oregon Mycological Society.

Dick has been a member of OMS since 1984 and has been a rock solid contributor for all of those years. He is a self taught amateur mycologist with an insatiable curiosity and a tireless willingness to help others learn about the wonderful world of fungus. As our education coordinator, he has taught countless beginner and intermediate mushroom ID classes, and can always be counted on to man the pre-meeting identification tables at our monthly meetings. Additionally, he is quick to volunteer to be a field trip identifier and is a regular contributor to the identification teams at both our Spring and Fall myco-camps. He has also been a featured speaker at our meetings... sometimes with short notice.

Dick is a member of the Pacific Northwest Key Council and has been instumental in developing the trial field key to Boletes, thus helping to increase the regional knowledge of mushrooms.

Dick is a smart, generous, helpful, dependable, and humble person who has spent the last 30 years of his life helping others learn about fungi. He is an incredible asset to OMS and I hope we can honor him with this award. He most certainly deserves it.

President's note: When I phoned Dick Bishop to let him know he had won the award, he hesitated for a moment, then said, "You know, I already won that award back in 2005. If you want to give it to someone else, that would be OK with me." Think about it, here is someone so valuable to his club that they nominated him, and he won, twice. That says a lot about Dick's dedication and perserverance. Thank you, Mr. Bishop, for all you do for mycology.

2013 — John Dawson

John Dawson

John Dawson has been President of the Eastern Penn Mushroomers Club for the last ten years. John stepped in a President after the deaths of Helen Miknis and Suzanne Whittaker, both of whom were driving forces in establishing EPM. He helped the club through these times with grace and sensitivity. He stepped down this year but is still serving as meeting chairman, in charge of special events and winter meetings.

He wrote a President’s Message for each newsletter. Each of those messages carried significant information and helped keep the club informed, knowledgeable, and more in tune with the larger picture of the world of mycology. He also writes a "Who's in a Name" series which teaches people about mycologists and others who have fungi named after them. This series of over 30 names has brought attention to EPM.

He has also been helpful to the community at large; as a frequent speaker at state and county parks, and helping with the bioblitz at King’s Gap Environmental Center when the ranger in charge became ill. He also managed to convince other members of the club to help. John has also helped local medical personnel to identify suspect fungi in possible poisoning situations. He has represented our club at sports shows and special outdoor events, constantly bringing our club into the public eye.

John attends most EPM forays and is very active in identification and helping others learns to identify fungi. He is very interested in many of the smaller species and other members often collect small things just to give him a challenge. After one foray this year, John took home some deer dung and cultured it, and managed to find three more species. He loves to take photographs of fungi and has supplied many photos for the club website. He is a frequent contributor to Mushroom Observer and NAMA photo contests.

John has served the club tirelessly in many ways. He and his wife have often hosted the club at their home for the annual ‘Tasting’ event. He has presented many interesting programs at winter meetings. He arranged for the club to have access to a local Preserve, where cabins could be rented for a foray, and is already planning another trip for members to the Preserve.

He has been active in NEMF and encourages all members to attend the larger forays present by NEMF and NAMA. He served as Registrar for this the recent NEMF foray in Pennsylvania.

2012 — Dianna Smith

Dianna Smith

Before Dianna Smith became enamored with mycology, she was well known in gardening and nature circles as a Master Gardener, a nature photographer and the producer of a weekly TV show on gardening and the environment. Wanting to create a program on fungi, Dianna took her first mushroom walk with the Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association (COMA) about ten years ago. Her interest was so intense that she progressed from student to teacher in very little  time  and  soon  became  chief identifier for club. Prior to becoming COMA President six years ago, she served the club as Membership Chairman, Communications Liaison and Vice President. She has attended almost all of the club's weekly walks, photographs the mushrooms found and includes the photos in a weekly write-up of the walk on a website created for club members. Hundreds of her photos have appeared in field guides by Michael Kuo, Gary Lincoff and others and in the smart phone application of the Audubon Society's Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America. She also has produced over fifty professional videos of club events, for her TV program and for NAMA. As Communications Liaison for COMA, she has been in constant contact with club members, providing reminders of upcoming walks and lectures. Her excellent organizational skills are apparent in her ability to get other members of the club to take on important jobs. She also regularly writes articles for the COMA newsletter and along with Don Shernoff, has been instrumental in helping to plan and run the annual four-day COMA Clark Rogerson Foray for the past several years. In addition, she served as a regional mushroom identifier for the Long Island and Westchester, NY poison control centers.

Dianna's passion for promoting mycology among COMA members led her to develop an educational program entitled Mushroom University that has been meeting with Gary Lincoff for four hours each on six Saturdays every spring for the past seven years. Dianna assisted Gary, hosting most workshops at her home, providing her technical expertise and equipment for projection of Gary’s PowerPoint presentations, preparation of handouts, frequent e-mail to participants, as well as collecting, drying, boxing and labeling specimens for study. Each year, for the past seven years, they have chosen a group of mushrooms to study in depth. As a result of the course, Dianna and Gary fostered a group of knowledgeable walk leaders and identifiers. She also created an educational website called featuring the writings of Bill Bakaitis and topics covered in Mushroom University.

In 2010 Dianna was Chair of NEMF, the Northeast Mycological Foray, attended by 250 people. Ever more frequently, she has been engaged in outreach giving mycology seminars at Eagle Hill with Dr. Roz Lowen as well as mushroom lectures and leading walks for outside groups such as Audubon clubs, nature centers, and NY and CT state parks. With Sandy Sheine's encouragment, Dianna joined the NAMA Education Committee a few years ago and her long annual report is filled with her contributions to mycology. She became editor of The Mycophile in January of 2012.


2011 — Ron Spinosa

The 2011 NAMA Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award is presented to Ron Spinosa of the Minnesota Mycological Society. Ron Spinosa’s passion for mycology is evidenced by his continued service to the MMS, NAMA, local schools and nature centers as well as the medical community in Minnesota.

Without Ron’s hard work and dedication to the MMS, the club would not be as strong as it is today. Ron has been an active member for more than 20 years and a board member for the past 12 years, serving as president for four terms. Ron has been the editor of the MMS newsletter, "The Toadstool Review," since 2006 and has written many original articles. He serves as the clubs primary mushroom identification expert on forays, at club meetings and when the general public submits questions. He has earned the President’s Award, Golden Chanterelle Award and the MMS Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ron has taken an active role in mushroom cultivation for NAMA since 2005. He has given presentations on cultivation at three NAMA forays and helped schedule speakers at two additional NAMA forays. He also founded the NAMA Mushroom Cultivation Group on Yahoo Tech Groups.

Ron leads up the MMS educational outreach program by serving on the State Fair committee each year and by giving talks and providing expert advice at schools, nature centers, plant shows, museums and even commercial garden centers. In addition, Ron helped create the traveling exhibit display and maintains a large specimen collection for use with the exhibit.

Finally, Ron serves a critical role in the community by being available to identify mushrooms for the Regional Poison Control Center. It is because of his dedication to so many areas of mycology education that Ron would be an excellent choice to receive the prestigious Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award for 2011.

2010 — Paul Sadowski

Paul Sadowski

The 2010 NAMA Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award is presented this year to Paul Sadowski of the New York Mycological Society. Paul has been active in every aspect of the NYMS, not just this past year but for the past decade and more. He has served as the club’s treasurer. He organized and led a microscope workshop to instruct members on how to use a microscope to identify mushrooms. Paul runs a regular Monday evening mushroom identification session during the collecting season, now for almost a decade. He has also helped run Peck and NEMF forays, and designed and run a NYMS mushroom survey of a wildlife sanctuary. Paul also writes articles for the club’s newsletter, helps put together the annual club banquet, and is continually engaged in all club activities. Paul Sadowski is an ideal model for what aspiring future Knighton Service Award winners should be like.

2009 — Joyce Gross

Joyce Gross

This year’s Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award winner should serve as a model for what all clubs should try to find and develop, a person who involves herself in as many club activities as she can, contributing her skills as a speaker, instructor, walk leader, mushroom identifier, photographer, artist, chef, administrator, business person, and club historian. In a club, such as hers, as rich as it is in enthusiastic volunteers, standing out among so high a level of accomplishment in the general membership, is an accomplishment in itself. In such clubs, enthusiasm is contagious, and the members, just doing whatever needs to be done, distinguish themselves by the high quality of their service. And this year, no one has distinguished herself more, or is more deserving of the Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award than the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club’s Joyce Gross. Congratulations.

2008 — Brian McNett

Brian McNett

This year’s recipient of the Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award has served in just about every capacity his club has to offer. He is the Chairman of the club’s annual fall mushroom show. He leads introductory mushroom forays for beginners. He is also an expert mushroom identifier for the club at its shows, forays and meetings. He has spearheaded a study to identify and catalogue all the fungi of a local forest preserve. He co-founded the club’s mushroom cultivation group, which has successfully grown more than a dozen different kinds of mushrooms. He has been especially successful in club out-reach activities, attracting many new members for the club. He has also worked with school children teaching them how to cultivate mushrooms and cultivating in them an interest in fungi that may bring some of them into the club as members someday.

The recipient of the 2008 NAMA Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award is Brian McNett of the Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society.

2007 — David Work

David Work

This year’s winner has invigorated his club the past several years. He is currently the NAMA trustee of his club. He is also the club’s webmaster, chief photographer and chief chef. He gives mushroom lectures and slide shows that are very well received by his audiences. He also writes articles about mushrooms and mushroom forays that people have been praising for their wit and information. He organizes mushroom walks, and has successfully endeavored to bring whole families into the woods and fields in his area, a not inconsiderable achievement!

The 2007 winner of the Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award is a member of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association. His name is David Work.