The Southern Idaho Mycological Association


A Short History of SIMA

The Southern Idaho Mycological Association was formed in January 5, 1976, under the leadership of Ellen Trueblood. Ellen tracked down those people in Boise and the Treasure Valley, who had a love of mushrooms, and brought them together. We have been grateful to her, ever since. NAMA wanted to hold a National Foray in the McCall area to honor Dr. Judson Boone, and needed a local organization to sponsor it. Ellen was Chairperson for this foray committee and the 1976 NAMA Boone Foray was a reality. This enormously successful foray was held at the 4H camp in Donnely, Idaho, in September. Three hundred eight species were determined, beginning a list that has grown to, over two thousand. From the start, Ellen urged SIMA to become fully affiliated with NAMA when it incorporated as a non-profit organization.

Ellen Truebloodís interest in fungi dates back into the 1950ís when there were very few people in southern Idaho who could identify mushrooms. Dr. William Judson Boone of the College of Idaho had passed away, leaving his friend Professor Harold Tucker to identify the few common mushrooms he knew.

It was at Professor Tuckerís urging that Ellen wrote to Dr. Alexander Smith of the University of Michigan for assistance. This was the beginning of her serious study of fungi. Ellen started studying with the Smithís in McCall, ID in 1958. From this time forward until her death, she expanded her knowledge and generously shared her knowledge with others.

In 1958 she made her first lecture and slide show to the Boise Valley Natural History Society. Ellen went on to present programs on fungi to various garden clubs, numerous Idaho Academy of Science programs, and give presentations to students in many high school and college biology classes.

In 1974 Ellen taught "Idaho Mushrooms" at Boise State University and off campus classes at McCall, as well as a short summer course for the College of Idaho.

She has collected and prepared fungi principally from the Owyhee desert region for various herbaria in North America. Her largest number of collections, approximately 6000 specimens, resides at the University of Michigan Herbarium.

Ellen joined the People To People Committee on Fungi just after its inception in 1959. This organization is now known as the North American Mycological Association. She was very active in this organization, chaired several committees, published many articles in both the Mycophyle news letter and in the journal McIlvanea.

Ellen was mistress of ceremonies at the first American Mycological Foray at Priest Lake Idaho in September of 1966. This organization changed its name to North American Mycological Association. Ellen served as Western Vice-Chairman and trustee to this organization for several years.

Her article "Notes on Fungi" was included in a collection of papers edited by Bigelow & Thiers that was presented to Dr. Alexander Smith on his seventieth birthday.

Her article "Desert Mushrooms" appeared in "Idaho, An Outdoor Classroom", a publication for earth science teachers by Donna L. Parsons. In 1972 Ellen sent collections for culture to Smith, Kline & French Laboratories in Philadelphia who were researching potentially useful chemotherapeutic agents.

Ellen was awarded two grants from the Max C. Fleischmann Foundation Reno Nevada to record, photograph, identify and study fungi of Owyhee County.

Dr. Alexander Smith identified over 17 new species of fungi from Ellenís work, and Dr. Orson K. Miller of Virginia Tech (Retired) has attributed the identification of several new species of desert Amanitas to Ellen Trueblood.

We at SIMA have been enriched by the knowledge Ellen Trueblood shared with us and feel honored to have worked with her from 1976 until shortly before her death in 1992.

Picture: Ellen Trueblood, with her granddaughters.






Picture: Amanita malheurensis, Trueblood, Miller & Jenkins, Malheur Co., OR.

Ellen' Papers and Books were donated to the Albertson Library at Boise State University. Her Personal Study collection is housed in the Orma B. Smith Museum of Natural History at Albertson College. Her most important collections are in the herbarium at the University of Michigan.








This page updated:Thursday, October 7, 2004