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Fungi Activism and Citizen Science

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I am a creative scientist through and through; mycology is my central driving passion in my work, as I believe this Kingdom will ultimately aid in saving our earth and species. In addition to teaching about Fungi as often as possible and cultivating and collecting on my own, I have recently founded the Tampa Bay Mycology Society (www.facebook.com/FLMycology). We conduct lectures/discussions, conservation efforts, forays, cultivation, research, etc. I have also immersed my endeavors in a variety of experiences, diversifying my knowledge and skills. I earned my bachelors of science from Stetson University, where I was involved in a number of organizations that worked to spread sustainability, stewardship, education, empowerment, and the like. I also conducted undergraduate research on the phylogenetic structure of the stonefly species, Hesperoperal pacifica, revealing effects of climate change on the environment, as this species is an indicator species of the conditions in its habitat. I went on to participate in a study through University of South Florida College of Marine Science investigation the Begomovirus distribution and evolution, which is a plant pathogen that severely impacts agricultural success. We have two scientific papers currently published from this study. In addition since graduating, here are a number of the positions I have held: Conservationist with the Wyoming Conservation Corps; Science Educator at the Museum of Science and Industry; Organic Farmer at Maui Malama Family Farm; Herbalist Apprentice under Willow Lamonte's Herbal Delights; Herbarium Assistant at University of South Florida Herbarium; Tutor (science subjects and French) through Varsity Tutors and Chegg. Overall I make it my job to live my life as a teaching opportunity to instill environmental stewardship, citizen science and innovation, and the instinct to question everything in everyone I encounter. I also pursue a variety of personal endeavors, such as a large garden of valuable plants and fungi at my house; cultivation and creation of Effective Microorganism sprays to use as plant and soil probiotics, as well as nontoxic cleaning agents (https://www.facebook.com/Miraculous-Microbes-Environmental-Elixirs-1545019072190601/); artistic creations of a wide spectrum of media, including science related pieces for teaching and eco-art; musical projects (particularly violin and mandolin); yoga practice and teaching; creative writing and composition; backpacking, camping and wilderness survival. I am in the process of applying for graduate school to study mycology and botany and will begin sometime next year.

I decided to create a GoFundMe account to raise money to continue my education and training in mycology. This field is ever evolving and, being the least studied kingdom of organisms, it is the field with the most potential for innovation and discovery. I was able to attend the Fungi Academy in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (https://www.facebook.com/Fungiacademy/)
in January 2017 through my GoFundMe support; it was indeed an inimitable opportunity. The skills and knowledge I obtained truly put me a step ahead as a mycologist. I brought all sorts of cultivation techniques, conservational perspectives, bioremediative approaches, health empowerment, and so much more back from the Fungi Academy to share with the Tampa Bay Mycology Society. Although I continue to be active in the mycological happenings in Florida, I am currently working on mycoremediation and other research at Mushroom Mountian under the renouned mycologist, Tradd Cotter.
This opportunity will help our efforts make an even greater impact in the community than ever before. Donating to this cause will not only create the possibility for me to continue my research and outreach, but it will also support all the efforts and projects being conducted through the Mushroom Mountain and Tampa Bay Myco Society. In addition to educating and training amateur mycologists, the Mushroom Mountain does amazing work addressing the dire state of the environment and the severe threat to food security and access to quality life in our world. They offer classes and workshops for both locally and across the country. Cultivating fungi can not only provide nutrients through eating the fungi, but also by enhancing the vitality and nutrient-density of the agricultural plants that form symbiotic relationships with these fungi. Mushroom Mountain also works on bioremediative projects, pursuing solutions to worldwide pollution and ecological imbalance that cannot be left unaddressed any longer.

These funds will go to educational and living expenses that are necessary for my continued education and ability to implement my research and outreach for others. I have already given several introductory workshops throughout Florida and beyond and upon my return to the Sunshine State, I will build upon these with further educational opportunities and community projects benefitting the whole. These funds will go to equipment and supplies expenses for implementation of these cultivation and remediation projects and workshops. (Some of my workshop venues have included Greensong Grove's Samhain Festival, Zen Awakening Festival, Pasco EcoFest, Cosmic Convergence Festival, Sonic Bloom Festival, Moccassin Lake Environmental Education Center, University of South Florida Botanical Gardens, Willow's Herbal Delights Gardens, Florida Permaculture Convergence and more to come!)

I will certainly be immensely grateful for any donations at any time that is possible for the donor, and these funds will be put to use almost immediately upon receiving them. I will post updates on various events and opportunities made possible through this campaign, but I'm always happy to provide even more detail or answer any questions directly. Never hesitate to reach out to me! Speaking on any subjects related to mycology, environmental stewardship, and our role as humans on this planet are my passion. If you're interested in your own personal workshop or just want to chat, let me know!

I was raised with an intrinsic and abundant passion for the natural world and the curiosity of a scientist to dedicate my life to the study of the awing, humbling, and glorious natural phenomena that surround us all the time. Our society is in a state of tumultuous confusion, desperately trying to solve the problems of pollution and poverty. Although we are beginning to come in to a higher state of awareness, we have been focusing for too long on trying to achieve solutions through manmade products and monetary incentives. But all along, Mother Earth and the workings of the universe have always held the solutions right in front of us, if we were only to pay attention to them. The human race is a mind boggling miracle of existence and I reached so much fulfillment and gratification in this life simply through following the way of the earth, the study of ecosystems and organisms and the harmonious balance of our biosphere. I want to bring this peace to all those caught up in a life separated from the natural world. I want to share the empowerment and prosperity that is inevitable if we just use what the earth has given us. I know mycology is the most direct and enlightening route for me to bring this message and reality to the public. Not only is Kingdom Fungi the direct ancestors and most close relatives to Kindgdom Anamalia, making the compounds and processes of fungi extremely medicinal and beneficial to our own biological systems, but Kingdom Fungi holds the role of the crucial decomposers. They allow nutrients to be cycled back throughout the food web and for the continuation of life to occur. They are the chemists and engineers of our biosphere, making fungi groundbreaking for biotechnologies and advances in our societal systems and quality of life (explore the endless possibilities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWQznqpy3Ss&t=7s). Being able to work with these incredible organisms and apply my work in a way that aids humanity and our planet is the utmost purpose of my life, the reason that I walk this earth.
For more explorations on how fungi will save the world, check out Tradd Cotter's work (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlcKBKJ8uro&t=3s) and Peter McCoy's organization and book, Radical Mycology (https://radicalmycology.com/). These two mycologists are some of my idols who I've looked up to for a long time and have inspired me immensely about how to make the greatest impact.

Not only will my gratitude for your support be superflous and my heart and soul joyous, but you will also gain great benefit from supporting this endeavor. Research in the field of mycology will bring great advances to solving environmental problems and providing alternative resources for food, fuel, and a plethora of biotechnologies and the overall longevity and survival of our species and this planet. For anyone who wants to become more involved in the field, I would also be more than happy to set up workshops and classes on a personal or public capacity to teach about how to incorporate mycology into your everyday life. This could include subjects like health and medicinal applications/recipes, cultivation/permaculture/food security/composting and waste management, bioremediation, textile applications (making mushroom dyes and mushroom paper), ecology/local fungi/wild forraging, and so much more! I will act as your personal fungi liaison, answering all questions that I can, providing resources and solutions, and helping these amazing organisms find an opening to enhance everyone's lives.

Organiser

Christian Killebrew Marr
Organiser
Tampa, FL

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