In consideration of the permission granted to me by Western Area NC Mushrooms (an informal North Carolina organization also sometimes referred to in this document as “WAM!”) to connect to its website and/or participate in any activity or event sponsored by WAM!, I freely affirm and acknowledge all of the following:
- The consumption of wild fungi is widely recognized as an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious illness, permanent disability, or death.
- Even mushrooms that are well known to be non-toxic for the great majority of people can potentially cause allergic reactions and other idiosyncratic symptoms in certain susceptible individuals. These symptoms may be caused or worsened by undercooking, overindulgence, or drinking alcohol. I understand that every person should cautiously test their own tolerance for unfamiliar species of wild mushrooms.
- Collecting wild mushrooms commonly involves strenuous physical exertion in ruggedwilderness locations, and entails many known and unknown risks to human health and life. By way of example only, and not intended as limitation, these risks include slips and falls; weather-related hazards such as heat stroke, hypothermia, exposure, and lightning strike; infectious diseases; rockfall or rockslide; treefall; allergic reactions; drowning; penetrating or lacerating injuries from tools, branches, or other features of the local flora and terrain; and insect bites and stings, snakebites, and other wild animal attacks.
- These serious injuries or illnesses may occur in areas remote from medical care, and the availability of emergency medical services or emergency transportation to medical facilities cannot be assured.
WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND INDEMNIFICATION
I attest that I am an adult of sound mind. Acting for myself, for any minor child and/or ward of mine, and for my heirs, personal representatives, executors, assigns, and guardian ad litem, I recognize these and all other known and unknown dangers, and voluntarily assume these and all other known and unknown risks in connection with participation in any foray, tour, fair, tasting, class, dinner, or any and all other activities or events sponsored by WAM! Such activities and events are specifically understood to include reading WAM!’s website and other publications, as well as consulting WAM!’s organizer, facilitator, employees, volunteers, members, or other agents, and using the information obtained thereby to assist in mushroom identification and preparation for consumption.
I agree not to make a claim against, sue, or attach the property of WAM! and/or its organizer, facilitator, employees, volunteers, members, and other agents for injury or damage resulting from their negligence (except gross negligence) or other acts or omissions, howsoever caused, arising from my participation in or presence at such activity or event, including while traveling to and from the event site.
I further agree to indemnify and defend and hold harmless WAM! and/or its organizer, facilitator, employees, volunteers, members, and other agents from any and all claims and liabilities for injury to or death of myself, my child, or my ward, and for damage to or loss or destruction of any property belonging to me, my child, or my ward, arising from my/our participation in or presence at the activity, including during travel to or from any WAM! event site, whether or not arising from the negligence (except gross negligence) or other acts or omissions of WAM! or its agents.
I further agree that no warranty or representation of any kind whatsoever has been given regarding the condition of any event or activity site, or any facilities or equipment thereon, or any means of transportation to and from the site.
I agree that WAM!, its organizer, employees, volunteers, members, and other agents shall not be held liable for any loss, damage, or destruction of property caused by my own actions.
I agree that all the terms of this release and indemnification shall extend to and protect the owner and/or lessee of any real property, public or private, that is used to host a WAM! event or activity. I further agree that all terms of this release and indemnification shall also extend to and protect the North American Mycological Association, as well as any visiting mycologist, chef, lecturer, instructor, guide, or other outside expert that may be sponsored, invited, recognized, engaged, or employed by WAM! during a WAM! event or activity.
I acknowledge that, unless otherwise specified, the material posted in the discussion forums and blogs on this website is the personal opinion of the individual making each post or comment, rather than the official position of WAM! or its organizer, facilitator, employees, website editor, or any other individual or organization.
If I am registering a family member or other guest for a WAM! event or activity, I hereby attest that I have notified them of this waiver, and received their agreement to all of its terms; and I agree to indemnify and hold harmless WAM! and its organizer, facilitator, employees, volunteers, members, and other agents for any liability proceeding from my failure to make such notification or receive such agreement.
I certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, I am in good health and able to tolerate the ingestion of edible wild mushrooms and the physical exertions required to collect them. I am not aware of any physical, psychological, or medical condition that poses unreasonable danger to me or other participants in any WAM! activity or event. If I require any prescribed medication, I agree to carry sufficient supplies of such medication, in its original container, with me throughout my participation in such activity or event.
In case of illness or accident while I am participating in any WAM! event, when I am unable to communicate otherwise, permission is granted for emergency transport to be requested and emergency treatment to be administered. It is further understood and agreed that I will assume full responsibility for any such action, including payment of all costs incurred on my behalf.
SPECIMEN IDENTIFICATION AND CULINARY CONSUMPTION
I agree that the material on WAM!’s website and in other WAM! publications is presented for general informational and educational purposes only, and under no circumstances is it to be considered a substitute for identification of an actual biological specimen by a person qualified to make that judgment.
I understand that WAM! does not directly provide edible mushrooms for consumption at its events, unless via a professional chef or licensed restaurant that acquires fungi and prepares meals in accordance with the regulations of the North Carolina State Health Department. I understand that I may share or exchange my own mushrooms with other WAM! members, or request a chef, cook, or instructor at a WAM!-sponsored event to prepare my own mushrooms if he or she is willing; but I agree that any such sharing, trading, preparation and/or consumption of personally-provided mushrooms at WAM! events is done at the sole risk of myself and any other individual members involved in the exchange, and no liability for adverse outcomes of these activities shall attach to WAM!, nor to any chef, cook, instructor, or other expert that may be employed, sponsored, engaged, invited, or recognized by WAM!, nor to any restaurant or other facility where WAM! may hold its events, nor to the North American Mycological Association,nor to any other co-sponsor, host organization, or partner organization affiliated with the event.
Furthermore, I agree that, before I engage in any such sharing or trading of edible mushrooms at a WAM!event and/or with other WAM! members, I will make myself aware of the most current common species of edible mushrooms as recognized by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, (“NC DHHS”) and the risks associated with consuming these and other species of mushrooms. I understand that the species currently identified by NC DHHS are recommendations, rather than universally enforced rules, and I acknowledge that I alone am ultimately responsible for safe consumption of wild mushrooms. I affirm that if I am not entirely confident of the identification and edibility of a particular fungal specimen, I will seek knowledgeable assistance before sharing it with any other member or consuming it myself.
I agree that if I make arrangements to ride-share or foray with other members of WAM!, all of the inherent and obvious risks of traveling with strangers to remote and isolated areas are mine alone. I understand that membership in WAM! is open to the general public, and WAM! does not perform any advance checking of the criminal history, background, or moral character of any of its members. I agree that no liability shall attach to WAM! or its organizer, facilitator, employees, volunteers, members, and other agents for torts or criminal acts committed by individual members while at WAM! events or traveling to or from them.
I agree not to use WAM!’s website or WAM! events or activities for the commercial harvesting, purchase, or sale of wild edible mushrooms, except that members with a disability or other bona fide hardship preventing them from participating in forays may request to buy mushrooms from other members in quantities appropriate to personal use.
I agree not to post anything on WAM!’s website, nor to engage in speech or conduct at any WAM! activity or event, that is (in the sole judgment of WAM!’s organizer and facilitator) abusive, harassing, threatening, racist, sexist, obscene, illegal, flagrantly or persistently off-topic or disruptive, or offering goods or services for sale that are unrelated to WAM!’spurposes.
If I bring a pet to a foray or other event where pets are permitted, I agree to keep it leashed or otherwise under reliable, continuous control. I accept all liability, and indemnify and defend and hold harmless WAM! and its organizer, facilitator, employees, volunteers, members, and other agents, for any injuries caused by my pet. I understand that aggressive, uncontrollable, or otherwise unsuitable pets may not be permitted to take part in WAM! events, at the sole discretion of the foray captain, event host, or other WAM!official(s) in charge of the event.
If I bring a firearm or other weapon to a WAM! event or activity, I agree to comply with all local laws and regulations pertaining to its possession and use, and to keep it always securely holstered on my person in a safe condition, if allowed by local laws, or secured in a vehicle or safe under lock and key, unless its use is unavoidably required for emergency signaling or to protect human life or health. I accept all liability, and indemnify and defend and hold harmless WAM! andits organizer, facilitator, employees, volunteers, members, and other agents for any injuries or torts resulting from my possession or use of a firearm or other weapon.
SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION
I agree that repeated or egregious violations of these terms may result in temporary suspension or permanent loss of my WAM! membership, as well as loss of posting privileges on WAM!’swebsite or related online publications such as social media, and could result in referral to law enforcement authorities, if warranted.
ELECTRONIC AGREEMENT EQUIVALENT TO SIGNED WRITTEN AGREEMENT
I agree that my electronic acknowledgement of the terms of this document shall be considered equivalent in law to physically signing a printed copy of this document. I further agree that any continued on-line connection to WAM!’s website, after I have been notified that this document is a mandatory contract governing the terms of usage for my connection to this site, shall be considered equivalent in law to affirmatively taking action to electronically or physically sign this document. I further agree that, if for any reason I cannot electronically sign and agree to the terms of this document on behalf of myself or my minor child or ward prior to taking part in a WAM! event, I must print and sign a paper copy of this document and deliver it to the event organizer or captain before I/we will be allowed to participate.
The Boston Mycologic Society has published an excellent guide to Eating Mushrooms Safely. You should read and understand the information in this guide before attempting to eat wild mushrooms.
The Puget Sound Mycological Society also has some worthwhile advice for mushroom eaters.
Dr. Chester Leathers has a method of edibility testing that he recommends for those who wish to try a species of mushroom that is new to them but which they believe to be edible and safe.
Members should read this publication from NC DHHS before eating or sharing mushrooms: https://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/docs/position/WildForagedMushroomPositionStatement-FINAL-May12-2017.pdf