Pacolet Area Concervancy Offers Free Educational Programming

Pacolet Area Concervancy (PAC), a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting and conserving natural resources in the Foothills of North Carolina and the Upstate of South Carolina, offers a free education program featuring monthly talks by scientists, specialists, historians and researchers in ecology, permaculture and conservation.

This month, PAC has invited mycologist and owner of Mushroom Mountain, Tradd Cotter, to present his talk, Amazing Fungi – The Dark Matter that Bounds all Life. The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, May 27, at 10:30 a.m.

PAC’s free education program started in 2011 as a way to get people out to the preserve to learn about and appreciate the natural beauty of North and South Carolina. “I began reaching out to professionals and experts in various fields of study,” says Pam Torlina, PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection. “In January 2012, naturalist and story teller Doug Elliott was the first to present for us,” she says. “He drew a crowd of about 80 people. The programs have been very successful and continue to grow in popularity.”

Tradd Cotter, author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, owns a world-class laboratory and research facility in Easley, South Carolina. The facility occupies more than 50,000 square feet available for mushroom cultivation, mycoremediation and medicinal research projects. Among the many projects undertaken in his facility, Cotter studies the possibilities of developing water filtration systems and pesticides using mushrooms. He researches the medicinal potential of mushrooms and the myriad ways that fungi can be used to improve and harmonize the relationship between people and the planet.

“Tradd’s expertise in the study of mycology is a great fit for PAC because we want people to connect with the land and discover all of the wondrous things that we share our ecosystem with,” says Torlina. “Many people that are outside, whether in their backyards or in the forest, are often aware of mushrooms growing beneath their feet, and many are interested in learning more about them. Tradd can offer keys in identifying species growing in our region and explain their significance as an integral part of life.”


The Walnut Creek Preserve is located at 179 Conservatory Lane, Mill Spring, North Carolina. For more information about PAC visit For information about Tradd Cotter and Mushroom Mountain visit


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