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The Richard P. Korf Memorial
North American Ascomycete Foray

Two phylum-focused mycoblitzes in the Blue Ridge and Great Smokey Mountains

AUGUST 14 - 17, 2023

Held in honor of the late, great discomycetologist, Dr. Richard P. Korf, the Korf Foray is a two-day, three-night, ascomycete-focused, taxonomic retreat, located in the heart of the hyperbiodiverse temperate rainforests of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Highlands, North Carolina.

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Modeled after the meetings of the Pacific Northwest Key Council and the ascomycete field workshops of northern Europe, this event will be the first of its kind in the United States. We invite you to join us in celebrating The Ascomycota, ascomycetology, and the international community of those dedicated to their study for what is sure to be an exciting and memorable event unlike any in the history of the North American continent.

The four core components of the Korf Foray are as follows:

immersive, long-form, multi-site collecting trips to a curated selection of pristine, accessible, fungus-filled habitats.

open-ended lab sessions, with spacious, quiet, well-equipped workstations suitable for collaborative or independent microscopy, photography, computing, culturing, sequencing, or the task of participants’ choosing.

evening programming provided nightly by three guest presenters (names and topics TBD).

friendly and helpful staff, farm-fresh dining, well-stocked refreshments, happy hours, nearby amenities, bottomless coffee, firepits, sunsets, stars, and both on-site and nearby recreation options.

About the Area (synopsis generated from

Highlands and its immediate surroundings are arguably the most biologically significant area in the Appalachian Mountains, located near the crest of the Blue Ridge on a high plateau at an elevation of ~4,000 feet. Nearby habitats include oak-pine and bottomland hardwood forests, mesophytic cove forests, and grass and heath balds and spruce-fir forests on the summits of the higher peaks. The area is renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life and few regions outside the tropics offer such opportunities for analytical and experimental work in ecology, systematics, and evolution. Summers in the Highlands are especially pleasant, with temperatures rarely exceeding 80F.

Equipment and Vouchering:

Participants are encouraged (but not required) to bring their own compound and/or stereo microscopes, with the added option of utilizing an array of laboratory facilities and equipment generously made available to our group by official Korf Foray sponsor, the Highlands Biological Station (HBS) ( Those wishing to voucher specimens at their home institutions are kindly requested to deposit duplicate material with the HBS herbarium, so as to help build a reference collection of ascomycetes of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the benefit of future study by local and regional students and scholars.

Lodging & Meals:

Lodging and farm-to-table dining is provided by The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center (TMRLC) and its very own Many Hands Peace Farm. Alternative lodging is available at a reduced rate at HBS (5.6mi from TMRLC). See for details. Participants preferring to secure their own, separate accommodations (neither TMRLC or HBS) may elect for one of two commuter rate options (with or without meals). See package options below.


A generous donation from the Korf family has enabled the creation of a student scholarship fund. Any prospective foray attendees currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate mycology program are encouraged to apply at with a brief description of their background in ascomycetology, current and anticipated research objectives, and level of need. The number of scholarship recipients and amount of funds awarded per recipient will depend on the number of applicants, their respective degrees of financial hardship, and any further contributions made to the scholarship fund in the months preceding the foray.

Optional Purchase Knob ATBI Ascomycete MycoBlitz:

A secondary collecting trip will take place immediately following the Korf Foray, approximately 1.5hrs north of Highlands at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob, from August 18th through the 20th. Lodging at Purchase Knob is limited to 8-10 persons, available on a first come, first served basis, and is free of charge thanks to a generous contribution from official Korf Foray sponsor, Discover Life in America. Registration is restricted to paid participants (including scholarship recipients) in the preceding Korf Foray. Those interested in registering are required to send an email to Records generated during this secondary event will be incorporated into the database of the Great Smoky Mountains All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory. Participants in excess of the maximum sleeping capacity of Purchase Knob may still take part in the event, but will be required to make separate lodging arrangements. A variety of hotel/motel/AirBnB options exist in nearby Waynesville. Camping on or near the grounds of the station is also acceptable for those so inclined, weather permitting. Unlike the Korf Foray, this event is without any meal service, and will instead take advantage of the station's modest kitchen for an improvised combination of group and individual meal preparation. A grocery budget sufficient to cover most anticipated food expenses for the duration of the event has been generously provided by Discover Life in America.


Program: August 14 - 17, 2023

Registration Deadline: July 14, 2023

Cancellation Deadline: June 1, 2023

Registration Open: January 26, 2023


Package Options:


Base Rate

$125 - Program fee (required for all participants)


Lodging 4 days/3 nights  +/- Meals (pick one)

The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center (TMRLC)

$525 - adult single occupancy w/ meals – *space limited*

$345/person - adult double occupancy w/ meals

$270/person - adult double occupancy w/ meals, bunkhouse rate

Highlands Biological Station (HBS)

$175/person - “The Duplexes” w/out meals

$300/person - “The Duplexes” w/ meals

$145/person - “Howell Cottage” w/out meals

$270/person - “Howell Cottage” w/ meals

$145/person - “Valentine House” w/out meals

$270/person - “Valentine House” w/ meals

Independent Lodging

$150/person - commuter rate w/ meals

$25/person - commuter rate w/out meals


Example Packages (not including merchandise, scholarship fund donation):

Least Expensive Option: $125 program fee + $25 commuter rate w/out meals @ TMRLC = $150

Most Expensive Option: $125 program fee + $525 TMRLC adult single occupancy = $650

Merchandise & Donations

Free - Official Korf Foray Shirt (specify size, limit 1 per registration)
$30 - Mycotaxon 'Bad Taxonomy' Shirt* (specify size)
$10 - Plano Prolatch Tackle Box & Asco Brand Safety Razor Blades
$45 - BelOMO 10x Triplet Loupe/Hand Lens
$10, $25, $50, $100 - Kumi Korf Student Scholarship Fund

*proceeds will go to the journal Mycotaxon

In our registration system you'll find:

"Church Retreats" |  "MountainCamp" | "Other Retreats" | "Youth CONs"


Select "Other Retreats", then select your "Richard P. Korf" package.