£10,000 raised in memory of local ‘green hero’ for the fascinating kingdom of fungi

Friday 15th January 2016

(C) Suzanne Zilka(C) Suzanne Zilka

• The Justin Smith Foundation raised funds to increase awareness about “forgotten fungi kingdom” • £10,000 donated to Avon Wildlife Trust for use in fungi, lichen and botany education.

A generous cheque of £10,000 has been presented to Avon Wildlife Trust from the Justin Smith Foundation. Representatives of the Foundation presented the cheque to Sarah Moore, Avon Wildlife Trust's Director of Fundraising, Membership and Communications, at the Avon Wildlife Trust offices in Bristol.

The money was raised by friends, colleagues and associates, some of whom donated fees and subscriptions from nature walks and talks. Several dedicated family members and friends have also boosted the fund by taking on personal challenges such as the Bristol Triathlon, Bristol Half Marathon and more recently the first Bristol Bath Marathon. The funds will be used to run projects to inspire, inform and educate about the fascinating kingdom of fungi, which is often referred to as the “forgotten kingdom”.

The Foundation was created in memory of Justin Smith who died suddenly in March 2014. He was Bristol City Council's woodland and wildlife officer, and an expert mycologist, botanist, lichenologist and bryophyte specialist widely known for his inspirational training programmes, guided walks, illustrated talks and fungi forays. He was chosen as one of Bristol’s ‘Green Heroes’, with a photo exhibition currently on display at M Shed.

Lucy Wallis Smith, Justin’s widow and Founder of the Foundation, explains: “We want to carry on the work, interests and study that drove Justin in his mycological mission. He joined Avon Wildlife Trust in 1995 with a compelling passion for fungi, plants and their environments which was matched by his love for teaching others about the natural world. It makes sense to team up with Avon Wildlife Trust to achieve this aim.”

If you'd like to support education about the kingdom of fungi you can donate via justgiving.com/JustinSmithFoundation or call Avon Wildlife Trust on 0117 917 7270.

Sarah Moore from Avon Wildlife Trust said: "This very generous donation will make a real difference to educating people about fungi, lichens and lower plants, including a school workshop linked with UK National Fungus Day planned for later this year."