Forget sloths, quetzals and toucans: There’s a new trail through Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystems, and it’s showcasing the country’s precious… mushrooms. Beyond buoying the country’s already-strong ecotourism opportunities, trip organizers are encouraging citizen science and conservation participation in a fun world of fungi.

Most days, Luis Francisco Ledezma ventures into Costa Rica’s forests carrying a handbasket and tiny trowel. At all altitudes, from the country’s highlands to its lowlands, he gently combs the ground with his fingers looking for the supple bodies of mushrooms. Once he finds something interesting, he carefully plunges the shovel’s tip into the dirt and scoops the fragile fungal structure into his palm.

Using a pocket-sized magnifying glass (it’s all quite a cute process), Ledezma zooms in on the mushroom’s features: the cap, gills, stalk, hyphae, mycelium, and any visible spores. This identification is a crucial step in his research, not just for safe consumption, but for the conservation of the fungi kingdom.

Which, if you did not know, is a huge kingdom.