Native Plant Walk for OVLC’s “All About Ojai” series @ Ventura River Preserve, Oso Trailhead
Jan 21 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

With the scenic Topa Topa Mountains in the background, Lanny (up ahead in dark blue shirt) leads a group of OVLC participants on the Ventura River Preserve in February, 2016.

Please join me for a Native Plant Walk on the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC)’s Ventura River Preserve. This is an OVLC event, part of their ongoing “All About Ojai” Environmental Learning Series. The walk is Part 2 of a weekend event featuring Chumash elder Julie Tumamait-Stenslie.

Part 1: Julie Tumamait

Saturday, January 20   10:00 a.m. – 12:oo p.m.
OVLC Office
370 W. Baldwin Road, Bldg. A4

Part 2: Lanny Kaufer

Sunday, January 21    9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Oso Trailhead, Ventura River Preserve

Lanny (right) discussing Yerba Santa on the Ventura River Preserve. Photo: Harold Wissell

We will identify native and non-native plants, both beneficial and poisonous, focusing on those discussed by Julie on Saturday. I will demonstrate uses and discuss sustainable harvesting of wild plants for foragers, herbalists, survivalists and others, including information learned firsthand from Juanita Centeno, the late Chumash plant expert with whom I studied and collaborated. NOTE: Harvesting is not permitted on the Preserve except for small quantities by designated guides for educational purposes.

Registration for the walk is through the OVLC office. Once the event appears on their website, the REGISTER link below will take you directly there.  In the meantime, please contact Marti Reid, OVLC Office Manager at 805-649-6852 or to sign up. Space is limited. The walk is free for OVLC members and $15 for the general public.


Winter Wellness Workshop with Jess Starwood @ Meet at AT&T Parking Lot
Feb 3 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

We are pleased to present Jess Starwood, clinical herbalist and forager of wild medicine, in her first Ojai workshop. Jess is the owner of SunRaven Apothecary in Moorpark, California where she can be found brewing up herbal elixirs, teas and tonics or leading group hikes, workshops and nature adventures. With her lifelong passion for nature and plants, Jess has studied natural health and herbal medicine for over 10 years and has a Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon. We are thrilled to have her join us in Ojai.

In this workshop, you will learn how to holistically support your immune system using local, native herbs and medicinal mushrooms along with simple lifestyle adjustments that promote year-long well-being. We will also be discussing how to naturally treat cold and flu symptoms for kids and adults in the best way to support the body’s natural healing processes. In the kitchen, you will learn how to make your own herbal remedies using local plants  along with other healing herbs and natural ingredients.

We will meet in the morning for an Herb Walk led by Jess and me at two nearby native plant gardens followed by an afternoon session in a downtown kitchen and workshop space where participants will learn the art and science of preparing home remedies and preventative potions for the winter months.  Please note: This workshop will go on RAIN OR SHINE with substitution of indoor activities in case of heavy downpour in the morning and/or a 100% chance of heavy rain that morning. More details will be provided upon registration. Please email questions to No dogs or smoking, please.

Please use the PayPal link below to secure a space. The $60 fee includes all materials. Registrants will be emailed a receipt from PayPal and receive another email from with all necessary information including directions, what to bring, etc. Contact if you prefer to mail in a check.



Number of participants

Spring Medicinal Plant Workshop in Ojai with Professor James Adams, PhD @ Meet at AT&T Parking Lot
Apr 28 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Photo of Professor Adams holding Purple Sage branch provided by USC School of Pharmacy.

Please join me and special guest Professor James Adams of USC School of Pharmacy for a Spring Medicinal Plant Workshop on Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Dr. Adams has been a frequent and popular contributor to my events for the past six years. This workshop is based on his ground-breaking pharmacological studies on local native plants. All his workshops here have filled up so, as the saying goes, he’s “back by popular demand.”

The plant identification session will take place on the pathways at the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s Cluff Vista Park and the Ojai Valley Museum’s Chumash Garden, two native plant gardens in downtown Ojai, where Dr. Adams will identify and discuss the medicinal uses of a wide variety of plants. The afternoon hands-on preparation session will be held at a community kitchen nearby. After the workshop, participants will receive a complete list of all plants that are identified and/or utilized as well as recipes and other info.

Lanny and Jim on OVLC’s Ventura River Preserve. Photo: Harold Wissell

The morning outing from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. will be a slow-paced walk around the two gardens. They are both wheelchair-accessible although there is a hill entering Cluff Vista Park. The morning session will involve stopping for discussion for periods of time. A few benches are scattered about. A lightweight campstool could be useful as well. After a one-hour lunch break, the afternoon kitchen session from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. will focus on preparing seasonal plants for edible and medicinal uses. Dr. Adams will demonstrate how to prepare edible and medicinal products from seasonal native plant material such as California Sagebrush, Sacred Datura, and Black Sage. After the workshop, participants will receive a complete list of all plants that are identified and/or utilized as well as recipes and other info.

A prepared lunch option will be available. Info on that and a short list of cafes will be shared in a confirmation email sent to those registered.  If you’d like to stay overnight, here is a guide to some camping and lodging options.

Photo: Christopher Nyerges

Dr. Adams brings to Ojai a wealth of scientific knowledge and field experience as well as a singular perspective on herbal medicine. As he tells it, “My family came to Virginia in 1635 and has always survived by using American Indian healing. On the frontier, there were no doctors. American Indian healing was better than European medicine anyway. I continue this tradition.”

He is the co-author — with the late Chumash healer Cecilia Garcia — of the groundbreaking book, Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West: Cultural and Scientific Basis for Their UseThe book can be purchased beforehand at that link and will also be available for purchase and signing at the event.

Page 14 of Fall issue of Results magazine published by USC School Pharmacy.

As an Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the prestigious University of Southern California, Dr. Adams has been teaching pharmacy students, medical students, doctors and other healthcare professionals for over 25 years while researching the natural pharmaceutical compounds in native plants. He has over 200 publications. He was recently featured in a beautifully illustrated cover story in the School of Pharmacy’s magazine, Results. Here is a link to an online edition of the magazine. Advance to page 14 for the article “The Healing Power of Plants” as seen here on the right side of this page. You may have to do a quick, free signup for the online viewing service.

Running parallel with his academic career, Dr. Adams has worked with the Chumash people since 1998 and studied Chumash healing with Cecilia Garcia for almost 15 years. In addition to their book, they wrote 30 journal articles together. Jim is now the carrier of the healing knowledge passed to him by his teacher. Dr. Adams will have copies of all his several books with him for purchase and signing.“Humans have used plant medicines ever since humans came into existence, about 200,000 years ago,” Dr. Adams explains in Healing with Medicinal Plants. “That means that our ancestors experienced an intense natural selection. Those who responded to plant medicines survived and passed their genes on. We are the products of this natural selection. Our bodies are designed to respond to plant medicines.”

Please note: This workshop will go on RAIN OR SHINE with the exception of a heavy downpour in the morning and/or a 100% chance of heavy rain that day. No dogs or smoking, please.

The cost for the Spring Medicinal Plant Workshop is $75, including all materials for preparing plant medicines. To pre-register, please email

To secure your space with a payment, please use thePayPal button below. Registrants will be emailed a receipt from PayPal and receive another email from with all necessary information including directions, what to bring, etc.

Please contact if you prefer to mail in a check.

Number of participants