Calendar of Events

    Fall Equinox Nature Hike on Pine Mountain @ Maricopa Plaza parking lot for carpool
    Sep 22 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm


    Sugar Pine cones

    I will lead my 7th annual Fall Equinox Nature Hike in the peaceful Mixed Conifer Forest on the “sky island” known as Pine Mountain (elevation: 7000 feet) at the time of year when the pine nuts are dropping. I promise that first time visitors to this area will be surprised and delighted to find a thick forest of pines, fir and cedar so close to the Ventura coast.

    According to Craig Carey, author of Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara and Ventura, the Reyes Peak Trail along the northern slope of the peak is “quite simply one of the most beautiful stretches in the southern Los Padres.”

    Biogeographers include Pine Mountain in a select group of “sky islands,” defined as isolated mountains surrounded by radically different lowland environments. We can expect to see several high altitude plants and trees like White Fir and Sugar Pine more commonly found in the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains. Weather and marine layer permitting, we will have panoramic views of the Cuyama Valley to the north and the Channel Islands to the south.

    The outing will start at 9:00 a.m. with a carpool caravan of about 35 miles up Highway 33 from the Maricopa Plaza, (1207 Maricopa Highway, Ojai, CA 93023) to the Reyes Peak trailhead. The final 5.5 miles are on a narrow, winding paved road and the very last half-mile is dirt. Trucks or SUV’s are preferred for the last stretch but most passenger cars with high clearance can also make the drive.

    Rondia at the trailhead

    We will start walking into the Sespe Wilderness from the trailhead (where there is a restroom) at about 10:30 a.m. and return to the trailhead at 3:00 p.m. or so, arriving back at the Maricopa Plaza by 4:00 p.m. This hike will follow a well-used trail through Mixed Conifer Forest habitat. We’ll stop often to identify and discuss native trees, plants, birds, and wildlife. Midway, we will take 30-45 minutes to relax and enjoy our sack lunches and snacks in the peace and quiet of the forest.

    Lunch in the pine forest. Photo by Chris Kudelka.

    This intermediate level hike is suitable for moderately experienced hikers or physically fit beginners. There will be some elevation gain and loss skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, sometimes traversing steep hillsides on a narrow trail. The total hiking distance will be a little over 3 miles.

    The hike is another in a series of backcountry walks and hikes under an Operating Permit from the Ojai Ranger District Office of the U.S. Forest Service designed for guides who provide recreational and interpretive services to the public.

    There is no prepayment required, just your promise to notify me in a timely fashion if your plans change. You will receive a confirmation email several days before with all necessary info.

    The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62 and older, and $15 for students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can go free, one per adult, by prior arrangement. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Lunch is not provided. No dogs or smoking, please.

    Carpool: If possible, please be prepared to either take a few passengers or share in the gas cost as a passenger. There is no obligation to participate in the carpool but parking is limited at the trailhead and we like to cut down on our group’s gas consumption and exhaust emissions when we can.


    View north of the Cuyama Valley from Pine Mountain. Photo: Lanny Kaufer
    Fall Medicinal Plant Workshop with James Adams & Enrique Villaseñor @ Downtown parking lot
    Sep 28 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm


    Jim Adams harvesting Mugwort. Photo: Lisa Fimiani

    Please join me and special guests Professor James Adams of USC School of Pharmacy and plant educator Enrique Villaseñor for our annual Fall Medicinal Plant Workshop on Saturday, September 28, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 3 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, Enrique and I will identify and discuss the medicinal uses of a wide variety of native 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.

    Dr. Adams at a previous workshop with Buckwheat Apple Cake made with wild California Buckwheat seed.

    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 3:00 p.m. will focus on preparing seasonal  edible and medicinal products from wild foraged plant material. Products to be prepared onsite include:

    • Datura hand soak
    • Black Sage foot soak
    • California Buckwheat Apple Cake
    • Yerba Santa steam inhalation
    • Chamise balm
    • Prickly Pears (“Tunas”)

    At 3:00 p.m. Dr. Adams will sign copies of his books.

    If you’d like to stay overnight, here is a guide to camping and lodging options.

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

    ABOUT JAMES ADAMS, PH.D: 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.”

    Dr. Adams 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.

    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.

    Dr. Adams signing Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West at Swimmer Medicinal Garden in Playa Vista. Photo: Lisa Fimiani

    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 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 Fall Medicinal Plant Workshop is $75, including all materials for preparing plant medicines. After the workshop, participants will receive a follow-up email including plant lists and recipes.

    To pre-register, first use the REGISTER button below. Then, to complete registration and secure your space with a payment, please use the PayPal button. Registrants will be emailed a receipt from PayPal and also receive a confirmation email from with all necessary information including directions, what to bring, etc.

    Please contact if you prefer to mail in a check.



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    “Native Planting for Fall” Slideshow Talk @ Wachter's Hay & Grain
    Oct 12 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
    "Native Planting for Fall" Slideshow Talk @ Wachter's Hay & Grain | Ojai | California | United States

    Join me for an entertaining 1-hour slideshow talk about edible and medicinal native plants suitable for Ojai yards and gardens. 15-30 minute Q&A afterwards. Wachter’s will have the plants available for sale after the talk.

    Full Moon Sunset Herb Walk @ Ojai Park & Ride for carpool to trailhead
    Oct 13 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm


    July Full Moon Sunset Herb Walk. Photo: Kristin Bates

    On Sunday evening, October 13, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., I’ll lead another Herb Walk up to a vista point above the Ojai Valley where we can watch the simultaneous sunset and moonrise. The sun will set at 6:27 p.m. and the full moon will rise at 6:47 p.m., giving us a nice window of time to take it all in. Following the walk is an optional “after-party” at Azu Restaurant and Ojai Valley Brewery for delicious food and native plant infused beers and non-alcoholic beverages

    Chumash elder Patrick Tumamait

    In honor of this event occurring on the eve of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Monday, October 14), I have invited a special guest, Chumash elder Patrick Tumamait, to join us and begin the walk with the Ojai Chumash Welcoming Song passed on to him by his father Vincent Tumamait. I always start my walks and hikes in Chumash territory with that song which I learned from his sister Julie Tumamait-Stenslie so it will be an honor to have Pat lead the song for us. Also, I will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the walk to the Barbareño/Ventureño Band of Mission Indians.

    We’ll meet at the Park-and-Ride lot downtown between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. and carpool to the trailhead to minimize the crowded parking situation there. From there we’ll gradually walk about 1 mile to the vista point, stopping along the way to meet some valuable native plants including:

    • Coastal Sagebrush
    • Elderberry
    • Hollyleaf Cherry
    • Purple Sage and
    • Toyon
    Moonrise on August 14, 2019. Photo: Rochelle Castillo

    After witnessing the setting of the sun and rising of the moon, we’ll walk back to the trailhead by remaining daylight, moonlight, and flashlight, returning to the Park-and-Ride by 8:00 p.m. On our August walk we saw a tarantula, a bat, an owl, and heard the distinctive songs of at least two species of crickets on our moonlit return to the trailhead.

    Lanny discussing the harvesting and preparation of Oatstraw tea. Photo: Jeanne Black, April 2019

    At 8 p.m. you’re invited to join me and Rondia across the street from the Park-and-Ride lot for beverages, appetizers or dinner at the combined Azu Restaurant & Ojai Valley Brewery where brewmaster Jeremy Haffner has created some truly delicious lager-style craft beers and ales using some of the same local plants found earlier on the trail. His brews change with the seasons and reflect the plants of Ojai. Three staples you’re likely to find on his list any time of year are Sugar Bush IPA, brewed with wild local Ojai “Sugar Bush” Sumac; White Pixie Ale, brewed with Pixie tangerine zests and orchard blossoms; and an amazing Chaparral Ale flavored with White and Black Sage and local Sagebrush instead of the usual Hops.  Jeremy describes it as “built to mimic the scent on Shelf Road.” That’s where we’ll be walking! Non-alcoholic offerings also change with the seasons and may include an Elderflower-Blackberry Spritzer.

    Register now by clicking below or by calling 805-646-6281. You also can return to this website any time and click on the event listing itself in the right sidebar on the homepage or click on the “Register for an Event” link under ABOUT in the top menu.

    The cost is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 62-and older, and $10 for students 13-17. Kids 5-112 can come along free, one per adult, by prior arrangement. There is no pre-payment required for this walk, just your promise to let me know if your plans change. If it fills up, priority will be given to those who registered in advance.  Registrants will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info a few days prior and a follow-up email afterwards with a list of all plants and wildlife seen. No dogs or smoking, please.



    “All About California Native Plants” Free Seminar @ Green Thumb Nursery
    Oct 19 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
    "All About California Native Plants" Free Seminar @ Green Thumb Nursery | Ventura | California | United States

    Join me at Green Thumb Nursery on October 19, the right time of year to plant California natives. They have a nice selection. We will  discuss the characteristics and uses of a number of them.

    Acorn Workshop with Author-Forager Christopher Nyerges @ Euterpe Farms and Ventura River Preserve
    Nov 2 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm


    I’m pleased to welcome back special guest author-forager-survivalist Christopher Nyerges for another hands-on Ojai field workshop on Saturday, November 2, this time focused on acorns, the primary subsistence food of the local native Chumash and most California tribes. The workshop will begin with a morning plant walk on the Ventura River Preserve followed by an afternoon workshop at Euterpe Farms.

    You’ll learn about the historical and cultural value of acorns in the west coast societies. Participants will learn by doing. You will go through the entire process of turning the raw acorn into a delicious food. You’ll shell acorns and learn how to recognize a good one vs. one you will discard. You will grind, sift, leach, test, leach some more, and blend with a few other ingredients to make acorn food products. Bring your bowl.

    Because Thanksgiving is close, we’ll also prepare a few other wild food dishes in addition to our acorn processing and cooking. There will be minimal walking but still bring your field notebook.

    Christopher harvesting Chickweed for a wild salad

    Christopher Nyerges is an author, forager, survivalist and ethnobotanist with a lifelong interest in how native peoples lived off the land. He has been teaching classes and leading field trips since 1974 to over 40,000 students. Nyerges has authored nearly two dozen books, including Guide to Wild Foods, Foraging California, Nuts and Berries of California, How to Survive Anywhere, Extreme Simplicity, and many others.  He most recently was the editor of American Survival Guide magazine, and served as editor of Wilderness Way magazine for 7 years. He has written several thousand newspaper and magazine articles in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Pasadena Star News, Pasadena Weekly, Whole Life Times, Countryside, Mother Earth News, Acres USA, American  Survival Guide, and others.

    Christopher igniting a fire he started with a hand drill in Ojai, May 2019.

    Nyerges has appeared on the late Huell Howser’s public television series, KCET’s “Life and Times,” and National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers.” For two years, Nyerges appeared on Fox TV’s “X Show,” where he demonstrated survival skills on the streets of Los Angeles. He currently serves as a consultant to the “Naked and Afraid” show on Discovery.  Nyerges’s web site is

    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.

    Please click on the REGISTER button below to sign up before using the PayPal link to secure a space. The $75 fee includes all materials. Registrants will be emailed a receipt from PayPal immediately and receive another email as the event gets closer from with all necessary information including directions, what to bring, etc. Contact if you prefer to mail in a check.


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    Ojai Herbal Symposium @ Krotona Hall
    Nov 16 @ 9:00 am – Nov 17 @ 5:00 pm

    The 2019 Ojai Herbal Symposium on “The Wisdom of the Body” is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, November 16-17, at Krotona Hall in Ojai. For all info and registration, visit:

    Keynote Addresses:

    • David Crow, LAc — Floracopeia
      “Prana and Qi: Homeostasis and the Wisdom of the Body in Classical Asian Medicine
    • Zhena Muzyka —; Founder, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
      “Marketing Magic: 7 Secrets to Building a Profitable Purpose-Based Business as a Healer”

    Presenters (in alphabetical order):

    • James Adams, PhD — USC School of Pharmacy
    • Amanda McQuade Crawford, MFT, Dip. Phyto., RH (AHG), MCPP
    • David Crow, LAc — Floracopeia
    • Thom Dale, Tonic Herbalist, Qigong Trainer
    • Dr. Jake F. Felice, ND, LMP —
    • Nathan Kaehler, DACM, LAc, Tibetan Amchi, MA Psychology — Ojai Herbs and Acupuncture
    • Jess Starwood, Clinical Herbalist — Sunraven Apothecary
    • Jena Sussex, MD — Department of Internal Medicine + Pediatrics, LAC + USC Medical Center
    • Ron Teeguarden, Master Herbalist — Co-Founder, Dragon Herbs
    • Carol Wade, RH (AHG) — Ojai School of Herbal Studies, Earth Island Medicinal Herb Garden


    David Crow, LAc, keynote speaker at the upcoming 2019 Ojai Herbal Symposium

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