Calendar of Events

    May
    25
    Sat
    2019
    Herb Walk at Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve @ Meet for carpool to Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve
    May 25 @ 8:30 am – 1:00 pm

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    April 8, 2017 Herb Walk at Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve. Photo: Cheryl Cooper

    PLEASE NOTE: This event is full. To be added to the waiting list, please click on the REGISTER link at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

    Due to the devastating Thomas Fire of December 2017 that surrounded but did not destroy the garden, we were not able to visit this bedazzling private property last year. Now that Mother Nature has had two winters’ worth of rain with which to recover, we’re going back! I have been offered the opportunity once again to lead a private tour of the Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve, operated by the Conservation Endowment Fund (CEF) in the mountains above Lake Casitas west of Ojai.

    This is a rare and special place with no public trails connecting it to the outside world. The land includes plants and features beyond what we usually encounter on my outings, including a renowned Mediterranean-climate botanic garden. A docent will be present to share some of the rare exotic plants found in the Botanic Garden after we first take a walk among the native plants on the Nature Preserve.

    Taft Gardens on April 8, 2017. Photo: Godfred Tong

    We will meet at Maricopa Plaza in Ojai between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. for a carpool to reduce the number of cars on the private road to the Garden. The travel time to the trailhead will be 20-30 minutes. Beginning at 9 a.m., total walking distance will be approximately 1 mile.

    Participants are invited to stay and enjoy their sack lunch in a beautiful setting after the tour. We will plan to have some cars leave at 12:30 p.m. to arrive back at Maricopa Plaza by 1 p.m. for those not staying for lunch.

    View of Lake Casitas from the Nature Preserve on March 18, 2019. Photo: Lanny Kaufer

    The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-up, and $10 for students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can attend free, one per adult, pending request and approval. An additional $10 suggested donation per person is requested by CEF. There is a donation box at the end of the tour where cash or checks can be deposited. CEF survives on donations to support the operations and upkeep of the garden and open space.

    Please click on the REGISTER link below to be added to the waiting list. 

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    May
    27
    Mon
    2019
    Memorial Day Nature Hike in Matilija Canyon @ Maricopa Plaza parking lot for carpool
    May 27 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

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    With the weekend workers in mind, on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, we’ll walk 2 miles into Matilija Campground in the heart of the Matilija Wilderness, one of my favorite locations in the Los Padres National Forest. The views of the surrounding mountains are stunning and there is a great diversity of riparian and chaparral plant life to identify, sample and discuss. The chaparral community has made a striking comeback since the December 2017 fire, and bears witness to nature’s resilience.

    Swallowtail on Yerba Santa
    Swallowtail on Yerba Santa

    As usual, we’ll stop along the way to discuss and demonstrate the many uses of native plants and explore their relationships with birds, insects, and other organisms in their environment. The fire ecology of the chaparral will be another topic of exploration. Once at the campground, we’ll practice cracking open and eating sweet Southern California Black Walnuts, one of the foods that foragers covet.

    Matilija Campground. Photo: Rich Kot
    Matilija Campground. Photo: Rich Kot

    This hike is one in a series of backcountry hikes under my Special Use Permit from the Los Padres National Forest for guides offering interpretive services to the public. It is an easy-to-moderate hike on a well-used trail with little to no elevation gain, suitable for anyone physically fit enough to walk a total of 4 miles and stand for periods of time. There will be three  creek crossings that involve some boulder-hopping or wading. A walking stick or trekking poles make this quite easy.

    The day will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a carpool to the trailhead from the Maricopa Plaza, 1207 Maricopa Highway, Ojai, CA 93023. There is no obligation to participate in the carpool but there is very limited parking at the trailhead and I am always interested in cutting down on my group’s exhaust emissions as much as possible. Participants who wish to participate in the carpool should be prepared to either take a few passengers or share in the gas cost.

    We will start walking from the trailhead at 9:30, walk about 2 miles to the campground for a lunch stop, and return to the trailhead at approximately 2:30. That should put us back at the Maricopa Plaza by about 3:00 p.m.

    RAIN: Light rain will not cancel the hike but heavy rain will. Status will be updated for those registered as the day gets closer.

    RaindropsMatCreek
    Raindrops in the Upper North Fork of Matilija Creek

    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. After the hike you will receive an email with a complete list of all the plants and wildlife identified, including common and scientific names.

    The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62 and older, and $15 for full-time students 13-18. 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. No dogs or smoking, please.

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    Jun
    15
    Sat
    2019
    Nature Hike to Potrero John Camp @ Maricopa Plaza for carpool to trailhead
    Jun 15 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
    Lanny describing the ecology of Potrero John Creek to 2017 hikers. Photo: Enrique Villaseñor

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    Join me and a friendly group of like-minded lovers of the outdoors for a Nature Hike to Potrero John Camp, deep in the Sespe Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest, on Saturday, June 15.

    The hike will take place on Potrero John Creek, 20 miles north of Ojai. We will cover 1.7 miles each way on a mostly level trail with some elevation gain through chaparral and riparian settings, beginning at 3700 feet. Our destination is a (bring-your-own) lunch stop in the shade of a large oak at Potrero John Camp.

    Hikers traversing scree on the way into the canyon. Photo: Enrique Villaseñor

    The focus will be on identifying both useful and poisonous wild plants and learning about the many ways that they are used by the indigenous Chumash people, herbalists, campers and gardeners for food, medicine, wildcrafting, survival, landscaping and more. The canyon is home to Mariposa Lilies, Incense-Cedar, Bigcone Douglas-Fir, Giant Stinging Nettle, Yerba Santa, Matilija Poppy, Wild Rose, and many more native plants.

    We also will look for birds, butterflies and other wildlife and discuss the ecology of the southern Los Padres National Forest, traditional and modern methods of sustainable foraging, resource conservation, and other topics generated by the participants’ interests.

    Butterfly Mariposa Lily along Potrero John Creek. Photo: Melinda Angle
    Lanny teaching on the trail to Potrero John Camp. Photo: Rondia Kaufer

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This hike is presented under a Special Use 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.

    The day will begin with a carpool from the Maricopa Plaza parking lot in Ojai at 9:00 am and return there by 4 pm. 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, pending request and approval. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Toddlers must be in a carrier. No dogs or smoking, please.

    Register at the link below or by calling 805-646-6281. You will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info. No pre-payment is required, just your promise to let me know as soon as possible if your plans have to change.

    Incense-Cedar

    PLEASE NOTE: Light rain will not cancel. Heavy rain or thunderstorms will. Once you register you will receive weather updates.

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    Jun
    23
    Sun
    2019
    Summer Solstice Nature Hike on Pine Mountain @ Maricopa Plaza for carpool
    Jun 23 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
    P1000450.JPG
    Rondia at the trailhead

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    Celebrate the Summer Solstice with a Nature Hike on Pine Mountain. We’ll visit some of the most spectacular scenery and habitat that Ventura County has to offer just when many late spring wildflowers are blooming up there at an elevation of 7000 feet.  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.”

    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.

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    Lanny examines the needles of a White Fir sapling on the Reyes Peak Trail.

    We will start walking into the Sespe Wilderness from the trailhead (where there is a restroom) at about 10:30 a.m., stop for lunch (not provided) in the forest, and return to the trailhead at 3:00 p.m., arriving back at the Maricopa Plaza by 4:00 p.m. We will hike on a well-used trail through Yellow Pine Forest habitat, stopping often to identify and discuss native plants, birds and wildlife. There will be some elevation gain and loss skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, sometimes traversing hillsides on a narrow trail. The total hiking distance will be about 3 miles.

    This intermediate level hike is suitable for moderately experienced hikers or physically fit beginners. Weather and marine layer permitting, we will have panoramic views of the Cuyama Valley to the north and the Channel Islands to the south.  This 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. After the hike you will receive an email with a complete list of all the plants and wildlife identified, including common and scientific names.

    The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62 and older, and $15 for full-time students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can go free, one per adult, pending request and approval. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 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.

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    View of the Channel Islands looking south from Pine Mountain. Photo by Erika Klohe.
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    View north of the Cuyama Valley from Pine Mountain
    Jun
    29
    Sat
    2019
    Obi Kaufmann & The State of Water @ Meet for carpool at Maricopa Plaza
    Jun 29 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

     

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    Author of the bestselling and award winning California Field Atlas, Obi Kaufmann will make a return appearance in Ojai on Saturday, June 29, on the statewide book tour for his next published work, The State of Water, Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource (HEYDAY, June 2019). Obi’s February 2018 visit here included a nature walk, painting demonstration, and book signing. It was a sold-out event. This time we are stretching our legs to get to a free-flowing stream in Matilija Canyon, the fitting place to learn about his latest book. The hike will be a fairly easy walk of one mile each way with one creek crossing.

    As we did last time, we will return to a downtown Ojai lecture space for the afternoon. The indoor session will include an on-the-spot, live painting in the watercolor-and-calligraphy style of the book’s illustrations. Obi will have copies of his brand new, just published The State of Water for sale and signing.

    This event will go on rain or shine with an added indoor morning session in case of rain. Registrants will receive confirmation and updates by email.

    About The State of Water:
    For poet, painter and naturalist Obi Kaufmann, California is a magic network of living systems that connect in a grand, quilted array of ecology and beauty. Obi’s lively presentation about how science and art can work together to deliver a powerful message of hope comes as an antidote to the miasma of despair that seems to pervade most popular discourse regarding the natural world of California and beyond. Full of local and data-driven insight, backed by empirical and accessible system-theory models, Obi presents his exhaustive work based on decades of packing and studying California’s rugged backcountry, with all its nuance and majesty. The culmination is an integrated vision of how we, as individuals and as a society, can more positively work towards a future that functions in alignment with the rhythms of nature, regardless of the fits of politics, the crush of human population or the chaos of climate change.

    About The California Field Atlas:
    The California Field Atlas is the winner of the 2016 Phelan Award for California literature by the San Francisco Foundation, insuring the Atlas will be include in the California Historical Society’s Bancroft Library archives at the University of California at Berkeley. In the few months after The California Field Atlas hit stores across California and beyond in 2017, it enjoyed four weeks at the number one spot for non-fiction paperbacks in Northern California and ranked in Southern California’s top ten.  Other honors:

     

    • #1 San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller
    • Winner, 2017 California Book Award Gold Medal (Notable Contribution to Publishing)
    • Winner, 2017 NCIBA Book of the Year Award (Regional Interest)
    • Finalist, 2018 Northern California Book Awards

    About Obi Kaufmann:
    An avid conservationist, Obi Kaufmann regularly travels around the state, speaking on issues of ecological restoration and preservation to such groups as the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildland Center, the Mojave Desert Land Trust, the Anza Borrego Foundation, the Mono Lake Committee, the Peninsula Open Space Trust and Friends of the River in Coloma. He is an illustrator for Bay Nature Magazine, the Berkeley Times, and Premium Arts, as well as a long-term collaborator with the men’s apparel brand INDIGOFERA. A life-long resident of California, Obi Kaufmann makes his home base in Oakland and is currently working on Field Atlases to come.

    Obi in Ojai on February 10, 2018. Photo: Dan Finley

    Books to come by Obi Kaufmann:

    1. The State of Water, Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource (HEYDAY, June 2019)
    2. The Forests of California, the California Lands Trilogy, Vol 1 (HEYDAY, spring 2020)
    3. The Coasts of California, the California Lands Trilogy, Vol 2 (HEYDAY, fall 2020)
    4. The Deserts of California, the California Lands Trilogy, Vol 3 (HEYDAY, spring 2021)
    5. The State of Fire, Understanding Why, Where and How California Burns (HEYDAY, fall 2021)

    “Obi Kaufmann dives fearlessly and joyfully into the maelstrom that is The State of Water in California. Luscious illustrations reveal that joy, accompanied by text that faces historic challenges and a troubled future head on.” – David Carle, author of Introduction to Water in California

     

    Please register with the button below before completing PayPal payment. Let us know when you register if you prefer to mail a check instead of using your card on PayPal.

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    Price includes PayPal fee



    Jul
    15
    Mon
    2019
    Sunset Moonrise Herb Walk @ Ojai Park & Ride for carpool to trailhead
    Jul 15 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

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    Full Moon Sunset Nature Walk, April 2019. Photo: Lanny Kaufer

    The March and April Full Moon Sunset Nature Walks were so much fun we’re doing one again on the night before the July full moon. The following night, though technically the official full moon, would have us out too late for most people on a weeknight. On Monday, July 15, the nearly full moon will rise at 7:30 and the sun will set at 8:09. That  gives us a nice window of time at our vista point overlooking the beautiful Ojai Valley (Valley of the Moon).

    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
    • Purple Sage and
    • Toyon
    Elder Flowers and Wild Cucumber Vine. Photo: Orit Heartlight

    After witnessing the rising of the moon and setting of the sun, we’ll walk back to the trailhead by remaining daylight, moonlight, and flashlight, returning to the Park-and-Ride by 9:00 p.m.

    From there you’re invited to join me across the street for beverages, appetizers or dinner at Ojai Valley Brewery. Jeremy Haffner has created some truly delicious lager-style craft beers and ales using some of the same local plants we’ll meet on the trail. His brews change with the seasons and reflect the plants of Ojai. At our April gathering, we had his New Moon Oat Stout brewed with Wild Oat Grass, 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. Non-alcoholic offerings included 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. There is no pre-payment required for this walk, just your promise to let us 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. No dogs or smoking, please.

    Photo of April full moon: Lanny Kaufer

     

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    Jul
    20
    Sat
    2019
    Arroyo Hondo Preserve Herb Walk @ Street parking for carpool
    Jul 20 @ 10:30 am – 3:30 pm

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    Hollister Meadow at Arroyo Hondo Preserve. Photo by James Wapotich.

    I was introduced to this beautiful coastal location by writer and hiking guide James Wapotich who says “Arroyo Hondo is considered by many to be the jewel of the Gaviota Coast.” The Preserve is managed by The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. It features a year-round creek surrounded by oak forest, coastal chaparral, grassland, and coastal sage scrub. It is where the Chumash village of Tuxmu was once located.

    Crossing Arroyo Hondo Creek during a previous Herb Walk. Photo: Linda Blue Photography

    We’ll start with a carpool from 23 S. Hope Avenue in Santa Barbara.  At 10 a.m. we’ll drive from there about 30 minutes up the coast to Arroyo Hondo Preserve.  A little earlier, at 9 a.m., those of us in Ojai who want to carpool from there to Santa Barbara will meet at Maricopa Plaza (1207 Maricopa Highway, Ojai). Carpools are optional, of course. Those who choose to drive straight to Arroyo Hondo will receive detailed directions in a confirmation email.

    The plant diversity at the Preserve is exceptional. In the creekside riparian habitat we’ll see a wide array of Southern California native trees including White Alder, California Bay, Blue Elderberry, Bigleaf Maple, and Coast Live Oak, among others. The creek is also home to California newts.

    California Newt in the pond on Arroyo Hondo Creek

    Under the canopy we’ll look for Giant Horsetail, Humboldt Lily, Gooseberry, Stream Orchid, Hummingbird Sage, and Giant Chain Ferns. In the sunnier sage scrub and chaparral areas Toyon, Black Sage, Coastal Sagebrush and Greenbark Ceanothus are thriving.

    Rondia in a forest of Giant Chain Ferns

    After some easy walking, identifying plants, and stopping for a lunch break, we’ll regroup at 3:30 at the parking lot for a private, direct-from-the-grower, native plant sale hosted by Santa Barbara Natives (SBN), a beautiful native plant nursery managed by Arroyo Hondo Preserve Manager John Warner. SBN carries an inventory of about 100 of the most popular local California native plants, normally available only to commercial growers. John will bring a selection of those we will see on our walk. People who register in advance will have the opportunity to request specific plants.

    Once you are registered you will receive an email during the week prior to the walk with more information and directions to Arroyo Hondo. The cost for the day is $30 for adults, $25 for seniors 62-and-up, and $15 for students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can come along for free, one per adult, pending request and approval. The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County also requests a suggested $5 donation at the site to cover stewardship of the land. There is no pre-payment required to register. Participants will receive an email afterwards with notes and a complete list of all plants and animals observed.

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    Nov
    16
    Sat
    2019
    Ojai Herbal Symposium @ Ojai CA
    Nov 16 @ 9:00 am – Nov 17 @ 5:00 pm

    Coming November 16-17, 2019: the 2nd Annual Ojai Herbal Symposium on the theme of “The Wisdom of the Body”

    featuring keynote speaker David Crow!

     

    Join the Ojai Herbal Symposium Mailing List

    We’re in the planning stage now so, in the meantime, here’s last year’s flyer to give you an idea of what to expect when we bring together some of the top minds and most effective practitioners in the field of botanical medicine.