FULL: Native Plant Herb 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. The REGISTER link below will take you directly there.  For questions, 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

    After the workshop, you will receive recipes as well as a list of all plants identified and discussed including common and Latin names for genus, species and family of each plant. These names can be used for continuing research online and in books, bearing in mind that there is no substitute for first-hand plant identification in the field.

    Please use the REGISTER button below to sign up and the PayPal link below that 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.



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    CLOSED: Obi Kaufmann & The California Field Atlas @ Ventura River Preserve, Oso Trailhead
    Feb 10 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm


    Herb Walks with Lanny Kaufer has arranged with author Obi Kaufmann for an intimate event in Ojai on Saturday, February 10th, 2018 at the Ventura River Preserve and a downtown indoor location. This unique workshop will be of great interest to naturalists and artists alike. Obi will join Lanny on a nature walk in the morning and then share the process of creating his epic 2017 book, THE CALIFORNIA FIELD ATLAS, in an afternoon slideshow presentation. The indoor session will include an on-the-spot, live painting in the watercolor-and-calligraphy style of the book’s illustrations.

    Although the first printing of the book sold out in a few short months, Obi will have copies of the latest printing available for personalized signing. to sign up, please click on the REGISTER link at the bottom of the page. To guarantee your space, use the PAYPAL link below that. To pay by cash or check, please email

    About Obi Kaufmann and the California Field Atlas

    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. The lavishly illustrated, 550-page California Field Atlas takes readers off the beaten path and outside normal conceptions of California, revealing its myriad ecologies, topographies, and histories with hundreds of exquisite hand-painted maps and trail paintings. Obi Kaufmann blends science and art to illuminate California’s elemental narrative of earth, air, fire, and water like no other book has done before.

    Photo by Paul Collins

    Kaufmann depicts layer after layer of the natural world, delighting in the grand scale and details alike. The effect is staggeringly beautiful: presented alongside California divvied into its fifty-eight counties, for example, we consider California made up of dancing tectonic plates, of watersheds, of wildflower gardens. Maps are enhanced by spirited illustrations of wildlife, keys that explain natural phenomena, and a clear-sighted but reverential text. Full of character and color, the California Field Atlas has quickly become a new classic, being hailed as a “gorgeously illustrated compendium” (Sunset Magazine) that “…will provide you with a greater appreciation for the state’s ecological jewels and landmarks. Kaufmann’s writing offers us hope during this trying time for conservationism and climactic pushback.” (San Francisco Chronicle).

    In the few months since the California Field Atlas has hit stores across California and beyond it has enjoyed four weeks at the number one spot for non-fiction paperbacks in Northern California and is beginning to rank in Southern California’s top ten. 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.


    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.


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







    “After The Fire: Making Our Landscapes More Resilient” — A Workshop with Richard Halsey @ Meet at AT&T Parking Lot
    Feb 17 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

    PLEASE NOTE: Registration is closed for the full day (10:00-3:00) workshop but there is still space in the afternoon (1:00-3:00) slideshow lecture. You can register and pay for the afternoon and request to be added to a waiting list for the full day workshop. If there is room we can change your reservation. See complete registration info below.

    Herb Walks with Lanny Kaufer,  Ojai Valley Green Coalition (OVGC), and Los Padres Forest Watch (LPFW) will present renowned fire ecology expert and author Richard Halsey on Saturday, February 17, for a timely workshop on how to create resilient gardens and homes in Southern California as residents go forward in the post-Thomas Fire era. The day will begin at 10 a.m. with a morning walk to identify and discuss fire-wise native plants and continue at 1:00 p.m. after a lunch break with a slideshow talk based on Richard’s book and his research into the chaparral ecosystem and fire ecology.

    The second edition of his book, Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California, available at that link in the Herb Walks bookstore, was published in 2008 and was awarded the Best Nonfiction-Local Interest Book by the San Diego Book Awards Association. “Wildfires are going to happen and they are happening with increased frequency,” Halsey writes in the book. “The important question now is how do we protect life and property, allow for future growth, and continue to preserve a valuable natural resource? Considering the inevitability of fire in southern California, it’s best to learn how to let fire burn around us instead of through us.”

    Here’s another excerpt explaining the title of the book: “Despite progress made in distancing ourselves from nature in the raw, we remain hardwired to rhythms of wilderness. Our ancestors spent millions of years connected to seasonal cycles and life around them. A mere 10,000 years of city life is not enough time to forget. Our own personal connections to things wild remains thinly veiled under the artificial constructs of civilization. Making a conscious decision to reconnect to one’s natural surroundings can provide significant improvements in the quality of life. It is not just about learning to recognize the call of the wrentit, to be able to identify ceanothus, or understand the value of chaparral as a watershed; in a fire-prone environment like southern California, it is a matter of survival.”


    Richard W. Halsey is a writer, photographer, and the director of the California Chaparral Institute, a non-profit research and educational organization dedicated to the preservation of California’s native chaparral ecosystem, helping communities understand the dynamics of wildland fire, and supporting the creative spirit as inspired by the natural environment.

    Halsey also works with the San Diego Museum of Natural History, teaches natural history throughout the state, and leads the Chaparral Naturalist Program at the Elfin Forest Reserve in Escondido. While teaching high school biology, Halsey was selected as the Teacher of the Year for San Diego City Schools and awarded the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship.

    He has given more than 400 public lectures, conducted numerous research projects, and published more than a dozen papers and articles concerning the ecology of California’s chaparral ecosystem. Halsey also has been trained as a wildland firefighter long past the age most would consider prudent.

    California Poppies and Parry’s Phacelias flourishing in the spring following the 2007 Witch Creek Fire in San Diego County. Photo by Richard W. Halsey.

    The cost for the full workshop is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-up, and $15 for students 13-18 as well as those who lost residences or landscapes in the Thomas Fire. Admission for the afternoon session only is $15 for the general public or $10 for OVGC and LPFW members. Scholarships also are available for the afternoon lecture through OVGC. Once registered, participants will receive a confirmation email with details about location, directions, lunch option and more. For more information email or call 805-646-6281.

    Please click on the REGISTER link below to sign up and specify  “afternoon only.” You may also sign up for a waiting list for the full workshop. To guarantee your space, use the PayPal link. To pay by cash or check, please email


    REGISTER for Afternoon Only


    AFTERNOON LECTURE ONLY (1:00-3:00 p.m.)

    Price includes PayPal fee

    Sustainable Foraging with Dan De Lion @ Greater Goods
    Feb 25 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm


    Join East Coast native Dan De Lion of Return to Nature and Ojai’s Lanny Kaufer of for a family-friendly plant walk and class on lowering your ecological footprint eating weeds! This event is part of the “little footprints” environmental series at greater goods, a non-profit interactive community space in Meiners Oaks.

    From 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Dan and Lanny will lead an outdoor plant walk at Steel Acres Farm, identifying and discussing plants and foraging for edible weeds. Then join them at greater goods from 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a foraged meal, herbal medicine making class, and discussion about humans’ place in the environment and medicinal, edible, and utilitarian uses of plants.

    Kids of all ages are welcome for the morning walk. Older children may also be interested in the afternoon class. Suggested donation is $25 but all donations of any amount will be accepted.

    Please use the REGISTER button below to sign up as space is limited for the afternoon session.



    Dan De Lion is an Earth Herbalist, Forager, Musician, and Teacher dedicated to working with Nature to facilitate the reunion of the people with our planetary purpose.  He teaches through Return to Nature, providing classes, lectures, and seminars on wild food foraging, mushroom identification, herbal medicine making, as well as primitive and survival skills with a focus on wild foods and forest medicines.

    He also incorporates the philosophies of yoga, alchemy, meditation, and mysticism into his classes, lectures, and seminars and brings a deep rooted indigenous medicine perspective of practicing intuition with plants, in a systematic and grounded way.

    Dan grew up in a life full of exposure to plants in the herb and vegetable garden which his mother grew, with continuous herb books as part of his upbringing as well as roaming access to the back yard which led to a farm.  As he grew with this passion, he began mushroom hunting at 20 years old, and soon realized that wild plants could also be foraged, and received his formal herbalist training in 2010 from Heart Stone herbal school in Van Etten, NY.  That same year, he started his business Return to Nature as a vehicle for sharing his passion for herbal medicine and his outreach to build a community with a deeper expression of Nature as a continual and abundant provider of nourishment, medicine and spiritual connection.

    Dan has been teaching and leading community workshops and gatherings throughout NJ, NY, and PA and the surrounding area since 2009, and before that toured extensively throughout the country and recorded 2 albums in the musical group, Natural Breakdown. In his herbal and spiritual explorations, he has also traveled across the world, from India, to South America, to many places in the United States seeking and sitting with teachers and guides who have deeply expanded his knowledge about herbal healing, deeper perspectives on causes of illness, and working in respect with the natural world.  Through teaching and facilitating now hundreds of interactive workshops, plant walks and community gatherings, along with receiving global exposure to many forms and permutations of community he has built and helped raise a strong core community based on herbal practice, nature skills, potlucks, and regenerative methods in his local home town of NJ.

    Teaching from a deep passion to inspire children and adults alike to return to nature and remember that there is deep treasure around each and every corner of life, Dan teaches through hands on mentoring with focus on engaging the senses in and with nature to create and bridge a deep connection to the earth and our immediate surroundings that continue to deepen in students for the rest of their lives.  Dan also offers private mentorship to students of all ages.

    Dan leads several group plant walks a month and teaches workshops in symbiosis with local communities as well as classes for any groups including birthday parties, boy scout groups, homeschooling groups, and just about any other occasion. His class topics include Foraging and herbal remedies, Community building, hands on herbal medicine making, how to harvest, identify, and prepare wild food, Mushroom identification, vegetable fermentation, kombucha making, bird language, and primitive and survival skills, and nature awareness.




    PRIVATE Herb Walk – Gaviota Coast
    Mar 17 @ 10:30 am – 3:30 pm

    Photo by James Wapotich

    This nature walk is private and not open to the public. It is posted here to remind you that I am available to take your family. friends or organization on a private Herb Walk or Nature Hike of any distance and time from 2.5 hours on up. Outings can be tailored to your group’s specific interests. Land owners can find out what is growing on their property and brainstorm ideas for more native plantings.

    For more information about booking a private event, email


    FULL: Stunt High Trail Nature Hike @ Stunt High Trail, Calabasas Hills,CA 91302 USA
    Mar 18 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm


    We’ll take a break from the fire recovery zone around Ojai and revisit the secluded Stunt High Trail along Cold Creek in the Calabasas Hills on the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains. This will be an easy, slow-paced walk other than the steep descent down into the canyon and the inevitable climb back up. We’ll be mainly under the oaks by the stream. A lunch break of 30-45 minutes will give us time to appreciate our surroundings.

    You will learn to positively identify native and naturalized herbs of the riparian and chaparral plant communities and discover their many uses for food, medicine, survival, crafts, ceremony, and much more.

    We’ll also see evidence of previous Chumash occupation and search for a rare orchid. Information will be shared on the ecological value of native plants, sustainable use of natural resources, and other aspects of natural history. To learn more about me, see the “About Lanny Kaufer” link.

    The Stunt High Trail is located in the Santa Monica Mountains near Calabasas and easily accessible from Malibu and Topanga Canyon as well as all points in the San Fernando Valley. Carpooling is encouraged as there is limited parking at the trailhead.  No dogs or smoking, please.

    Stream Orchid


    Pre-registration is recommended for this hike. Just click the Register link at the bottom of this page or return anytime to the “Register for an Event” link on the left sidebar of this website. No pre-payment is required, just your promise to let me know in a timely fashion if your plans change.

    Once you register, you will receive an email with all the relevant information including what to wear, directions to the trailhead, etc, as well as any updates that may come up. After the hike, participants will receive an email with a complete plant and animal list including common and scientific names of the plants and animals and their families.

    NOTE: This hike will go on unless there is heavy rain that morning or 100% chance of heavy rain during the hiking hours.





    WAITING LIST: Earth Island Medicinal Herb Garden with Carol Wade @ Earth Island Medicinal Herb Garden
    Mar 24 @ 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

    Ojai herbalist Carol Wade tending the Rosemary bush and enjoying some aromatherapy while she works

    PLEASE NOTE: This event is full. We are starting a waiting list in case of last-minute cancellation.



    “A Breath of Fresh Air”

    The experience of the Thomas Fire and the mudslides that followed continue to impact the hearts and minds of all who lived through it. On the physical level, particulate matter in the air coupled with an especially virulent flu has many still coughing. Other respiratory conditions such as colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and allergies also are on the uptick.

    Interestingly, the lungs are connected to sadness and grief in more than one ancient healing tradition (TCM and Unani Tibb). One of the overarching emotions that many of us are dealing with is the sense of sadness and loss surrounding the aftermath of these events.

    We invite you to join us on Saturday, March 24, at Ojai’s Earth Island Medicinal Herb Garden — miraculously spared by the fire — to appreciate the nature still standing, the resiliency of the natural world and of our human bodies, and the many ways plant medicine lends itself to respiratory and whole body/mind health. The paradox is the strength that can come from destruction, the literal growth from ashes and the new healthy life that emerges.

    You will spend a lovely morning visiting this East End jewel with Herb Walks’ Lanny Kaufer and the garden’s founder, herbalist Carol Wade, as your guides. Enjoy the beautiful vistas as you learn about how to grow and care for the many herbal allies that live among us.  Many of these gems are native and can lead to and support respiratory health. We will gather a few for some of the herbal preparations we’ll be making in the afternoon:

    • “Clear the Air” room spray (antimicrobial and uplifting)
    • Herbal vapor rub
    • “Respiratory Relief” tea
    • Sinus/headache steam

    After our in-depth tour of the garden, we’ll break for lunch and reconvene at a downtown  kitchen for some from-the-earth herbal medicine making. Lunch options, including a homemade lunch at the kitchen, and other details will be described in a confirmation email sent to registrants.


    Carol Wade has been practicing as a professional herbalist and nutritional counselor for over 25 years, and is a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Her garden, the Earth Island Medicinal Herb Garden in Ojai, California, serves as a hub for several medicinal herb-oriented ventures that bring the idea of using medicinal herbs in daily living as a viable and logical choice to the community at large.

    After practicing privately for much of her career, six years ago Carol joined her work as a practitioner and educator with her background in the herbal and organic gardening fields to bring herbal medicine to a wider audience with the Earth Island Herbs Medicinal Herb Garden and the Earth Island Herbal Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project in Ojai, CA. She currently offers Eco-tours of the garden that combine medicine making with garden tours, workshops for the general public,  and presentations for school classrooms.

    Last year Carol founded the Ojai School of Herbal Studies, an 18-month herbal studies program that utilizes the garden, hands on medicine making, and an in-depth education in how to use herbs safely and effectively, including terminology, plant chemistry, anatomy and physiology, an extensive materia medica, and actual herb cultivation.


    There are two steps to registering. First, use the REGISTER button below to sign up. Second, to secure your space, please use the PayPal button to complete payment.







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    San Antonio Creek Herb Walk (Santa Barbara) @ Tucker's Grove County Park, Goleta
    Apr 14 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

    Photo by James Wapotich


    We’ll make our annual visit to my favorite Santa Barbara frontcountry trail on San Antonio Creek. I will lead a 3-hour Herb Walk there on Saturday, April 14, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    On this walk, we will identify, demonstrate and discuss the many uses of wild plants for foragers, herbalists, and naturalists seeking out plants for food, first aid, home remedies, survival, crafts, ceremony and more. Poisonous plants will also be identified.

    Trailside discussion will include humankind’s role in the ecological balance, sustainable foraging, Chumash plant uses, and other topics generated by the participants. This slow-paced walk is suitable for hikers of all levels of skill levels able to walk 1.5 miles round-trip and stand for periods of time.

    Photo by Ben Grangereau

    “Herb Walks” originated in Santa Barbara in the early 1970’s, the creation of renowned herbalist William LeSassier who was living in the Montecito foothills at the time. I was a neighbor, friend and student of William and began leading my own Herb Walks around the Ojai Valley in 1976 after he moved east. I also studied with Juanita Centeno, the late Chumash plant expert — right here on the San Antonio Creek Trail — in the mid-1970s.

    The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-and-older, and $15 for students 13-18. Kids 5-12 can go along free, one per adult, by prior arrangement. Toddlers must be in a carrier. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No smoking and no dogs, please, as they can transmit poison oak on their fur.

    Register now by clicking on the REGISTER button 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 left sidebar on the homepage or click on the “Register for an Event” link in the same sidebar menu. Registrants will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info.

    Please note: This hike will go on RAIN OR SHINE with the exception of a heavy downpour that morning and/or a 100% chance of heavy rain that day.


    Photo by Ben Grangereau

    Ojai Earth Day @ Libbey Park
    Apr 21 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

    Please come visit me at my booth at Ojai’s Annual Earth Day Celebration in Libbey Park in downtown Ojai. I’ll have books for sale, plant samples and more. This event is presented by the Ojai Valley Green Coalition. More information at the Ojai Earth Day website.

    Mark your calendar now!