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Spring Equinox Nature Hike & Native Plant Sale

March 21 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

$15 – $25

Photo of Taft Gardens by Godfred Tong


Now that Mother Nature has had three winters worth of rain with which to recover from the 2017 fire, we’re going back to this amazing private property for 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 rare and special place has 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 world renowned, Mediterranean-climate botanic garden with an unparalleled collection of Australian and South African plants. A docent will be present to share some of the rare exotic plants found in the garden on our way to the diverse edible and medicinal native plant habitats on the Nature Preserve. A pond on the Preserve provides the chance to see and experience less common water plants like cattails and tules.

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 property. The travel time from the carpool meeting place to the trailhead will be 20-30 minutes. Directions will be given to those coming from Santa Barbara who wish to meet us at the Gardens. Beginning at 9 a.m., total walking distance will be approximately 1.5 miles including gradual elevation gain.

Immediately following the walk, from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m., native plant grower Nathan Whitman will host a private sale of selected plants. Registrants will have the opportunity to order in advance. 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 1:00 p.m. to arrive back at Maricopa Plaza by 1:30 p.m. for those not staying for lunch. Light rain will not cancel, heavy rain will. Registrants will be updated.

The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-up, and $15 for students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can attend free, one per adult, pending request and approval. An additional $10 donation per person is requested by CEF and strongly encouraged by me. There is a donation box at the start 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 use the REGISTER HERE button at top or bottom of this page to sign up before completing payment with the PayPal button to secure your space. Both walks at this location sold out last year so don’t delay if you’re serious about wanting to attend. Please note that final PayPal price includes a processing fee. You may also mail a check for the amount shown above to Lanny Kaufer, 304 N. Encinal Ave., Ojai CA 93023. Please tell me if you are doing that when you register.

Paid registrants will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info, including weather forecast and carpool/parking directions, a few days prior to the hike. They also will receive a follow-up email afterwards with a list of all plants and wildlife seen. No dogs or smoking, please.



Ticket Options (including PayPal fee)


March 21
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
$15 – $25


Lanny Kaufer


Maricopa Plaza for carpool to trailhead
1207 Maricopa Hwy.
Ojai,CA93023United States
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