Try this step-by-step guide to get the most out of this page of links to California native plant information and much more.
NATIVE PLANT IDENTIFICATION, PHOTOS, AND INFORMATION
The Jepson eFlora contains taxonomic treatments and identification keys for native and naturalized plants occurring in wildlands or otherwise outside of cultivation in California.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains
This is a great place to start for identifying native plants of the Ojai and Southern California area. You can look up plants by their common and scientific names and see many photos. There also is a really cool search tool called the Flower Finder that allows you to identify unknown flowers.
For a physical copy of Milt McAuley’s excellent flora of the same name, complete with 595 pages of descriptions and 496 color plates, check out Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains. I offer it for $19.95, the original 1996 price, a super deal!
Native and Introduced Plants of Southern California
The most complete website on the subject. In the words of the authors, Tom Chester and Jane Strong: “Essentially ever since February 2001, we have spent nearly full-time learning the species along trails and making plant guides for those trails. This website is the outgrowth of that work, and was first placed online in September 2002.”
Plants of Southern California: California Plant Pictures and Databases
One page from the website above. Probably the most extensive collection of links to information and photos of plants of Southern California. Compiled by Tom Chester and Jane Strong.
California Native Plant Library
From the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, a complete database with a focus on plants that can be grown in Southern California gardens.
David Magney’s Ventura County Flora
The best collection of local native plant photos by our local expert botanist/environmental consultant. You’ll find the latest, most accurate taxonomy here. There is much more of interest on his website, too. Here’s a link straight to his business home page: David Magney Environmental Consulting. At the bottom of that home page, click on the Photos-Biogeography link to see all his photos. There is no search function as there is with the Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains website above so it’s more of a virtual hike on different trails to see what you can see but well worth the effort.
Wildflowers in Santa Barbara
Extensive list and photos of Santa Barbara wildflowers including meticulous cross-indexing by months and colors.
Wildflowers of the Santa Barbara Region and San Rafael Mountains
Santa Barbara Trail Guide’s wildflower page including photo, common name, scientific name and description for each entry.
Database of Santa Barbara Wildflowers
Another great webpage of Santa Barbara wildflowers, this one by Santa Barbara Hikes.
Plant Species of Eaton Canyon
All of these plants found in Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park in the San Gabriel Mountains also grow in the mountains around Ojai.
UC Berkeley’s plant photo archive, the most extensive collection of photos of California plants.
Wildflowers of Southern California
A photo gallery by Barbara J. Collins, author of Key to Coastal and Chaparral Flowering Plants of Southern California and Trees and Wildflowers of the Mountains of Southern California. Photographs of wildflowers of the Southern California chaparral, desert, mountains, and north coast indexed according to scientific, common, or family names. See especially her link to “Useful Botanical Resources.”
Michael Moore’s Medicinal Plant Photo Archive
This is one of many useful links to be found at the late Michael Moore’s website (See “Southwest School of Botanical Medicine” below for the home page).
Las Pilitas Nursery’s Native Plant List
Thousands of pages and pictures about California native plants, organized for easy alphabetical browsing by scientific name, common name, and cultivar.
A Guide to the Plant Communities of California
One of the many informative pages at the Las Pilitas Nursery site mentioned above. A tip of the hat to the late Bert Wilson for starting the nursery, doing the research, and publishing so much free information on CA native plants.
Plants and Flowers Resource Page
Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council’s page includes links to Plant of the Month, Plant Archives and more.
Encyclopedic resource on the entire plant kingdom, including many that reside locally. Several — Yarrow and Chickweed, for example — get extra attention in the way of informative articles but it’s mainly for taxonomy geeks.
PFAF Plant Database
Plants For A Future (PFAF) is a charitable company, originally set up to support the work of Ken and Addy Fern on their experimental site in Cornwall, UK, where they carried out research and provided information on edible and otherwise useful plants suitable for growing outdoors in a temperate climate. Over time they planted 1500 species of edible plants on ‘The Field’ in Cornwall, which was their base since 1989. Over ten years ago, Ken began compiling a database, which currently consists of approximately 7000 species of plants.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Database
This is the database your Federal taxes pay for. From the home page you can search for Plant Profiles of thousands of plants, though only about 900 also have a “Fact Sheet” or “Plant Guide” with information about uses. Once you reach a Plant Profile, look for either or both of those links under “More Information” on the right side of the page. I use the pdf link if I just want to read it. It’s fast and easy. Here’s a link straight to the Fact Sheet and Plant Guide list: Fact Sheets & Plant Guide
Wildflowers and Weeds
Web home of Thomas J. Elpel, the author of Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification. His site includes a Plant Families Photo Gallery and pages on Edible Plants, Mushrooms, Desertification & Weed Ecology, Profiles of Invasive Weeds and more.
HERBAL MEDICINE, HERBAL NUTRITION & ETHNOBOTANY
Wilderness Way articles on Chumash healing
Links to a series of articles on traditional Chumash healing by Dr. James D. Adams, Jr. and Cecilia Garcia, co-authors of Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West: Cultural and Scientific Basis for their Use, a remarkable synthesis of traditional herbal medicine and the latest information from a professor at the USC School of Pharmacy and his teacher, a Chumash healer. Here is a sample article on Chumash Treatments for Arthritis that includes a recipe for a pain-relieving foot bath made with Black Sage (Salvia mellifera).
PubMed Central (PMC)
PubMed Central® (PMC) is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM). Here is a link directly to the PubMed article search page. On February 20, 2020, a search for the term “herbal medicine” brought up 49,297 results including the eight listed below. The first one on Artemisia californica was written by USC Pharmacology Professor Dr. Jim Adams. The rest were written by him and Chumash healer Cecilia Garcia. The articles were originally posted online as abstracts at the website of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM). PMC, however, publishes the full-length texts.
The Use of California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) Liniment to Control Pain
A Comparison of Chinese and American Indian (Chumash) Medicine
The Advantages of Traditional Chumash Healing
Palliative Care Among Chumash People
Spirit, Mind and Body in Chumash Healing
Salvia columbariae contains tanshinones
Women’s Health Among the Chumash
California and Chinese plant medicines — a comparison of their uses
This is Professor James D. Adams’s website where you can keep up with his latest activities and find his publications.
MDPI.com is a platform for peer-reviewed, scientific open-access journals operated by MDPI, based in Basel, Switzerland. Their 203 diverse, peer-reviewed, open access journals are supported by over 35,500 academic editors. They serve scholars from around the world to ensure the latest research is freely available and all content is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). Here is a January 2019 article on Black Sage by Dr. James D. Adams and colleagues: “Salvia mellifera — How does it alleviate chronic pain?”
U.S. Forest Service Ethnobotany pages
You may be pleasantly surprised, as I was, to see how much information your tax dollars have provided on these pages. The Ethnobotany homepage links to, among many others, Medicinal Botany, Plant Parts Used for Medicinal Purposes and Active Plant Ingredients Used for Medicinal Purposes. The last one includes descriptions of substances such as flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins and the others that give plants their healing powers.
Dr. Kevin Curran teaches an ethnobotany course at the University of San Diego. He put together an interactive webpage that describes many of the native plants used by early settlers in Southern California, particularly the San Diego area. These plants were used by the Kumeyaay, Cahuilla, Luiseno, Chumash and other groups from northern Baja, southern California, Central California and the Channel Islands.
Edible Seeds and Grains of California Tribes
The full title of this exhaustive study is “Edible Seeds and Grains of California Tribes and the Klamath Tribe of Oregon in the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology Collections, University of California, Berkeley.” It is also found on the U.S. Forest Service website referenced above. This report was authored by M. Kat Anderson, ethnoecologist [and author of Tending The Wild]; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); and Jim Effenberger, Don Joley, and Deborah J. Lionakis Meyer, senior seed botanists, California Department of Food and Agriculture Plant Pest Diagnostics Center. Thanks to Pascal Baudar for making me aware of this article.
Tongva Medicinal Plants
From the website: “This is a web-based catalog of medicinal plants used by the Tongva people. The Tongva are the native people of what is now the Los Angeles Basin in California. They are a small and vibrant society striving for national recognition and committed to sharing their traditional knowledge of medicinal plants.
Native American Ethnobotany
Dan Moerman’s searchable database of foods, drugs, dyes and fibers of Native American peoples, derived from plants. Hosted by University of Michigan.
Native American Uses of California Plants — Ethnobotany
The Arboretum at the University of California, Santa Cruz (where I coincidentally worked while a student there) published this pamphlet as a guide to the native plant section of the arboretum. It includes plants native to that region of the Central Coast, many of which grow in the coastal areas of Southern California as well. Originally published as “Ethnobotanical guide to the California native entrance garden” by Sara Reid and Van Wishingrad, Fall 2007.
The Living Wild Project
Great resource for foragers. A collaborative project of communities in the Sierra Nevada and neighboring urban areas, including Sacramento and the Bay Area, focused on uses of native plants. You can post a favorite recipe, health remedy or artwork using native, wild plants; subscribe to the newsletter to discover new recipes and gardening tips; read blog articles on preparing native foods and beverages; or order a copy of the Living Wild book, a joint project with the California Native Plant Society.
American Botanical Council website
Since 1988, the American Botanical Council (ABC) has been educating consumers, healthcare professionals, researchers, educators, industry and the media on the safe and effective use of herbs and medicinal plants. ABC is an independent, nonprofit organization supported by thousands of members around the world. A simple, free registration will allow you to view many articles on herbs in HerbalGram magazine and other excellent resources. A paid professional membership opens up access to a world of information.
North American Institute of Medical Herbalism
The NAIMH published the Medical Herbalism print journal for twenty five years, from 1989 until 2014. At the time of its publication and for many years afterwards, it was the only journal of its type in the modern era devoted exclusively to clinical herbalism. The journal features articles and case studies from some of the leading herbal clinicians in the country. More than 800 pages of free article reprints from 1989 to 2001 can be found on this website along with a number of other classic herbal texts available for free download.
MedFacts Natural Products Consumer Database
The MedFacts Natural Products Consumer database at Drugs.com is a comprehensive source of information on traditional and/or conventional uses of natural products. A basic overview of each product is provided (including dosages, possible drug interactions, side effects and contraindications) along with safety and/or efficacy ratings from Wolters Kluwer Health. Local herbs and foods profiled include Arnica, Elderberry, Fennel and Sage as well as many others.
Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
Website of “America’s elder statesman of herbs and spices, a dedicated and strong-willed scientist whose advocacy of natural healing methods has never diminished.” Dr. Duke is “the Man” when it comes to science-based study of the edible and medicinal uses of plants.
A Modern Herbal
The hyper-text version of A Modern Herbal, first published in 1931, by Mrs. M. Grieve, contains Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs.
Plant Theses from Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Legacy website
In-depth herbal theses from the graduates of Dr. John Christopher’s School of Natural Healing. You can learn the history, location, chemical constituents, medicinal qualities, contra-indications, known herbal formulas and dosages and applications of any particular herb that is in this section.
Wild Seeds of Food Value
This Acrobat (.pdf) file is courtesy of the late Michael Moore’s amazing website (see below at link to Southwest School of Botanical Medicine). It is one chapter from Useful Wild Plants Of The United States And Canadaby Charles Francis Saunders (1920). The chapter includes Chia Seeds, Wild Oats, Islay (Holly-leaved) Cherry pits, and Pine Nuts among other local seeds. Most of the rest of Saunders’ book can be found at the website at http://www.swsbm.com/ManualsOther/UsefulPlants/Useful_Plants.html and includes separate chapters on fruits, roots, stems, etc. One entire chapter is devoted to Acorns.
Enter the name of an ingredient or food in the search field to get detailed nutritional data. Use this great resource for nutritional data on just about any food including some local wild foods.
The Datura Cult Among the Chumash by Richard Applegate (1975)
The Use of California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) Liniment to Control Pain by Dr. James D. Adams, Jr. (2012)
Chumash Treatments for Stress and Anxiety by James Adams, Pauline Fontaine, and Cecilia Garcia
Virtuous Herbs: Plants in Chumash Medicine by Jan Timbrook (1987)
Organic Daily Post
While there may be a large number of health-related sites on the web, this one is particularly well researched and organized. Content Director Sabrina Wilson shows a solid commitment to the health of the individual and of the planet. For example, check out this post on natural treatments for ticks.
GROWING NATIVE PLANTS
California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Gardening page
This page includes info on growing natives as well as links to California Native Plant Society (CNPS) chapter plant sales, native plant nurseries, arboretums and botanic gardens.
California Native Plant Society Calscape page
“Restore Nature One Garden at a Time.” Discover which plants grow in your exact location, create personal plant lists, and find nearby nurseries
CalFlora Planting Guide
Do you want to know which native plants will grow well at a certain location? Which nurseries source the species? Which plants grow well together? CalFlora offers this great interactive guide that allows you to set specific preferences for your location, sun or shade situation, etc.
Planting Guide for Native Plants
Courtesy of the renowned Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants.
Planting & Watering Guide for California Native Plants
Thanks to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy for this easy-to-read photo-illustrated guide. The page includes a handy downloadable water chart.
Native Plants for Your Garden
CaliforniaGardens.com’s list of native plants for gardening
California Invasive Plant Council’s “Don’t Plant A Pest!” Program
Select your region, learn about problematic invasive plants, and find safe alternatives suitable for your area. Remember, one man’s flower is another man’s invasive weed.
A California-Friendly Guide to Native and Drought Tolerant Gardens
An excellent, free publication from the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in Calabasas, available for viewing online as an interactive flip-page brochure or downloadable as a PDF. Also available in a print edition at their headquarters.
California Friendly Landscaping in Los Angeles
The LADWP’s California Friendly Landscaping website. This website explains how to design and install California friendly landscaping, irrigation methods and equipment that will help you to water your landscape more efficiently, and suggestions on how to easily and effectively maintain your garden.
CNPS-SLO Growing Natives page
From the California Native Plant Society San Luis Obispo Chapter website. Lots of great native plant info on these topics and more:
California Native Plants that Attract Birds
Fragrant California Native Plants for the Garden
Native Plants for Butterfly Gardening
Plants resistant or susceptible to Armillaria Root Rot
Thorough article and lists by Robert D. Raabe of Department of Environmental Science and Management at University of California, Berkeley
Guide to Gardening at Home
Here’s another informative page with lots of useful links. (This one was suggested by young Dakota Lowe who found my website while researching a garden project and wanted to return the favor.)
Gardening at Home with Kids
Here’s a very thorough page full of links to articles about every aspect of gardening with kids. My own kids learned to garden as children and they now grow backyard gardens with their kids! (And, guess what, a kid found this page doing gardening research with her family. Thanks go out to Nicole whose mom Erica shared her daughter’s discovery with me.)
Gardening for Kids
Here’s another good site with lots of ideas and resources for gardening with kids. (Thanks to Kate Jackson for sharing this one with me. Her daughter Susan found it herself online.)
NATIVE PLANT NURSERIES & SEEDS
Where to Buy Native Plants (CNPS)
Here is a link directly to CNPS’s comprehensive, statewide list of California Native Plant Nurseries.
Where to Buy Native and California Friendly® Plants (MWD list)
Check out this great contact list for native plant nurseries on The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s website. The link will take you directly to the page with the same title. It’s ideal if you live within that water district but the list is extensive and includes Ventura and several other counties in addition to Los Angeles. There’s lot of other great info on drought tolerant gardening.
Don’t let the big box look of this gardening store fool you. Green Thumb is an independent nursery, unlike Home Depot, Lowe’s, Orchard Supply, etc. They have been a family-owned business for almost 70 years! Green Thumb has greatly increased its native plant offerings, at least at their Ventura store. Like any good business, they respond to customer demand. So shop local and go native!
Yes Yes Nursery
Yes Yes Nursery is a CCOF certified organic grower of vegetable starts, culinary and medicinal herbs and local native plants for your garden. They are located in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, California. You can find them at local farmer’s markets – Saturday at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market, Wednesday in Solvang, and Sunday in Ojai.
Las Pilitas Nursery (Santa Margarita and Escondido)
Large selection of natives and a great website featuring a photo catalogue with tons of info including pages about native plants (372,815 links), native birds, butterflies, California, and other things of interest. For example, here’s their chart on butterflies and native plants: Plants for a California or Western Butterfly Garden.
Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery
Inventory List for non-profit Theodore Payne Nursery in Sun Valley, CA. Updated weekly.
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
The SBBC Garden Growers Nursery is open 7 days a week, during regular Garden Shop hours, 361 days a year! Additionally, they offer two huge plant sales annually, the Fall Plant Sale in October and in the Spring Plant Sale in April, featuring an excellent selection of California native plants for the Central Coast. They publish occasional Plant Availability Lists, usually for their plant sales. Here is their Plant Availability List for April 2019.
Santa Barbara Natives
Santa Barbara Natives, Inc. (SBN) grows locally propagated native plants for Santa Barbara County restoration and mitigation projects, landscape architects, designers, contractors and the general public. Working closely with clients, Santa Barbara Natives has grown hundreds of thousands of genetically local California native plants since 2003. SBN also carries a ready inventory of about 100 of the most popular local California native plants. The Santa Barbara Natives nursery is located 20 miles west of Santa Barbara nestled in a beautiful canyon on the Gaviota Coast. SBN is headquartered on a private ranch. Site visits can be arranged by appointment with a minimum plant purchase of $100.
This 3+ acre nursery in Carpinteria features 11 different garden “vignettes” including a California Native Garden. From their website: “Tim Doles has created a naturalized expression of California’s native flora. The mix of annual wildflowers, indigenous species and hybrid selections follow winding trails and rock outcroppings and dry creek beds. Live oaks, redbud, and Catalina ironwood trees enhance the scene. In early spring the lilac to intense blue/purple and fragrant ceanothus offset with carpets of poppies creates a breathtaking vision.”
San Marcos Growers (wholesale)
This page has links to the database entries for all of the California native plants that they grow and also features articles about native plants and links to other sites that have information about California native plants. The information is written by staff horticulturist Randy Baldwin with contributions by Carol Bornstein, author and past director of horticulture at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
From their website: “We are a wholesale plant nursery located in the Goleta Valley, just north of Santa Barbara, California. Since 1979 we have been growing plants appropriate to California’s mediterranean climate, including many California native plants. As a wholesale nursery, we do not sell directly to the public, but do sell to many retail nurseries and landscape professionals. If you would like to locate a retail nursery selling our plants, please visit our Retail Nursery Locator.”
Matilija Nursery (Moorpark)
Matilija Nursery has the largest inventory of California native plants and non-native irises in Ventura County.
8225 Waters Road, Moorpark, CA 93021 (805) 523-8604
Flora Gardens (Ojai)
Small but growing collection of natives; largest selection in the Ojai area.
245 Baldwin Rd. Ojai, Ca 93023 (805) 640-0055
Tarweed Native Plants
Tarweed is a local, neighborhood resource for beautiful, water-wise, native plants in the Los Angeles, Glendale, Los Feliz, Pasadena, Silverlake and nearby areas. They are a home nursery and if you would like to visit them please email or call. They are usually available. For the mailing list, appointments, or questions please email or call [email protected], Joanne 626-705-8993 weekends, Paul 818-419-7034 weekdays.<br
Yerba Buena Nursery (Half Moon Bay)
Since 1960 Yerba Buena Nursery has grown and offered one of the most extensive selections of California Native Plants for the garden. Their 55+ years of experience with native plants will help you select and successfully grow these beautiful and locally originating plants in your yard. The link above will take you directly to their informative page on California Native Medicinal Plants.
Southern California Montane Botanic Garden(Oak Glen)
Operated by the nonprofit Wildlands Conservancy in Oak Glen, CA, it is one of the largest in the U.S. dedicated to native conifers and plants. Free admission. Located on Oak Glen Road, north of Interstate 10 and abut 15 miles northeast of Riverside, CA.
California Flora Nursery (Fulton, CA)
California Flora Nursery is a small, unconventional nursery devoted to California natives and plants appropriate for our California Mediterranean climate. Most plants are propagated and grown on-site. 2990 Somers Street, Fulton, CA 95439 (707) 528-8813
Tree of Life Nursery(San Juan Capistrano)
This nursery supplies over 500 species and varieties for landscaping and ecological restoration at the wholesale level. Located on 40 acres of the historic Rancho Mission Viejo in San Juan Capistrano, Tree of Life Nursery is the largest native plant supplier in the state. Street Address: 33201 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Strictly Medicinal Seeds(Williams, OR)
Strictly Medicinal, a family owned business located in the town of Williams in Southern Oregon, started Horizon Herbs, LLC, in 1985, growing gardens of diverse medicinal herbs. They started collecting the seeds from their gardens and selling them through a homey hand illustrated catalog. Many seasons have come and gone, moving them closer to their goal of understanding the appropriate habitats, germination requirements, life cycles and uses of this totally diverse offering of fascinating medicinal herb, permaculture and vegetable plants.
S&S Seeds (Carpinteria)
At the forefront of the collection of seeds for native California plants. Victor Schaff, recognizing the need for low water use plants, founded S&S Seeds in 1975. He used his experience in the collection and use of drought tolerant plant seeds to become a primary wholesale supplier to landscape contractors, government agencies and seed distributors throughout the United States and abroad.
OJAI-BASED NATIVE PLANT LANDSCAPERS
Green Goddess Gardens
Jessica Thompson and her staff do all facets of landscape design, installation and maintenance with an environmental aesthetic. She is an advocate of drought-tolerant, native plant landscapesand has been a frequent collaborator with Herb Walks.
LOCAL NATURAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS
LOCAL HERB SUPPLIERS
Awesome natural foods company, originally based in Ventura County. The link above goes straight to the Chia Seed page in their online store.
SCHOOLS OF HERBAL MEDICINE
The Ojai School of Herbal Studies
This 288-hour course takes place at Earth Island Herbs’ beautiful medicinal herb garden, nestled in Ojai’s East End at the foot of the Topa Topa mountains. Instructor/founder Carol Wade is a longtime friend and a mainstay of Ojai’s herbal community. She has been practicing as a professional herbalist and nutritional counselor for over 20 years, and is a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. A highly experienced, knowledgeable and warm teacher, Carol truly enjoys sharing her deep understanding of herbs with students and guiding them as they embark upon their own journey in herbal living.
Artemisia Academy of Herbal Arts & Healing
Santa Barbara’s only herb school, Artemisia Academy offers community based education and training for herbal enthusiasts in Santa Barbara and the Southern California region.
Blue Wind Botanical Medicine Clinic
Founder and instructor Tellur Fenner. Offering the following services for the Central California coast region: Western Clinical Herbalism, Custom Herbal Pharmacy, Lectures, Herb Walks, Multi-Day Botanical Field Trips, Medicine Making Workshops, Private Classes, Youth Programs, Botanical Land Surveys, Consulting Services, Edible & Medicinal Plant Images.
Southwest School of Botanical Medicine
The late Michael Moore’s website is still a wealth of information. You will find links to most of the info on wild plants under the red heading “Texts and Manuals by Michael Moore.” The SWSBM continues to offer distance learning programs that represent Michael Moore’s herbal wisdom and the unique knowledge he accumulated during three decades of teaching and a lifetime of studying medicinal plants. These programs, which include an extensive library of Michael in the classroom setting, are available in an easy to access, online video format.
East West School of Planetary Herbology
Renowned herbalists/authors Michael and Lesley Tierra’s school and website including ongoing newsletters, blog, etc.
NATIVE BUTTERFLY, WILDLIFE & NATURAL HISTORY INFO
FAVORITE BLOGS AND OTHER INTERESTING LOCAL WEBSITES
Songs of the Wilderness
James Wapotich is a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service and the author of the Santa Barbara News-Press hiking column, Trail Quest. He leads guided hikes and has hiked many of the trails in our local backcountry. His News-Press articles about local trails, natural history, and much more are published here on his own blog.
Jack Elliott’s Santa Barbara Adventure
The perfect weblog for the avid hiker, the armchair traveler looking for a one-of-these-days challenge, or anyone content to just sit back and let an excellent writer describe his adventures in the Ojai-Santa Barbara backcountry.
The Ojai Rambler
Although he hasn’t published since January, 2016, Ron Singer’s entertaining and informative blog about Ojai trails, native plants, the OVLC native plant nursery, local preservation efforts, and, of course, his dog Luke, is still full of interesting stuff. “Don’t forget to stop and smell the ceanothus.”
TRAIL, HIKING, AND WEATHER INFO
Songs of the Wilderness
James Wapotich is a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service and the author of the Santa Barbara News-Press hiking column, Trail Quest. He leads guided hikes and has hiked many of the trails in our local backcountry. His News-Press articles about local trails, natural history, and much more are published here on his own blog.Santa Barbara Hikes
LOCAL STEWARDS OF NATIVE PLANTS, WILDLIFE & THE PLANET
California Native Plant Society
The California Native Plant Society works to protect California’s native plant heritage and preserve it for future generations. Their nearly 10,000 members promote native plant appreciation, research, education, and conservation through five statewide programs and 33 regional chapters in California.
California Native Plant Society – Channel Islands Chapter
Our local Ventura County CNPS chapter. Please consider joining!
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
Outstanding local conservation group responsible for preserving native habitat on the Ventura River Preserve, Ojai Meadows Preserve, and several other areas. Please consider joining!
Los Padres ForestWatch
Los Padres ForestWatch is the only local nonprofit organization protecting wildlife, wilderness, and clean water throughout the Los Padres National Forest, the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and other public lands along California’s central coast for the benefit of our communities and future generations.
Ojai Trees: Community Forestry for the Ojai Valley
Ojai Trees is a grass-roots, non-profit, all-volunteer community forestry group that educates, trains and support citizens as they plant and care for trees and improve the neighborhood in which they live, work, learn and play. Ojai Trees assists ordinary citizens in planting trees on their property and in their neighborhood. Their approach is to work within neighborhoods by training ” Neighborhood Foresters.”
Keep The Sespe Wild
Keep the Sespe Wild is a non-profit watershed conservation organization begun early in 1988, to preserve Sespe Creek, one of Southern California’s last free-flowing rivers.
Ventura River Watershed Council
The Ventura River Watershed Council is an open group of some 40 organizations, including local, state and federal agencies, water and sanitation districts, environmental and educational non-profits, agricultural organizations, community volunteer groups, as well as engineers, biologists, businesses and private citizens. As the stakeholder group for a variety of local watershed planning efforts, the watershed council is working on development of a watershed management plan for the Ventura River watershed.
Ventura Land Trust
Formerly Ventura Hillsides Conservancy
Ojai Ranger District, U. S. Forest Service
1190 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, CA 93023
VOICE: (805) 646-4348
FAX: (805) 646-0484
Hours: 9:00am – 4:00pm Monday – Friday
Office Closed for Lunch from 12:30-1:30
Friends of the Santa Clara River
Non-profit, public interest organization dedicated to the protection, enhancement and management of the resources of the Santa Clara River
California Chaparral Institute
The Chaparral Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, research, and educational organization dedicated to the preservation of native shrubland habitats throughout the world and supporting the creative spirit as inspired by nature.
Ojai Raptor Center
The Ojai Raptor Center is dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of orphaned and injured birds of prey and to providing education programs to teach about raptors and our shared environment, reduce common hazards to wildlife and decrease the number of raptors that require assistance.
KIDS IN NATURE
Ventura WILD is a wilderness discovery program connecting children to nature in Ventura and Ojai’s most treasured wilderness and natural places. All staff are experienced and trained facilitators, with years of working with children with many amazing organizations and with their own families. All staff have years of experience taking children into diverse natural settings and have a rich variety of educational and experiential backgrounds to bring to this program. Heather King, Co-founder and Director.
Ojai, CA-based C.R.E.W. youth have refurbished over 600 miles of Forest Service & private trails, restored several campgrounds, planted hundreds of trees, re-vegetated several hundred thousand square feet of wild land & removed substantial invasive plant acreage. They also provide fire prevention services to the cities of Ojai, Meiners Oaks and Santa Paula, as well as U.S.F.S. and Ventura County Fire Departments.
Once Upon a Watershed
Once Upon a Watershed is a project of Oak Grove School in partnership with the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and the Ojai and Ventura Unified School Districts with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s “B-WET” grant program. This project provides hands-on watershed education, restoration, and stewardship experience to 4th, 5th and 6th grade students in the Ventura River Watershed. Once Upon a Watershed seeks to awaken wonder, appreciation, discovery and connection with the natural world. Through hands-on watershed education, restoration, and stewardship experiences, their programs cultivate a sense of shared responsibility for our whole earth system, instilling confidence and hope by empowering young people to make a real difference at the local watershed scale.
Wilderness Youth Project
Wilderness Youth Project (WYP) promotes meaningful social change through an innovative, nature-based curriculum and mentoring program based in Santa Barbara. “Our programs return children to the traditions of childhood: outdoor time, child-centered exploration, skill/self-esteem development and connection with the natural world. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, WYP provides scholarships to 64% of our participants thanks to the support of community members like you.”
R. M. Pyles Boys Camp
From their website: Located in the beautiful Sequoia National Monument nestled among the Redwoods, Pyles Boys Camp offers everything a young man could want and more! Great activities – horseback riding, ROPES Course, archery, athletics, arts and crafts, a full nature and stargazing program and a fabulous 5 day wilderness trip to our own Lion Meadow in the Golden Trout Wilderness area… hiking, campfires and great fun with campers and staff alike.
Parents Guide to Nature
The kids at the W. B. Goodwin Community Center in Asheville, NC recommended this page. It’s loaded with great links to ideas and practical suggestions for getting kids out into nature. Topics include ways to limit TV and computer time, how to plan a nature scavenger hunt, creating a fun and safe place for kids to play and much more. Thanks, kids!
Learning About Insects on the Playground
For kids of all ages from 3-99, this is a great place to start learning about insects. Thanks to Willow Underhill of the Old Louisville Student Conservation Association for recommending it on behalf of her 3-year-old son Landon.
RECOMMENDED OJAI LODGING
Sespe Wilderness Retreat House
This totally unique place is made to order for people who want to be in the mountains but still like the comforts of home. From the website: “Unplug from the stressful World! Come relax in this 2 Bedroom + 2 Bath 1200 sq. ft. OFF-THE-GRID, Hidden Mountain Home w/ XL Deck, Ramp, Campfire Yard and STUNNING 360 degree Mountain Views! Very Peaceful, Quiet, PRIVATE and Secluded. Surrounded by Los Padres National Forest+ 2 Creeks (seasonal swimming hole). Private Road with Locked Gate. 30 minute drive North of Ojai.”
Casa Ojai Inn
Located at 1302 East Ojai Avenue, just 3 minutes by car from downtown Ojai. Casa Ojai Inn has newly renovated rooms and features upgraded amenities, including the Simmons “Ojai” bed. Situated near beautiful Los Padres National Forest, the hotel offers breathtaking views, quality amenities, luxurious accommodations and great customer service. They also allow pets in designated rooms for a small additional charge. Casa Ojai offers a 15% discount to Herb Walks, MediCannaCon, and Ojai Herbal Symposium attendees. Just mention the “Special Event Rate” to the receptionist when booking on the phone.
There is more affordable but still nice lodging at the Oakridge Inn in Oakview, about 5 miles south of Ojai. They are more likely to have rooms when downtown Ojai is sold out and they offer my guests a 10% discount.
From the Blue Iguana website: “The Blue Iguana Inn of Ojai, California, brings the same distinctive, artistic character to your leisure, romance or business accommodation. Called ‘Hip and Stylish’ by Sunset Magazine, the Blue Iguana Inn is a charming old-world style boutique villa-inn. Ideally located just two minutes to the historic Ojai village and 12 minutes to the Pacific Ocean, the ‘Blue’ is the perfect destination for everyone who seeks unsurpassed comfort, affordable richness and unique, artistic style.”
From the Emerald Iguana website: “Enter through hand-carved stone pillars, under a canopy of live oak, sycamore and pepper trees, into a peaceful garden oasis. A cascade of soothing water trickles from the mouth of a magnificently tiled Emerald Iguana fountain, welcoming visitors to Ojai’s most enchanting hideaway. Definitely not the typical hotel, this romantic destination provides a tranquil retreat for the discriminating traveler. The Emerald Iguana Inn offers relaxation, privacy and the opportunity to rejuvenate your mind and spirit in luxury and comfort.”
Ojai Valley Escapes
Ojai Valley Escapes is the premier choice for a renowned collection of ultra-luxurious vacation rentals available for short-term stays in the heart of the Ojai Valley. All of their vacation rentals feature beautiful decor, are fully equipped, and are located in private, quiet Ojai settings.
MY WEB SUPPORT SYSTEM
Laura is a graphic designer who also does web design with the eye of an artist.
Evan designed the logo at the top of my website pages, including drawing the caricature. He’s a great graphic artist and all-around good guy based in Ojai.