Saturdays, Oct. 26-Nov. 16
Learn from local experts how to read the landscape and trails, and become more familiar with the native plants and animals of our area through this immersive class.
The Santa Barbara and Ojai backcountry offers more than 500,000 acres of designated wilderness and hundreds of miles of trails to explore, and yet often the biggest obstacle to venturing out on the land or going deeper into nature is simply having the skills and confidence to get started.
Through this immersive four Saturday workshop, you will learn how to read the landscape and trails; become more familiar with the edible and medical plants of our region; learn about the animals of our area and how to recognize their tracks; and build skills and awareness that allow you to feel more at home in the woods.
Each class takes place outside, on one of our local trails, and provides a mix of hands on instruction, immersive exercises, and council sharing circles that allows for learning on many levels.
Reading the Landscape
October 26th, 9AM-2PM
Learn how to orient yourself to the local landscape, read the topography, and create your own mental maps. Discover how to navigate the backcountry without the use of a compass or GPS; and learn to remove the word lost from your vocabulary.
Animal Tracks and Tracking
November 2nd, 9AM-2PM
Our backcountry is home to a rich variety of animals that often goes unseen by us. Join local tracker and naturalist Mike Kresky as we learn about these animals and their relationship to the land. Learn how to recognize some of the common tracks of our local mammals, birds, and even reptiles.
Tuning into the wildlife around us can deepen our awareness of place and through our senses connect us to the aliveness of the natural world.
Edible and Medicinal Plants
November 9th, 9AM-2PM
Venturing out onto the land is even more rewarding when we take time to develop a meaningful connection with nature.
Join local plant expert Lanny Kaufer as we learn about the edible and medicinal plants in our area. Many of these plants were first used by the Chumash and have a rich ethnobotanical history.
Plants are great teachers of how to adapt to a particular place and move with the seasons. Learn how to recognize a number of our native plants; where to find them; and their different uses.
November 16th, 9AM-2PM
Many of our local trails are overgrown, particularly those off the beaten path.
Learn how to read the trails, practice route-finding, and develop your own sense of “body radar” to help you navigate in the wilderness. We will work with how to create a trail narrative and interpret the landscape, and begin to see nature as an ally and how to hone and trust your senses.
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.
Lanny Kaufer regularly leads Herb Walks and Nature Hikes in Ojai and Santa Barbara and recently celebrated his 40th year of teaching people about edible and medicinal plants. He has studied with William LeSassier and has led herb walks with the late Chumash plant expert Juanita Centeno and Dr. Jim Adams of the USC School of Pharmacy. www.herbwalks.com
Mike Kresky is an accomplished naturalist and wildlife tracker. He co-authored the field guide Animal Tracks and Scat of California and has completed the intensive Kamana Naturalist Training Program. He leads workshops on tracking and has explored much of the local backcountry.
All four Saturday classes take place on our local trails.
To sign up or for more information, please contact:
James (805) 729-4250 [email protected]
Workshop is $175 per person, or bring a friend and both $150 each.
Must be able to comfortably hike 2-3 miles