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June 2024 HerbWalks & OjaiHerbal Newsletter

You'll find the new location of the Dear Readers column just below the June Events images. Thanks, Lanny

June Events
 Nature Education Walk at Taft Preserve
Saturday, June 8
My monthly Natural History Walks at Taft Nature Preserve have been renamed "Nature Education Walks" but the content and location are still the same. Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve has become a must-see part of the far-reaching appeal of the Ojai Valley. Seeing is believing. Please see the article below or click on the photo above to learn more.
 Harvesting & Processing Herbs Class
at Ema's Herbs in Ventura
Sunday, June 9


Please join me from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. for the second of my three 2-hour classes as part of the Herbalism Course at Ema's Herbs in Ventura. This Sunday's subject is "Harvesting and Processing Herbs." I'll also share some tips and resources for growing your own medicinal herbs.


Ema’s Herbs is offering an 8-month course that focuses on Herbal Medicine Preparation, Holistic Health Principles, and Herbal Traditions for the Bioregion. Starting in May and going until November, they hope to "help people access herbal knowledge to address health needs and support each of their communities to uplift those around them." My final two Sunday afternoon classes on June 9 and October 6 are part of that course. 


NOTE: Enrollment in the full 8-month course is closed now but you can drop in to any class for $20. Click here or on the image above to sign up.

 Rose Valley Falls Herb Walk
Saturday, June 15
Between fires, road closures, and social distancing it's been 7 years (!) since I led an herb walk to what is arguably THE scenic wonder of the Ojai area: Rose Valley Falls. Check out the article below or click on the photo above to read more and register.
 Full Moon Sunset Nature Hike & After-Party
Wednesday, June 20
Click on the photo to read more and sign up to join me and Rondia for our signature monthly event. Experience how we take fun-filled learning to the next level with a plant hike, moonrise viewing, and after-party at Ojai Valley Brewery's heated outdoor patio where we sample beers crafted with local herbs while enjoying a bowl of Rondia's vegetarian chili. 
Photo: Full moon rising over Sulphur Mountain by Roshelle Castillo
 Summer Solstice Nature Hike on Pine Mountain
Saturday, June 22
If you’ve ever walked or hiked with me, you’ve probably heard me rave about the special beauty of Pine Mountain. Experience it for yourself on our annual Summer Solstice Nature Hike on the Reyes Peak Trail. 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(!). Read the article below or click on the photo to read more.
Photo of the Channel Islands seen from our destination on Pine Mountain by Erika Klohe
 Summer Medicinal Plant Workshop with Professor Emeritus James Adams of
USC School of Pharmacy
Saturday, June 23
Please join me and special guest Jim Adams for a Summer Medicinal Plant Workshop in Ojai. Dr. Adams has been a popular presenter at my events for the past 12 years. Now that he has retired from USC and moved to the Bay Area, he is here less frequently. This may be his only Ojai workshop this year so I encourage you to learn from him when you have the opportunity. Please read the article below or click on the photo of Jim above to learn more.
You can order my book by visiting this link or clicking on the book cover image above. Then at checkout you can use the “Order notes (optional)” field to request a simple autograph or a book signed to you or that special person who's receiving it as a gift. This personal touch is something not available when purchasing on Amazon. Plus you can support my authorship financially by buying directly from me. Thank you! 
If you're out and about at any of these outstanding businesses (and please do support them!), you can find my book on the shelf: in Ojai at Evergreen WellnessFarmer & the Cook, Krotona Quest BookshopOjai Cannabis Company, Ojai Valley Brewery, Ojai Valley MuseumRainbow Bridge, Sespe Creek Collective, and Westridge Market Midtown; in Ventura at Ema's Herbs, Green Thumb NurseryTimbre Books, and Ventura Spiritsin Sun Valley at Theodore Payne Foundation;  in Goleta at Island Seed & Feed; and, among many other places, at REI stores and Barnes & Noble locations throughout California. (All store names above are listed in alphabetical order within each city.)
If you own my book or you're considering it, here's another reminder to click on the following link for the free hyperlinked bibliography I created to save you the hassle of copying long URLs from the printed page to your browser for the web sources cited in the book.

Welcome to June of 2024 and the HerbWalks & OjaiHerbal newsletter. When we left off this discussion in the May newsletter I had shared reader Eric T.’s comments on our human relationship with the natural world and, specifically, with plants that we’ve categorized as weeds. Many of us find ourselves wanting to do the right things to mitigate and repair the damage we and our ancestors have done to the rest of Earth’s species and, most likely, to the planet’s climate as well. Eric and I seem to agree that this work begins with repairing our relationship with Mother Nature herself.


Shortly after that, my L. A. Times subscription synchronistically showed me an opinion piece by writer and journalist Ambreen Ali entitled “‘My Octopus Teacher' director takes a cold plunge to reconnect with nature in 'Amphibious Soul.’” The piece is her review of a memoir, “Amphibious Soul,” by Craig Foster, known for his Oscar-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher. (If you’ve not seen this amazing film I strongly urge you to do so.) In her op-ed, Ali agrees with Foster that developing a relationship with the natural surroundings wherever we live is important to feeling balanced. And she quotes him as writing, “If humans just went extinct, this whole planet would be revived. Big Mother is running the show, not us.”


Since then, I received a supportive and on-target response to this column from Nessa Meshkaty, MD, a local Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics trained Physician. For a while now, I’ve been one of 300 subscribers to her insightful blog, “What’s Growing on?” at Nessa (I hope Dr. Meshkaty is okay with that) shared a quote in her May 19 blog from the late British neurologist and naturalist Oliver Sacks, author of many books including Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. She quoted him as writing, “Clearly, nature calls to something very deep in us. Biophilia, the love of nature and living things, is an essential part of the human condition. Hortophilia, the desire to interact with, manage and tend nature, is also deeply instilled in us.”


The full quote from Sacks’ posthumous 2019 New York Times opinion piece on “The Healing Power of Gardens” continues, “The role that nature plays in health and healing becomes even more critical for people working long days in windowless offices, for those living in city neighborhoods without access to green spaces, for children in city schools or for those in institutional settings such as nursing homes. The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological. I have no doubt that they reflect deep changes in the brain’s physiology, and perhaps even its structure.”


The term “biophilia” has a rich history of use since first appearing in the 1960s but “hortophilia” is a new one, not yet in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.  As a confirmed logophile (lover of words), biophile, and hortophile, I love and embrace all three of those words. They reaffirm the work I have been doing for almost 50 years, sharing my love of nature and plants with others outside on the preserves and trails. I’m thankful that Taft Gardens and Nature Preserve has embraced those concepts by inviting me to lead Nature Education Walks there and also by hosting the vital work of ANFT-Certified Nature & Forest Therapy Guide Elena Rios.


On June 22, Taft Gardens is presenting ethnobotanist, writer, and gatherer Kat Anderson, author of Tending the Wild, for an informative and timely talk: "Connecting to Ancestral Ways of Relating to the Earth: What Native California Elders Share about Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Stewardship Practices.” See the link to Taft Gardens calendar in the Other Local Events of Interest column below. Register soon because this one is certain to sell out.


Who or what has inspired your nature connection lately? Please share with me (with your name or anonymously) to continue this conversation.


Thanks for reading,



Herb Walks Events
Herb Walks with Lanny Kaufer is California Acupuncture Board Provider #1526 
One more opportunity for California
LAc's to earn CEUs at Herb Walks events 
I'm offering one more event this year with Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for licensed California acupuncturists. Please visit the link below for more information and share this opportunity with any acupuncturists you know:
Click on this photo to learn more and sign up.
Saturday, June 8, is the last nature walk at Taft Preserve until the fall 

Please join me for the third and last of this spring’s  Nature Education Walks at Taft Nature Preserve on Saturday, June 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. We will explore trails through the wild parts of the property, identify and discuss native plants, and observe birds and animal tracks in the context of local ecology. Nature Education Walks at Taft Preserve will resume in September.


Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve was featured in an L. A. Times article on “The 16 Most Beautiful and Inviting Public Gardens in Southern California” and included in the RedBook Magazine list of "The 12 Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens in the United States."


Click on the image above or visit this link to learn more about the June 8 walk.

View from a distance of Rose Valley Falls Photo: Lanny Kaufer
We're finally going back to Rose Valley Falls on June 15

Please join me for an Herb Walk on Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You will experience a local scenic wonder 300 feet high and learn about Rose Valley’s diverse plant communities.


The outing will begin with a stop at Upper Rose Valley Lake followed by a walk through Rose Valley Campground and a shaded walk of 1/2 mile each way to the Falls.


We will smell aromatic California Bay trees, see stunning Crimson Columbines growing on the Falls, and search for the elusive Sweet Cicely and California Violet herbs on the trail to the Falls. It’s still a great time of year to see a variety of wildflowers.

Click here to learn more and register.
Click on the photo above by Judy Cheske to learn about the June Full Moon Sunset Nature Hike & After-Party on Thursday, June 20.
Mixed conifer forest on Pine Mountain. Photo: Peter Green
The mountains are calling! Answer their call on Sunday, June 23
Pine Mountain Road is open just a few months out of the year, from the time the snow melts in late spring to the next winter's first snow. That's why every year I'm excited to be able to get back up there on the Summer Solstice and share my favorite place with all of you.
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.”

We will hike on a well-used trail through Mixed Conifer Forest habitat, stopping often to identify and discuss native plants, birds and wildlife.


This intermediate level hike is suitable for moderately experienced hikers or physically fit beginners. There will be some elevation gain and loss skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, sometimes traversing steep hillsides on a narrow trail. The total hiking distance will be about 3 miles.


Click on the photo above or this link to read more and register.

Sierra Club's May-June Condor Call, edited by "Condor John" Hankins. Cover painting by Chris Potter.
Enrique, Jim and Michelle at a pandemic-era medicinal plant workshop. Click on it to enlarge.
Jim Adams and his co-authors will be here for a reunion and Medicinal Plant Workshop on Sunday, June 23

Please join me and special guest Professor Emeritus James Adams of USC School of Pharmacy for a Summer Medicinal Plant Workshop in Ojai on Sunday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This workshop is based on Jim’s ground-breaking pharmacological studies on local native plants and his personal commitment to sharing the traditional medicinal practices he learned from Chumash healer Cecilia Garcia. 

Jim will be joined by plant educator Enrique Villaseñor and acupuncturist Michelle Wong, co-authors with him of Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West, Fourth Edition .

ACUPUNCTURE CEUs: This course has been approved by the California Acupuncture Board, Provider Number 1526, for 6 hours of continuing education. 

To read more and register with or without the CEUs, click on the image above or this link.

Other Local Events of Interest
Most of the Ojai Ranger District (ORD) of the Los Padres National Forest        is open. Only the Matilija Wilderness remains off-limits because Matilija Canyon road is closed by CalTrans.
 Pine Mountain campgrounds and trails, Piedra Blanca Trailhead, and Nordhoff Ridge Road are open again for the summer season!
For the latest complete info on Ojai District road closures, trails, campgrounds, permits and more, click on the USFS logo above. You can navigate to the. Santa Barbara District and others from there.
The Ojai Ranger Station/District Office is now open Thursday through Saturday from 9:00am - 2:00pm.
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