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The deliciously nutty seeds of Black Sage ( Salvia mellifera) are abundant in Matilija Canyon and other trails that take us into the Coastal Sage Scrub and Chaparral plant communities. New plants can be propagated from these seeds. The birds, bees and butterflies will thank you. Click on the photo for a CNPS page on growing Black Sage.
May-June 2016 Newsletter
The Hill Canyon Trail invites us to explore Hawk Canyon. Photo: Jess Starwood
Coming Events !!
Rose Valley Creek below the Falls: March 12, 2016
The Falls are calling again

Return with me to scenic Rose Valley for a Nature Hike on Saturday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will begin with a hike up Howard Creek Trail on the north side of Nordhoff Ridge, then a stop to identify plants at another creekside location, followed by a lunch break at Rose Valley Campground and a shaded walk of 0.5 mile each way to the Falls.

The Wild Roses will be blooming and we will see and smell aromatic California Bay trees and search for the elusive Sweet Cicely and California Violet on the trail to the Falls.

Read more and register here.
The New Wildcrafted Cuisine by Pascal Baudar
To borrow an expression from my youth, it's safe to say that Pascal Baudar blew everyone's mind with his wild brews and foraged snacks at our jointly hosted event in Ojai in April. Now I have his amazing book in my bookstore.

Just send me an email if you're attending a walk or hike soon and I'll hold a copy for you and save you the shipping cost.

Check out Pascal's book in the Herb Walks bookstore here.
Tiger Swallowtail on Yerba Santa in Matilija Canyon
Memorial Day Nature Hike to Matilija Camp
My friends who work weekends or have other weekend commitments have requested another Monday hike so we’re doing it again. On Monday, May 30, we’ll walk 2 miles into Matilija Campground. This trail will take us into the Matilija Wilderness, one of my favorite locations in the Los Padres National Forest. The views of the surrounding mountains are stunning and there is a great diversity of riparian and chaparral life to identify, sample and discuss.

A very special guest, Ojai naturalist Bruce Vincent, will join us for the first mile or so to share his vast knowledge of local birds and wildlife and explain the unique topography and hydrology of the Matilija drainage.

Read more and register here.
Jim and Lanny in Wheeler Gorge. Photo: Keith Farrar
Medicinal Plant Weekend with Dr. James Adams of USC School of Pharmacy on June 4-5
At the time of this writing there are just 4 spaces left for our first-ever, in-depth Medicinal Plant Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5 with special guest Dr. James Adams of USC School of Pharmacy.

Read more and register here.
Nearsightedness has become an epidemic in China and elsewhere.
How hiking can prevent myopia
Thanks again to Dr. Jimmy Byun for sharing another article confirming the healthful benefits of hiking in nature. The photo above depicts the statement from this article that "in China, rates [of myopia] have increased from 10–20 percent 60 years ago to as many as 90 percent of young adults today. The rates of myopia in the U.S. and Europe have doubled during the same time period."

Researchers "found that children who spent less time outside were more likely to develop myopia."

Read the entire article here.
Hawk Canyon Trail in T.O. Photo: Jess Starwood
Discover Hawk Canyon with us

On Saturday, June 11, I'm heading south from Ojai for a change of scenery as I continue my 40th anniversary tour of Herb Walks. Local Conejo Valley herbalist and forager Jess Starwood will be our special guest guide for this hike. Our destination is the lush forest of Hawk Canyon in the Western Plateau area southwest of Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks.

The Hill Canyon and Hawk Canyon trails offer lots of plant and animal diversity as we'll be traveling through Sage Scrub, Chaparral, Oak Woodland and Riparian habitats.

Read more and register here.
Can you find yourself in this group photo from the Fall 2013 Nature Hike on Pine Mountain?
Celebrate the Solstice on Pine Mountain
Help me celebrate the 40th anniversary of Herb Walks with a new offering: a Summer Solstice Nature Hike on Pine Mountain. 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. 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.” And he’s only talking about the trail, not the breathtaking views.

Read more and register here.
Tarrah's Artful Herbal Notes
New Herb Walks friend Tarrah Toland attended the Foraging Walk and Primitive Herbal Brewing with Pascal Baudar, her first event with me, on April 30. It’s not surprising that she came away from that day inspired. Still, I was blown away by the notes she sent afterwards.

Read my blog post and see all her notes here.
Please visit to stay updated on new events.
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