OVLC Open Spaces Newsletter - Summer 2019

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OPEN SPACES N ewsletter S ummer 2019 vol 26 num 3


Welcome! We hope you enjoy this issue of OPEN SPACES. We have lots of exciting news to share—including a new piece of land and announcing our new Executive Director! Cover: Valley oak on the Ojai Meadows Preserve at night by Nathan Wickstrum.

Pages 8-9 This is our 5th year hosting Mountainfilm on Tour. If you haven’t joined us at OVS for our fantastic movie night under the stars you have been missing out! Be sure to check out Under the Open Sky as well—we have some fascinating guests this year!

Winter and spring rains brought spectacular blooms on the preserves this spring: • woolly bluecurls • water still flowing in the Ventura River • lots of critters abound Luckily we had tons of volunteers helping with nearly two projects a week!

Introducing Tom Maloney, OVLC Executive Director

The staff and Board of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC) are excited to introduce Tom Maloney as our new Executive Director. His background in Economics and Resources Management and Administration, along with 25 years of conservation experience, make him the ideal candidate to lead the OVLC. “We are fortunate that Tom will be joining our conservation community. He has the skills and experience to revitalize our land acquisition program and guide our strategic vision for the future,” Roger Essick, OVLC Board President and Interim Executive Director. During his distinguished career, Tom worked for numerous conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, and The Tejon Ranch Conservancy. During his six years as the Executive Director of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, he led the acquisition of over 100,000 acres of working lands conservation easements, wrote, negotiated and received a $15.7 million state grant for land acquisition, led the accreditation proces,s and raised over $2 million in private support for the conservancy. Tom credits much of his success to community engagement and connections. He looks forward to forming strong ties to the community. “Tom, and his wife Andrea, will be excellent additions to our community. They are passionate about protecting Ojai’s open spaces, and are excited to integrate themselves into all things Ojai,” Tania Parker, OVLC Deputy Director. Tom received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Boston University and his Masters of Science in Resources Management and Administration from Antioch University New England. In 2008, he completed The Nature Conservancy’s Sawhill Leadership Excellence Program, a year-long curriculum focused on building leadership competencies and managing for change. Tom was also part of a similar training with the Land Trust Alliance. When not working, Tom can be found out on the land. He is an ardent birder, hiker and naturalist, as well as an inept surfer. He is excited to get to know Ojai and plans to lead bird walks with longtime OVLC supporter Jesse Grantham. Tom and Andrea will officially join the OVLC on October 1, 2019, but plan to attend Under the Open Sky (September 20) and Mountainfilm on Tour (September 21), so please keep an eye out for them and help us welcome them to our community.

Protecting your views, trails, water and wildlife

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32 More Acres Protected in the Ventura River

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC) has purchased 32 acres of land just south of the Ventura River Preserve. The Ventura River corridor offers the greatest concentration of resource value of any area in the Ojai Valley, and thus is one of our priority conservation areas. This new property, which includes a quarter mile of the Ventura River, brings us one step closer to permanently protecting the Ventura River floodplain, its major tributaries, and adjacent lands. This land is quintessential river bottom and its permanent protection benefits the river system. The OVLC has now protected over four miles of the Ventura River. Protecting the Ventura River is part of a vision that is shared by a coalition of local groups including the OVLC, state agencies, and a national conservation organization. Our goal is to create a Ventura River Parkway—a publicly accessible and continuous network of parks, trails, and natural areas along the lower 16 miles of the river from Ojai to the ocean. Enhancing our sense of place and linking neighborhoods to nature is just part of the parkway plan. The parkway will also preserve this historic waterway, protect water quality, conserve streamside and aquatic habitat, and restore sensitive floodplains. Since people first inhabited this valley, the Ventura River has been an invaluable water source and a gathering place. Today, our three trailheads in the Ventura River Preserve offer rare access to the river. Each year tens of thousands of people visit the Ventura River Preserve. The popularity of this preserve exemplifies the need for people to connect with nature and the river. The OVLC was able to purchase this property through generous donations from our community. We thank you for your support in protecting Ojai’s open space and helping us protect another piece of the parkway dream. Page 4

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

OPEN SPACES The newsletter of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

WELCOME NEW DONORS! Anonymous Eileen & Andrew Atkinson Lisa Baum & Mark Sausser Huntra Becket Brandon & Catherine Bencomo R.A. & A.P. Bernhoft Ryan Blatz John & Laurie Bodine Loren Bouchard Dwayne & Marilyn Bower John Brokaw Beth & Bruce Brown Don Brusselars Terra Candiloro Michele Cardella Michelle Cassel Don Cervantes Denise Chacon Dan Chase Michael Price & Leslie Clark Avery Colborn Gail Cooley Annette Cooper Katherine Crook Michael Daley Jack & Traci David Laura Denne Kristina & Gary Duncan Roger Erickson Lori Farrar

Drew Ferrie Robin Fontana Kent Dalit Fresco Celeste Gabriele Ronne Grasberger Margaret Grossman Kate Hadeka Liberty Hanson Wild Dean Hazard David & Vicki Hunt Ryan Imhof Deneille Ingram Richard Jones Owen & Jaimie Judkins David Kramer Christina Lee Dai Leon Erick & Jen Lord Brigitte Lovell Michael Marks David Mayer Susan & Dwayne McCulloch Marty McDonald Diane Sharani McLaughlin Jonelle Miller Sarah Morrow Ojai Pottery and Clay School Dan Parziale Amanda Peacock Frances Perez

Protecting your views, trails, water and wildlife

Pippa’s Print Shop Kim & Mike Regan Lynn & Ron Render Elena Rios Sydney Robertson Carrie Ruscheinsky Peter Schreiner Dolores Seely Sheryl Shushan Scott Silver Tracee Sorrentino Adrienne & Christopher Stephens Karen Storey Dana Stroh Elaine Sweet Danielle Thulin Irene Tirella Pam Tonucci

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Roger Essick, President Stefanie Coeler, Vice President Martha Groszewski, Treasurer Bret Bradigan, Secretary Bill Brothers Sandy Buechley Wyatt Harris Phil Moncharsh Don Reed Meredy Benson Rice Sarah Sheshunoff Roger Wachtell STAFF Tom Maloney, Executive Director Tania Parker, Deputy Director Jill Lashly, Conservation Director Brendan Taylor, Stewardship Director Xena Grossman, Development Associate Emmie Pinedo, Development Assistant Nathan Wickstrum, Stewardship Manager Niko Georghiou, Senior Restor. Specialist Destinee Rabelo, Restoration Specialist Caitlyn Barrera, Restoration Specialist Ron Singer, Nursery Manager Mission: The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy is a community-based nonprofit organization working with partners to permanently protect the open space, natural scenic beauty, wildlife, habitat, and watershed of the Ojai Valley for current and future generations. STAY CURRENT WITH THE OVLC: OVLC.ORG / FIND US ON FACEBOOK

William Tully Kathy Walker William Weirick Kay Wilson Susan Yarnell Sienna Yoast Rosalie Zabilla Acknowledgments: 4/18/19—8/11/19

Dragonfly on the Ventura River Preserve and Pink Moment photos by Nathan Wickstrum.

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Goodbye from outgoing Executive Director Brian Stark After nine fruitful years of serving the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC), the last four and a half of which as Executive Director, I left the organization at the end of May to accept the position of Administrator for the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency in Thousand Oaks. I’m excited to steward a significant conservation portfolio so close to my home in Thousand Oaks, and to care for the open spaces I use every weekend. Still, I’m leaving an organization that I love and a special community that is united toward conservation. I am proud of how far we have come in building a strong and resilient organization and attracting such a talented staff and Board. I will be departing knowing that the OVLC will continue to grow and evolve to meet current and future conservation needs of Ojai. Over the years I have met so many people who are passionate about local open spaces and have placed their trust in the OVLC to protect and care for them. Together, we have bolstered a community organization that will protect Ojai’s open spaces forever. I’m particularly proud of the OVLC’s national accreditation through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. This placed the OVLC among the nation’s most-respected land trusts and the process changed the way we think about the permanence of our organization and our mission. I’ve also seen big changes on our preserves through the OVLC’s restoration and stewardship efforts. I spent my first five years managing large-scale projects on OVLC Preserves. At the Ventura River Preserve we re-routed Rice Creek back to its natural location after 90 years of diversion. I was fortunate to guide the project to restore oak woodlands and wetlands at the Ojai Meadows Preserve for several years. And I’m still amazed every day how our small staff ensures safe access to 2,000 acres of open space and 27 miles of quality trails. The greatest pleasure of working at the OVLC has been time spent with our dedicated staff and those that give their time and talents to serve on the OVLC Board. I have confidence in them to maintain the high standards the OVLC is known for, and to further our mission to protect Ojai’s views, trails, water, and wildlife. I look forward to watching the OVLC thrive and I plan to stay involved

From the top: Brian Stark, outgoing Executive Director; Brian and Rick Bisaccia watching Rice Creek flow for the first time since restoration; Brian and volunteer Stuart Niebel preparing to turn in the accreditation binders.

as a donor and volunteer. Our volunteers are the foundation upon which the OVLC stands. I have always appreciated all the work our volunteers accomplish, and I will be honored to count myself as one in the future. None of my accomplishments would have been possible without the support of the Ojai community. Thank you again for making local conservation a priority and for supporting the OVLC during my tenure here. Sincerely,

Brian Stark Page 6

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

A Dinner Celebrating our Legacy to Ojai

IN HONOR OF: Caitlyn Barrera (OVLC field crew member) “Congratulations on your new job!” From Jan Chase

Michael Taylor’s birthday

From Joanie Annillo, Pam Cofer, Ruben Estrada, Kate Grant, Heather Holden, Jade Hudson, Joanie Nygren, & Joyce Vaught

As the sun set over the Ojai Valley, a special group gathered at the Ojai Retreat for dinner and one of the best views in the valley. It was the first gathering of the Pushing up Poppies Legacy Giving Club—a group of individuals who have committed to leaving a legacy for Ojai after they are gone. My husband and I are leaving a percentage of an IRA to the OVLC. This bequest is a simple way for us to support the ongoing protection and stewardship of our open spaces after we are gone. We made this commitment six years ago when I began working at the OVLC, and last month I finally got to celebrate with other community members who have also committed to leaving a legacy for Ojai. Together, we form the Pushing up Poppies Legacy Giving Club, and together we are ensuring that Ojai’s open spaces will be protected forever. The impact we will make together is greater than any one of us could ever do alone, and I am honored to count myself among you. - Tania Parker, OVLC Deputy Director, Pushing Up Poppies Member


Christy Hunter’s birthday

From Suza Francina, Becca Fuchs, and Christy & Karl Hunter

Christopher Grant’s birthday From Cathie Ferro

Juniper Lashly

From Jill Forman & David Young

Brian Stark

From Chet & Mellanie Hilgers

Katie at Topa Mountain Winery “Thank you, Katie, for returning my glasses from the Mirk wedding!” From Jerry O’Brien

With gratitude to the Glenn Children From Brian & Chris Zeiner

IN MEMORY OF: Joan Weiss Landfield

From Barbara Bones, Susan Bransfield, Jessica Brown & James Turnbull

My parents - Bob & Silvia Emhardt From Janis Emhardt

Harold Glenn Jill Grantham

In loving memory of Patsy and Harold Glenn From Brian & Chris Zeiner

BEQUESTS: Your legacy gift, with many others like yours, will keep the Ojai Valley’s views, trails, water, and wildlife protected for future generations. Inspire and influence others by letting us know about your planned gift today. You can join or update your preferences online at ovlc.org/pup Protecting your views, trails, water and wildlife

Caroline Hawkins Deven May William H. Painter, Jr. Acknowledgments: 4/18/19—8/11/19

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TICKETS • Current members - $18* • Pre-sale - $22** • Day of - $25 • Children under 12 - $10 *There will be no member pricing on September 21 ** Pre-sale ends Friday, September 20, at 11:55 pm

Radio Skies will be playing from 5-7:15 pm, Topa Topa Brewing will be pouring delicious brews from their beer garden on the field, eight food trucks will be serving up eats, and we have a killer raffle with prizes so far from: Arrow Heart Yoga Beacon Coffee Black Diamond Bonito Coffee Roasters

European Waxing Center Firestick Pottery Island Packers Newf Surfboard Net

Patagonia Real Fun, Wow! REI Vapur

Dig out your low-back chairs and blankets and join us on the field at OVS for another fantastic year of films and fun!


The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

Join the OVLC for an intimate, locally sourced farm-to-table dinner on Friday, September 21. When the sun sets behind the historic Ventura River Preserve, we will enjoy a collection of Mountainfilm films specially selected for this evening. With special guests from the films, this is a night you won’t want to miss. All attendees will also receive complimentary tickets to Saturday night’s Mountainfilm on Tour.


Join the OVLC for an intimate, locally sourced farm-to-table dinner on Friday, September 20. When the sun sets behind the historic Ventura River Steelhead Preserve, we will enjoy a collection of Mountainfilm for this Joinfilms the specially OVLC forselected an intimate, locally source evening. With special guests fromonthe films,September this is a night dinner Friday, 21.you When the su won’t want to miss. All attendees also receive complimentary historic will Ventura River Preserve, we will enjoy lm fion lmsTour. specially selected for this tickets to Saturday night’sMountainfi Mountainfilm

fromearly. the films, this is a night yo This event will sell out. Please special purchaseguests your tickets miss. All attendees will also receive complime Saturday night’s Mountainfilm on Tour.


5:30 Cocktails & Starters 6:30 Family-style Dinner 7:30 Films & Desserts

SCHEDULE 5:30 Cocktails & Starters Join the OVLC for an intimate, locally sourced farm-to-table dinner on Friday,6:30 September 21. When the sets behind the Family-stylesunDinner historic Ventura River Preserve, we will enjoy a collection of 7:30 & for Desserts Mountainfilm films speciallyFilms selected this evening. With N special AT U R A Lguests LY U P L Ifrom F T I N Gthe films, this is a night you won’t want to Allwill food, andcomplimentary drinks are included. miss. All attendees alsowine, receive tickets to Saturday night’s Mountainfilm on Tour.

All food, wine, and drinks are included.

SCHEDULE 5:30 Cocktails & Starters 6:30 Family-style Dinner 7:30 Films & Desserts All food, wine, and drinks are included.


Visit our website, ovlc.org, or contact Tania Parker: N T U R Atania@ovlc.org, R I V E R S T E E(805) L H E649-6852 AD PRESERVE


Meridian Design Construction


Ventura I NRental T E R EParty S T E&DEvents IN SPONSORING O R D O N AT I N G T O T H E R A F F L E ?




(805) 649-6852 Visit our website,tania@ovlc.org, ovlc.org, or contact Tania Parker: tania@ovlc.org, (805) 649-6852

O F Fvisit S A N TA A N A R O A D directions, please TICKET org/eventdirections For directions, please visit

O R D O N AT I NVisit G T O our T H E website, R A F F L E ? ovlc.org, or contact Tania P SALES FOR FRIDAY NIGHT END SEPTEMBER 16

Protecting your views, trails, water and wildlife

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Topa Topa Sponsors

Dr. David L. Garber, D.D.S Patagonia Aqua-Flo Supply El Segundo Brewing Company,LLC Lorraine Lim Catering, Inc Topa Topa Brewing Company

Ojai Meadows Sponsors

Brent Jacobs Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley California Resources Corporation High on Kennels Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company REI Rotary Club of Ojai

San Antonio Creek Sponsors Channel Islands Sportfishing Derby & Derby, Inc. The Glass Man Professional Window Washing Company, Inc. In the Field Kerry Miller Designer & Builder Laughing Dog Ranch LLC Meiners Oaks Ace Hardware Meridian Design Construction Ojai Valley Inn Ojai Valley Lions Club Peak Power Yoga & Wellness Riverview Ranch SC&A Insurance Services LLC Thomas E. Malley Law Office West Coast Air Conditioning

Sulphur Mountain Sponsors

Alco Plumbing Azu Dr. Battier Vet Clinic California Solar Electric Compass and Nail, Inc. Don & Cheree Edwards ~ RE/ MAX Gold Coast Realtors Dreamcatcher Animal Sanctuary Euterpe Farms Firestick Pottery McDaniel Insurance Services Ojai Deer Lodge Ojai Valley Brewery Ojai Valley Garden Club Rabobank Rains Shelter Social Club Ventura Wild Vitality Fitness Ojai


These eggs and nests were found on our preserves this spring. Can you identify the birds they belong to? The small nest with four whitish eggs belongs to a house finch. The nest with nine eggs is from a California quail. The four heavily speckled eggs are from a killdeer.

Thank you to all of our Business Sponsors for your generosity!

Venutura River Sponsors

UPCOMING EVENTS September 20 & 21 2nd Annual Under the Open Sky 5th Annual Mountainfilm Festival November 16-19 Land Trust Alliance Rally 2019: National Land Conservation Conference October 19 Ojai Day

In-Kind Sponsors

BioResource Consultants bITvision California 101 Guide Congruity Works J.Bjรถrk Michael Lommel | ClarityWebworks.co Ojai Quarterly Ojai Valley Directory

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A monarch butterfly perches on milkweed at the Ojai Meadows Preserve.

November 9 Fall Plant Sale For the most up-to-date information about OVLC events visit ovlc.org/events The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy


is a licensed full service general contractor that specializes in residential and commercial structures. Our vision was to make our clients projects a simple and stylish experience by offering design services with all their construction needs.

Together, our community will help protect Ojai’s open space for everyone to enjoy,


WE LOVE OJAI!! Growing up in Ventura, I have always loved Ojai. It is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. My wife Sara and I found out about the OVLC through a docent we met on Shelf Road, and then I thought that I would really like to help keep Ojai magical and beautiful through protecting open spaces, trail maintenance, and advocacy for the spaces they manage. What I didn’t expect were all the fun events that we’d get to participate in and learning more about parts of Ojai we didn’t know existed. We’ve been on private hikes with other members and attended fantastic events like Under The Open Sky and Mountainfilm. We are huge fans of not only all of the things the OVLC organization/volunteers do for Ojai but know they couldn’t do it without the amazing OVLC staff! We are excited about continuing our support and love being able to contribute to this wonderful organization for many years to come.

forever. Thank you to our Wild About Ojai partners who help make this possible. Visit a participating business today and take part. A Taste of Ojai Alojai Creations BeCalm of Ojai Chamber on the Mountain Char Man Brand Hot Sauce Dogs Fly Design The Glass Man Professional Window Washing Company GoOjai.com Greyfox Investors Jennifer Keeler, Hair Stylist Lorraine Lim Catering Mary Nelson Skincare & Massage Studio Meridian Design Construction

What is Wild About Ojai?

Wild About Ojai funds the protection and management of Ojai’s open space. Participating businesses commit to donating 1% of their gross profit, or adding 1% to customers’ bills, and the proceeds are then donated to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy to preserve Ojai’s views, trails, water and wildlife.

How do I participate?

Signing up to participate in Wild About Ojai is easy! You can sign up online at ovlc.org/wildaboutojai. Once enrolled in the program, we will work with you to get you up and running. Questions? Interested in participating? Contact Tania Parker at tania@ovlc.org or (805) 649-6852 x 6.

Protecting your views, trails, water and wildlife

Mooney Creative Noah Crowe, Sunrun Home Solar Consultant Ojai Quarterly Rowsie Vain Sol Haus Design The Southern Los Padres Trekking Company Tobias Parker, General Contractor Tonya Peralta Real Estate Services, Inc Watercolors by Patty Van Dyke ovlc.org Page 11



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• Over 70 volunteers joined the OVLC on National Trails Day in partnership with the American Hiking Society. Even the wildlife joined in. • Twice a year REI hosts a Wilderness First Aid Training at the OVLC in which our staff participate to ensure we are prepared when out on the preserves. • Thank you to the 225 members who came out to celebrate with us in June—and the Todd Hannigan and Sleeping Chief for the wonderful music. • Once a year the staff from OVLC, the land trusts of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, and the Ventura Land Trust come together to get to know our peers and to share ideas, goals, and strategies for protecting our local open spaces.

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy



Protecting your views, trails, water and wildlife

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From the Field

Who among us doesn’t love the wonderful pictures in this newsletter or on our social media accounts? We all do, right? Well, for the most part, we have Nathan Wickstrum to thank for that—he sure can photograph nature. But he can do much more than that, and he will in his new role as Stewardship Manager. Nathan was promoted into his new role this past summer to help maintain our lands, the infrastructure and trails, and further expand his volunteer leadership responsibilities. In this new role he will also provide support to our administrative management, assisting in grant writing and planning. Nathan started as a Restoration Field Crew Specialist in 2015, he then became Field Crew Leader, and is now our Stewardship Manager. The OVLC is proud and grateful for his hard work, passion for conservation, commitment to preserving and protecting our natural lands, and of course, for those stellar photographs. Congrats Nathan! Above photo of Hannah Garcia-Wickstrum on the Ventura River Preserve, taken by her husband Nathan.

W E LCO M E TO O U R C R E W, C A I T LY N & D E S T I N E E !

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This summer the OVLC welcomed two new members to the Restoration Team. Destinee Rabelo (right) joined us from the California Conservation Corps (CCC). While working for the CCC she gained extensive experience in trail maintenance and restoration work, and it is these qualities that make her an invaluable asset to our team. Caitlyn Barrera (left) came to us from the Santa Lucia Conservancy, where she interned after graduating from California State University, Monterey Bay. During her internship, Caitlyn worked on numerous wildlife conservation projects including researching methods for detecting the endangered California tiger salamander and restoration projects focused on working with community partners. These two women are already some of the finest crew members we’ve had on the Restoration Team, and we look forward to seeing the amazing work they are going to be doing out in the field. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

L AT E - F L O W E R E D M A R I P O S A L I LY A pleasant surprise this summer was the late-flowered mariposa lilies (Calochortus fimbriatus) blooming on the Ventura River Preserve and Valley View Preserve. The flower is considered rare by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and is ranked as a 1B.3 in the CNPS’s Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of California. A species with a 1B.3 ranking is considered rare throughout its native range and the plant’s populations have most likely declined significantly over the last century. The native range of Calochortus fimbriatus includes southern Monterey, San Luis

Obispo, Santa Barbara, and northern Ventura counties, and the plant is known to bloom more aggressively the year after a wildfire. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy is excited to have such a beautiful flowering lily on the preserves, but we cannot stress enough the importance of staying on the trail to protect the fragile species. We hope to see more of this lily next season, but with the regrowth of the rest of the chaparral flora, we will probably see less and less Calochortus fimbriatus as time goes on. The color of the lily can vary dramatically. All photos by Nathan Wickstrum.

H A R D AT WO R K Recently the Restoration Team has been preparing for the next planting season, which involves mulching and weed abatement at the existing restoration sites on the Ventura River Preserve. The team has also been maintaining the plants installed over the past year and they will be watering several restoration zones along San Antonio Creek. However, due to the abnormal amount of rain we received in the valley this year and the surprisingly temperate weather we had this summer, the weeds have made a comeback after our initial brushing efforts and additional trail clearance is needed. Over the next few weeks, the Restoration Team will be assisting the Stewardship Team in trail brushing at the Ventura River Preserve and quite possibly other preserves where it is deemed necessary.

Protecting your views, trails, water and wildlife

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Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 351 Ojai, CA PO Box 1092 • Ojai, CA 93024 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

Check your mailing label…


If the text is green you’re up to date, if it’s orange send in the enclosed envelope, it’s time to renew!


Bring your blankets and low-back chairs and find your spot on the lawn. Enjoy music by Radio Skies, beer from Topa Topa Brewing, and food trucks.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2019


Want to go with a friend? Have someone in mind who you think should be an OVLC member? Have them donate today and they will receive two free tickets!

Type “Mountainfilm Tickets” in the comments of the online donation form and receive two tickets with a first-time donation of $35 or more.