Open Spaces - 2021 Spring Newsletter

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More than just your pretty views From almost anywhere in Ojai, you can look out at the undeveloped hillsides and know you are home. In addition to conserving Ojai’s scenic backdrop, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s protection and restoration of land has a myriad of benefits that go beyond beauty. The diverse and rich habitats that thrive in these open spaces provide the following essential ecosystem services that increase our resilience to a changing climate.

Changing climate

Restoring the land In 2020 OVLC affirmed our commitment to restoration by making it part of our mission statement. Removing invasive species and planting native plants restores biodiversity, saves water, reduces fire risk, increases slope stability on streambanks and hillsides, provides habitat for wildlife, and revives our innate sense of place. Four OVLC staff are dedicated to restoring the land and its ecological benefits for all of us.

Storing carbon Habitat restoration often has the added benefit of increasing carbon storage. Deeprooted and long-lived native plants sink more carbon into the ground than most of our non-native species. An oak tree that we plant today—and OVLC plants hundreds every year—will pull excess carbon from the atmosphere while enhancing habitat for the next two hundred years.

Our shared home What is more Ojai than the yipping of coyotes at night? Or the rare and magical sighting of a bobcat, bear, or even mountain lion that gets your heart pumping? Our wildlife is the living symbol of an intact and resilient ecosystem and serves to connect us to the natural world.

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Climate change is shrinking and shifting habitat at an alarming rate—we’ve all seen the news about Polar Bears. As our climate shifts in the Ojai Valley, we are already seeing plant and animal communities transition to higher elevations and shaded north facing slopes. OVLC works to protect a broad range of habitats and the diverse flora and fauna that call Ojai home—as a diverse ecosystem enhances environmental resilience.

Defending against fire A clearly defined wildlandurban interface enables firefighters to create defensible lines and firebreaks to help protect our community from wildfires. OVLC’s preserves serve as these buffers, and we seek to acquire lands to further protect our community from increasingly intense fires.

Protecting our water Water is essential for all life in the Ojai Valley, and so protecting the Ventura River and its tributaries is a top priority for the OVLC. Land protection is also a critical step in balancing water demands. As a land trust, OVLC seeks to play a larger role in protecting our most vital resource—from restoration to land protection our work spans the whole watershed.

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy


Between the year and a half of pandemic-constrained life and California’s extreme drought, one could be excused for suffering from a grim outlook. However, we at OVLC see reasons to have optimism beyond the slowly abating (at least locally) pandemic. Conservationists are fond of quotes from our iconic forerunners such as Henry David Thoreau’s “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Well, as we contend with climate change and drought, it turns out that ole’ Hank was more prescient than any diehard transcendentalist may have thought! California’s extraordinary budget surplus provides the state with an unprecedented opportunity to preserve and restore the natural systems that provide resilience to the changing climate. Known as “green infrastructure” there are others who now refer to “natural climate solutions.” As our general consciousness shifts from a need to conquer nature to understanding its value and functions, the acceptance of nature-based solutions is becoming more mainstream. Furthermore, it is increasingly clear that protecting and restoring land to preserve and enhance natural climate solutions provides an outstanding return on investment. Long-time Ojai residents have firsthand experience with the benefits of preservation and restoration. Before OVLC Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

protected and restored the Ojai Meadows Preserve, Maricopa Highway would routinely flood during significant rain storms. The stormwater retention and flood control objectives of OVLC’s restoration have paid significant dividends over the decades and with the predicted dramatic increase in extreme weather from climate change, this investment will continue to provide resilience. In addition to the practicality of flood control, the restoration of the preserve has allowed native plants and animals to flourish, increasing our local biodiversity. During Covid, many OVLC supporters have told us that their walks on the preserve provided emotional resilience. The preservation and restoration of the Ojai Meadows Preserve has provided a natural climate solution that benefits our community in myriad ways. As the Ojai Valley and the rest of the West contends with drought and climate change, protecting and restoring habitats are the most cost-effective investments in infrastructure that we can make. OVLC is optimistic that significant state investments will flow from the surplus for these natural climate solutions and we are eager to help!

Tom Maloney, Executive Director

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Restoring our lands back to oak woodlands has a myriad of benefits for our community and ecosystem. Every year OVLC plants hundreds of oak trees. These oak trees


help the Ojai Valley become resilient to a changing climate. The

Oaks play an important role in protecting Ojai’s watersheds and water supply. The oak canopy slows the rain, decreases erosion of the soil, and improves the quality of the water in creeks, streams, and rivers. This slowing of the water flow, along with the extensive network of root channels which allow rainfall to penetrate Ojai’s hard clay soils, help recharge our groundwater supply. Oaks are also drought-tolerant and consume less water than non-native tree species.

oaks we plant today start off small and fragile, but with time they will become majestic towering oaks that define Ojai’s landscapes.

Scenic Beauty Oak woodlands and savannas make up the iconic scenery of the Ojai Valley. Try to imagine Ojai without any oaks: Wills Canyon in the Ventura River Preserve would not be the same magical place without oaks lining the trails, and we have all sought shade below the canopy of a gorgeous oak in the hot summer months.

Storing Carbon Trees sequester carbon better than any other technology in the world. Oak trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and release oxygen in return. This carbon is locked up in a tree’s roots, trunk, and branches, and effectively removed from the atmosphere for up to two hundred years! Page 4

Wildlife Oaks provide habitat for thousands of species (flora and fauna) and influence the way the entire ecosystem operates. Hundreds of wildlife species rely on oaks for food and habitat and a diverse variety of native plants thrive in the shade of the canopy.

Fire Oaks are adapted to fire, and can survive low intensity and infrequent fire events. A mature oak woodland with a closed canopy will even slow fast spreading wildland fire. Sadly, climate change and ignitions from unnatural causes have resulted in increased fire The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

intensity and frequency, and our oaks are struggling to survive.

Climate Even oak trees, which are adapted to our warm climate, are showing signs of stress from record temperature highs and extended drought. While they are resilient, we are already seeing the migration of native plants to cooler north-facing slopes. The shading and microclimates of a closed canopy oak forest is even more important today.

Restoration Each year, OVLC plants hundreds of oak trees. To help these oaks survive when they are young, OVLC plants them in oak circles, which consist of three 1-gallon oaks (grown from local acorns in our native plant nursery) and five companion shrubs,

which are vital to the long-term success and vigor of oak trees. We protect them from browsing by planting them in cages, use shade cloth to protect them from the harsh sun, and we water them for the first few years.

We know restoring oak woodlands is important, and that is why we do it today. We are investing in Ojai’s future. Oak trees are vital for our community. IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION. VOLUNTEER & DONATE


EXPANDING THE OVLC NURSERY PROGRAM OVLC Restoration Field Crew has recently gained a new member, Sophie McLean, to help out with field tasks and nursery management. She has a degree in Plant Biology and is excited to exchange her knowledge with OVLC Nursery Manager, Ron Singer. With this exciting news, plans are being developed to expand nursery output and aid in other community restoration efforts. Recently, field staff planted a few “oak circles” at a residence in Meiners Oaks because community members showed interest in replicating our restoration efforts on their private property. In addition, word has gotten out that Ron Singer collects locally-sourced seed to ensure plant genetics are preserved within the watershed. Because of this, OVLC has recently taken plant orders for other agencies to aid in their restoration projects across the Ojai Valley. Needless to say, we are thrilled to capitalize on the “restore” part of OVLC’s mission and cannot wait to see what new projects our nursery program takes on!

Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

Sophie McLean

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OVLC Nursery Interns, Alessandra Lucchesi (left) and Corallyn Moss (right) propagate plants for future restoration projects. You may have noticed some new voices on our social media the last few weeks. Thanks in-part to a generous grant from the Rotary Club of Ojai, we have two interns from Nordhoff High School: Alessandra (Ally) Lucchesi and Corallyn Moss. They will be assisting OVLC Nursery Manager, Ron Singer, in growing and caring for the thousands of plants that the OVLC uses annually in restoration projects.

One of the Green Valley Project’s pilot programs is restoring oak trees to the Ojai Meadows Preserve. Once established, these oaks will provide as many as 200 years of habitat benefits as well as ecosystem services like carbon sequestration to the Ojai Valley. Ally and Corallyn will lead groups of their peers in this restoration project and will educate their peers and the public about the importance of restoration in the Ojai Valley.

The OVLC native plant nursery internship is designed to engage youth in ecological restoration and foster leadership in environmental stewardship. The interns gain skills through hands-on field learning and experience with written and verbal outreach. In conjunction with the Green Valley Project, this 6-month program focuses on growing practical and leadership skills.

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The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

INTERN PROFILE: ALESSANDRA (ALLY) LUCCHESI What is your favorite plant and why? Without a doubt California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)! It is my favorite plant for numerous reasons - I love the delicate bloom, the sweet rust color it produces towards the end of the bloom period, how easy it is to collect seeds from, and it was the first plant that my mom showed me so it’s sort of comforting when I see it.

Why did you want to become an intern with OVLC? I wanted to make an impact in the Ojai community in the most environmentally oriented way possible, so I thought why not start with protecting our natural ecosystems. I have always been fascinated with ecology, but after learning that humans are a leading cause of biodiversity loss globally, I was interested in restoring habitats and understanding how every aspect of an ecosystem depends on each other. I’ve always wanted to be involved with restoration work because it’s important to be aware of what the native biome is and how it can be suported to ensure a blossoming future. I am so thankful for the opportunity OVLC has given me, the land, and our community to come together and protect the native ecosystem.

What is something cool you have learned thus far? The relationship we have with our environment depends entirely on us and what we do to protect it, and this takes patience and dedication. Taking care of restoration plants has not only taught me responsibility but also the value of hard work. The process of collecting a seed, creating a seed tray, watching a seedling grow up, transferring the seedling to a larger pot, and finally to a restoration site, has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as an intern with OVLC.

Above: Ally removes tamarisk from the Ventura River during a volunteer event she led in the fall. Below: Ally and Corallyn embrace for a photo-op while filming a video about oak restoration for the Green Valley Project.

What are some of your other interests? In my free time, when I’m not geeking out about plants, I like to hike, surf, run, tend veggies on Steve Sprinkle’s farm, make smoothies at Farmer and the Cook, cuddle my dog Mac, and soak up sun rays (with sunscreen of course).

If you could share one piece of gardening/restoration advice, what would it be? Do not get discouraged! Nature is unpredictable but any form of restoration work is ensuring our native existence has a prosperous future. Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

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OPEN SPACES The newsletter of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy BOARD OF DIRECTORS Roger Essick President Stefanie Coeler Vice President Martha Groszewski Treasurer Bret Bradigan Secretary Bill Brothers Sandy Buechley Fiona Hutton Phil Moncharsh Tonya Peralta Don Reed Larry Rose Lu Setnicka Sarah Sheshunoff Cari Shore STAFF Tom Maloney Executive Director Tania Parker Deputy Director Brendan Taylor Director of Field Programs Dan Pizano Operations Director Xena Grossman Development Associate Nathan Wickstrum Communications and Outreach Manager Caitlyn Barrera Restoration Program Manager Linda Wilkin Land Steward Mayra Diaz Restoration Specialist Sophie McLean Restoration Specialist & Nursery Assistant Lisa Nix Restoration Specialist Ron Singer Nursery Manager Mission: OVLC protects and restores the open space, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and views of the Ojai Valley for current and future generations. STAY CONNECTED WITH THE OVLC: OVLC.ORG FIND US ON FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

Cover photo by Nathan Wickstrum Page 8

WELCOME NEW BOARD MEMBERS! Fiona Hutton Fiona runs a widely-respected communications strategy and public affairs firm that focuses on some of California’s most high profile and pressing issues. Well-versed in public policy, legislation and politics, Fiona is consistently recognized as one of the Top 100 Influencers at the State Capitol. A California native, Fiona splits time between her residences in Ojai and Los Angeles. Both properties abut open space owned by conservancies – driving her interest in and support of open space preservation, trails and park access, wildlife corridors and much more. Fiona’s firm is responsible for managing every natural resource bond measure that has been approved by California voters during the past twenty years, providing much needed funding for OVLC and other conservation organizations. When not managing issue advocacy, legislative, regulatory and public awareness campaigns, Fiona is an outdoor enthusiast, hiker and “farmer in training”. And, her real passion is monitoring motion sensor wildlife cameras spread throughout her Ojai property.

Cari Shore An Ojai native, Cari Shore grew up in Meiners Oaks where she and her sister found refuge on the Ojai Meadows Preserve long before it was preserved. Since then, her daughter and nieces have enjoyed countless walks and adventures in the space she considers so special. Senior Vice President and Director of Community Banking at Montecito Bank & Trust, Cari feels very fortunate to work for a bank that recognizes and encourages community connection. In her current role, she oversees the branch network, call center, mortgage sales, treasury services and MB&T Financial Advisors. Cari began her banking career nearly 25 years ago as a teller. She has enjoyed a number of roles that allow her to do what she loves: building relationships, problem solving, innovating, and continuous learning. Cari is thrilled to return to the OVLC Board after first joining in 2008. Outside of work, you’ll find Cari spending time with family, camping, cycling, hiking, reading, and listening to live music. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy


FAREWELL TO AN OJAI LEGEND & AVIAN EXPERT Former Board member and dedicated OVLC volunteer Jesse Grantham and his wife Trina have moved to North Carolina to be closer to their grandchildren. Longtime Ojai residents and OVLC supporters know Jesse as the local authority on all things avian. Perry Van Houten wrote a lovely and fitting tribute to Jessie in the Ojai Valley News on April 23, 2021. What folks should know is that in addition to being such an accessible and generous font of bird knowledge, Jesse played a noteworthy role in the conservation of the landscapes in Ojai’s backyard. By joining the condor recovery program early on, Jesse helped save one of the most iconic birds in the world. The continuing success of the condor program has provided an important rationale to save land. The following are some notable land conservation achievements that were at least in part saved to protect habitat for condors.

On their annual spring migration bird count, the “Big Day of Birding,” in 2018 are (from left to right) Bill Shanbrom, Rick Ridgeway and Jesse Grantham.

• Carrizo Plain National Monument (240,000 acres) • Chimineas Ecological Reserve (39,000 acres) • Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge (14,000 acres) • Wind Wolves Preserve (93,000 acres) • Tejon Ranch (240,000 acres) • The Nature Conservancy in the southern Sierra Nevada (50,000 acres) OVLC Executive Director, Tom Maloney, has been involved in a few of these endeavors and he can personally testify that Jesse was always available to provide knowledge and ecological perspectives on the protection and management of these vast areas. Since moving to Ojai, Tom had the benefit of joining Jesse on a couple of trips to the Carrizo Plain National Monument and was humbled by Jesse’s knowledge of these landscapes. Those early condor biologists hiked and camped all over the mountains behind Ojai. Standing on a pullout overlooking the Cuyama Valley Jesse would recall the early days. He knows those peaks and valleys like most of us know our neighborhoods. On behalf of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, our deepest thanks to Jesse for making this corner of the world a better place to be! Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

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SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IN MEMORY OF Allan Jacobs from Wyatt & Claudia Harris Bob Unruhe from Bill & Dan Miley Dick McIntosh Don & Colleen Cutler Gerry Gilhool Alex Gibney Katherine Flecker Laura Rister In celebration of Gerry’s life, and the natural beauty that he enjoyed while living in Ojai from David & Elizabeth Silva Sending out most heartfelt love & condolences. We hope Gerry’s presence will be forever powerfully felt in Ojai’s beautiful landscape. from Shane Boris & Sara Dosa

Helayne C. White from Friend’s Ranch Loebl Family Fund Susan Bee Wyatt & Claudia Harris Ron & Helayne C. White from Dave & Sally Hackel Louie Larramendy-Rose I’m sorry for your loss. from Jean Robinson Martha Mandel She loved trees! from Lauren Johnson Michele Briley from Mike Briley Robert Dreger from Susan & Paul Wendowski Ron Polito from Beth L. Wickstrum Sara Roxanne Schneider Thinking of you Amy and your dear Sara on her birthday. Her loving, creative and enthusiastic spirit live on. Hugs, Betsy from Elizabeth & Wayne Ogden

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Sudha Rajasekaran from Rajasekaran Ramasubramanian Tom Nolan from Kathy Nolan

IN HONOR OF Ashley Kelly Tyrell’s birthday fundraiser from Carrie Kelly Hall Cass Teufel Family from Kathy Teufel Claire Detuncq Thank you for being a bad ass! from Ojai Deer Lodge Daren Magee aka Real Fun, Wow! Honored to keep supporting our beautiful backyard with these incredible bandana designs. Thanks again! from BANDITS Bandanas David Paulson Happy birthday! from Chip Paulson Harry Oppenheimer In honor of your birthday. from Loebl Family Fund Rikki Horne Janet Jacobs Happy Birthday JJ from Ann & Harry Oppenheimer Kathy Leeds Happiest Mother’s Day, Mom! This one has got to be our most special, living together in our new city, waiting for Freya. I love you so much and am beyond lucky to be your daughter. Thank you for everything always and forever. from Marisa Johnson Lanae Carter Happy Birthday to a Happy Hiker! from David & Katherine Willis Nat Reynolds from Laura Reynolds Nikos Sullivan from Mike Sullivan & Melissa Bishop Ryan McAfee from Wesley Readdick

Tania Parker Happy Big 40!! from Ann & Harry Oppenheimer Vanessa Keating’s birthday fundraiser from Jason Bell, Jennifer Berger, Brian Cauley, Shanti Christensen, Rosemary Fox, Darryl Gausten, Barbara Keating, Robert Keating, Kerry Kehoe, Jennifer Keller, Laura Power Acknowledgments: 2/23/21-6/8/21

100 HOUR MILESTONE VOLUNTEERS June Juett Quarter Mile Films Rob Young Roger Essick Stefanie Coeler Stuart Niebel These volunteers have far exceeded 100 hours of volunteer service over the years. We apologize for not mentioning them in the last newsletter. Thank you for your many years of dedication to the OVLC. **Volunteer hours since 10/1/2018 The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

CREATURE FEATURE THE COYOTE OVLC has recently received some new tenants on its Ventura River Preserve. Coyotes (Canis latrans) have been seen displaying territorial behavior near some parts of the river due to a nearby den. Coyotes mate between January and March, and females usually give birth to 4-7 pups after a gestation period of 58-65 days. Births occur in underground burrows, usually on hillsides with good drainage and visibility that allow parents to keep watch for threats. After 2-3 weeks of being blind and helpless as a newborn, pups emerge near the den to play and explore. Weaning occurs at about 5-7 weeks, but parents care for the pups until they are fully grown and independent. Just like us, coyotes will protect their young at any cost to ensure their safety, so we encourage all dog owners to abide by OVLC rules and keep your dog leashed when hiking on one of our preserves. The coyote is truly a remarkable species that has adapted over time to coexist and thrive in human-modified landscapes, so let’s give them a break and give them their space! After all, OVLC is here to protect your wildlife!

IT’S UNBELEAFABLE! Have you ever walked on the Ojai Meadows Preserve and smelled vinegar and wondered where it came from? Vinegarweed (Trichostema lanceolatum) is an annual flower in the mint family that is native to North America. Its vinegar smell is caused by oils that have phytotoxic properties, which helps the plant compete with non-native weeds. It thrives in dry, hot conditions and blossoms from spring into fall. This plant is also very sticky when touched, yet it attracts lots of pollinators like the Variable Checkerspot, Umber Skipper, and Monarch butterfly species. It is also an important summer nectar source for native bees.

Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

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FROM THE FIELD MEET LINDA WILKIN: OVLC LAND STEWARD We are excited to formally introduce Linda, OVLC’s new Land Steward and botanist extraordinaire! Linda’s love for plants has given her a breadth of experience in farming, habitat restoration, and nursery work. These days, she is putting her experience and passion toward protecting OVLC’s open spaces. For the last eleven months, Linda has been out in the field engaging with preserve users, dealing with fires at the Ojai Meadows Preserve, fixing kiosks and trail signage, and more recently leading volunteer events. Linda encourages all preserve users to practice the seven “Leave No Trace” principles*. You can learn more about these practices at 1. Plan Ahead & Prepare 2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surface 3. Dispose of Waste Properly 4. Leave What You Find 5. Minimize Campfire Impacts 6. Respect Wildlife 7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors *Please note that camping and campfires are NOT permitted anywhere on OVLC lands. Linda is often accompanied by her faithful sidekick, Oak (his full name is Quercus agrifolia). While not an official OVLC employee, Oak models the type of behavior he expects from all dogs on the preserves. He is always on leash, his human always picks up and properly disposes of his waste, and he knows that while he is loveable, not every human wants to be loved by him. If you see Linda out on a preserve, be sure to ask her about her favorite flora and fauna - she is a wealth of infloramation! You can also ask her for recommendations about which trail you should explore next. Lastly, she is there to help keep you and all trail users safe. Please reach out to her if you notice anything that needs our attention on the trails.

For medical and safety emergencies, please reach out directly to the sheriff department or call 911. Page 12

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

TRAIL USER ETIQUETTE Due to an increasing interest in outdoor recreation, OVLC trails are receiving more traffic than ever before. OVLC trails are primarily multi-use trails, open to equestrians, mountain bikers, and hikers/runners. Please be courteous to other users, share the trail, and follow these guidelines when using OVLC preserves: RIDERS USE CAUTION Mountain bikers and equestrians should ride with caution at a safe and controlled speed. All OVLC trails are bi-directional and users should anticipate oncoming traffic. Be prepared to yield. Mountain bikers and equestrians should make themselves known when encountering or attempting to pass other users and when approaching

RESPECT TRAIL CLOSURES Respect trail closures­­—we occasionally close muddy trails to mountain bikers and equestrians. Riding on muddy trails widens the trail and destroys the trail tread. Not to mention repairs are costly and take away funds from other projects like creating new trails and acquiring new land. If you come across a puddle on the trail, walk or ride through it rather than going around it to avoid widening the trail.

blind turns. Please have a bell on your bike/horse or verbally announce yourself.

ELECTRIC BIKES Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on OVLC trails, but cannot exceed a speed of 20 mph. Class 3 e-bikes are not allowed on OVLC trails.

BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS Always make sure you can hear what is going on around you. If you are listening to music or talking on the phone, please make sure you only use one earbud. This will allow you to hear the rattle of a snake, the bells on a mountain bike, or other users needing your attention.

STAY ON TRAIL Stay on the trail—because you may be trampling sensitive vegetation and stressing fragile, arid ecosystems. Only step off the trail when allowing other users to pass. Don’t cut switchbacks as they easily erode hillsides and damage surrounding vegetation. Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY A few of our trails pass through or adjacent to private property. It is imperative that we all respect the privacy of neighboring landowners in an effort to prevent any access disputes. Do not trespass. Leave gates as you found them. LEAVE NO TRACE Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ principles: Plan ahead and be prepared. Leave what you find. Pack out what you pack in. Do not litter. Use the trash cans at our trailheads. Respect wildlife. Be considerate of other users. Leash your dog and pick up the poop. Nobody likes coming across poop on the trail.

VOLUNTEER OVLC trails are here because people work hard to keep them open, safe, and enjoyable. All trail users play an important shared role in maintaining our collective trail system and all users should be respectful to others when using our trails. We hope you’ll come out and volunteer with us, as we continue to protect the land that has been entrusted to our care.

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Let’s play OVLC Mad Libs! 1. Fill in the blanks below by yourself or with a buddy. 2. Once you’ve filled in all of the blanks, insert your answers on the next page. 3. Read your OVLC Mad Lib to yourself. Read it to your family, friends, and have a good laugh!

OVLC Trail Name: Number:


Adjective: Adjective:

The Volunteer Adopter Program is off to a rousing start! Our new program, started with funding from an Ojai Women’s Fund grant, began over the winter with individuals adopting sections of trail and oak restoration circles. Already 19 of the 25 sections of trail have been adopted and so many oak circles were adopted that we are currently expanding this program to cover oak circles in other sections of the Ventura River Preserve.

Noun: Plural Noun: Number: Animal(s): Adjective: Line From a Movie: Color: Body Part: Favorite Candy: Verb: Sound: Favorite Plant: Adjective:

Color: Number: Mode of Transportation: Adjective: Adjective: Positive Emotion: Page 14

Our Trail Adopters have been helping to brush the trail and keep the corridor open, while also maintaining drains and trail signs. The Restoration Adopters have tended to the oak circles by weeding invasive plants and monitoring the growth of the oaks to help our Field Crew stay on top of this vast on-going project. In the upcoming months, we hope to expand the responsibilities of Restoration Adopters so that volunteers can more fully care for their adopted oak circles. After getting off to such a solid start, we’re confident this program will be a success. This program genuinely helps OVLC care for the land, and also provides meaningful engagement opportunities for interested volunteers. But of course, just because we’ve had some success so far doesn’t mean we can’t do more – we still have 6 open sections of trail that need some TLC, and we’re growing the number of oak circles open for adoption. If you haven’t signed up but are interested, there is still space and we’d love to have your help.

Wish you could volunteer on your own schedule? Now you can! Join our Adopter Program today. To learn more contact Brendan Taylor: The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy



My Favorite OVLC Trail My favorite OVLC trail is of Ojai, this trail is anything but and

. After walking

Plural Noun

. Located

OVLC Trail Name


minutes, I am always rewarded by the sight of

. The



Line From a Movie

A few minutes later I come across an old oak tree, which is home to the



when running into these animals. If they appear scared by your


presence, you can always calm them down by saying




. When heading out on the trail, I always make sure to bring my


most important thing to remember is to stay

is renowned for its ability to

miles from the




Body Part

Favorite Candy

. This bird

. If you remain quiet, you may even hear it sing its mating call, which sounds a lot



As I explore deeper into the preserve, I come across so many plants including my favorite –

is known for being





Favorite Plant

. This plant

feet tall. I resist cutting some flowers to take


home, and begin my walk back to the trailhead.

When I get back to my

Mode of Transportation

, I am


I spent on the preserve. Knowing that this land is protected forever makes me


, but grateful for the time


Positive Emotion


Thank you for playing OVLC Mad Libs! Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

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Dave Fleischman started volunteering for OVLC two years ago. Today, he has increased his volunteer involvement with the organization by taking on maintenance of volunteer tools and becoming a volunteer trail crew leader. OVLC Land Steward, Linda Wilkin, sat down with Dave to talk about his time working on trails and volunteering with OVLC. Here’s what Dave had to say:

Q: How long have you been doing trail work and how long have you been volunteering for the OVLC? I started doing trail work in 1992 (29 years ago!) on the Appalachian Trail and I’ve been doing it ever since. When I moved out west, I began working on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I started out as a crew member, becoming a crew leader, and then a section chief on the PCT. I’ve been volunteering with OVLC for the past two years. I live in Oak View and wanted to give back to the community in some way.

Q: What got you into working on trails? In 1991, I through hiked the Appalachian Trail. After finishing the hike, I thought about all the maintenance that had to get done on the trail. I’m a hands-on kind of person, and I like getting in the Page 16

dirt, and so I got in touch with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and asked if I could help. They said to me, “I have a waitlist for people who want to adopt a section of the trail, but because you are a through hiker you have more buy in.” They ended up giving me a five-mile section of trail that I was to scout and do basic maintenance on. I remembered hiking that section on my through hike. It was in the morning and the plants were soaked by the morning dew, and the trail was overgrown. By the time I got through that section, I was soaking wet. My goal was to improve it for future hikers.

Q: What do you love most about doing trail work and volunteering? What I love most about volunteering is meeting and working with new people. I often hike Gridley Trail. Along with many OVLC volunteers, I put a lot of hours into fixing that trail. Gridley used to be in pretty bad shape, and the work we did was a huge improvement. Trail work, unlike teaching middle school (which I did for 15 years), gives you instant gratification. At the end of a day working on a trail you can see the work you did and know that your time was well spent. Even today, when I hike certain sections of the PCT, I can see rocks and other drainage work that I placed The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

10 years ago. It is very gratifying to see the success of the work that I did, years later.

Q: Do you have a favorite trail on OVLC land? My favorite trail is Fox Canyon Trail on the Valley View Preserve. I usually do the loop that includes Fox Canyon Trail and Luci’s Trail, but I love Fox.

Q: What is your definition of a sustainable trail? Sustainability depends on the users. If the trail is going to be used by stock and equestrians, then the clearance needs to be greater than if the trail only permitted hikers or bikers. The tread has to be sustainable too. It has to be wide enough and sloped properly. When I work on trails where I am re-benching, I’ll put in what is called a “full-bench.” I know the trail is going to get narrower as time goes by, but by putting in a full-bench, which requires cutting the full width of the tread into the hillside, the trail will be more durable and last longer.

various sharpening tools which was really valuable. I’m happy I can bring my experience and skills to support OVLC.

Q: Why should others become volunteer trail crew leaders?

If hikers are fighting to get through brush, they are probably not going to want to hike that trail again. Similarly, the best way to keep users on your designated trail is to make sure the trail is usable and sustainable – otherwise people are going to create social trails and cut switchbacks.

Being a trail crew leader is rewarding because you get to train trail stewards. A successful volunteer trail crew leader also helps the volunteers have ownership of their work. For example, on the PCT the trail leader would scope out the work that needed to be done, and make sure the volunteers had the correct tools to complete the job successfully. Other important roles of the volunteer crew leader include making sure trail reports are standardized. Little details like this make a huge difference.

Q: What would you tell someone who’s thinking of volunteering for trail work?

Lastly, when you are out doing trail work, hikers come by and are very thankful and grateful for the work you’ve been doing.

Q: Why is trail work important for the environment and enjoyment of users?

I would say definitely do it! You’re going to meet amazing people since trail volunteers are the best people. Everybody may have a different reason for volunteering, but by the end of the day you’ll bond over the work you’ve accomplished. You’ll make new friends and you might just get bitten by the bug…By that I mean you will want to do more of it like I’m doing now. Currently, I’m helping OVLC with the maintenance and repair of their tools. Having good tools and taking care of them is important. The first time I went out on an OVLC work trip, I didn’t bring my own tools because I didn’t think I would need them. However, I had to work harder because the tools weren’t sharp nor in good condition. Up until just a couple months ago, I would always bring my own pick mattock and my own McLeod because I knew mine would give me the best results with the least amount of effort. The other issue is that people can get hurt if tools aren’t maintained well, especially axe heads or sledgehammers. Working on the PCT, we would have a tools weekend; a group of us would gather at someone’s house, camp in their yard, and spend the weekend sharpening tools! I learned how to use Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

TRAIL SIGNAGE RETURNS It’s been nearly four years since the Thomas Fire swept through our community and the preserves. Redesigning the signage we lost in the wake of the fire has been a long process, but alas, trail junction signs have been ordered, received, and are being installed. The new junction signs are easier to read compared to the old Carsonite and sticker signs, and they are much more sustainable. We hope the new signs will help all users find their way on the trails. Happy hiking!

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Topa Topa Sponsors Patagonia

Ventura River Sponsors Henry Land Surveying High on Kennels Sespe Creek Collective

Ojai Meadows Sponsors BANDITS Bandanas

Laughing Dog Ranch LLC Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company REI

San Antonio Creek Sponsors Aqua-Flo Supply Baleen Broken Spoke Challenge/Fast Green Racing Channel Islands Sportfishing Herring Law Group Jim and Rob’s Fresh Grill Kerry Miller Designer & Builder, Inc. Ojai Valley Inn SC&A Insurance Services LLC West Coast Air Conditioning

Sulphur Mountain Sponsors ALCO Plumbing

California Solar Electric Don & Cheree Edwards ~ RE/MAX Gold Coast Realtors Dr. David L. Garber, D.D.S Euterpe Farms Firestick Pottery Couch Guitarstraps Heritage Financial Lorraine Lim Catering, Inc McDaniel Insurance Services Raindrop Pool & Spa Riverview Ranch Soul Body Ojai Healing Arts & Yoga Center

In-Kind Sponsors bITvision

California 101 Guide Custom Printing Damitz, Brooks, Nightingale, Turner & Morriset Ojai Valley Directory Topa Topa Brewing Company

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Just by including the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy in your estate plans, you can help protect the beauty of Ojai for generations to come. A bequest is a simple way to support the OVLC in the future while retaining control of your assets during your lifetime. By making the OVLC a beneficiary of your will, trust, retirement plan, life insurance policy, or financial accounts, you ensure your values will be passed on after you.

The real beneficiary, of course, is Ojai.

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy


DS & EA Wilson

Katherine Burdick

Rob & Sandy Mason

Alan & Rebecca Fabos

Eli & Deena Portell

Kelly Prince

Robert Eisler

Alisa Varney

Erica Helson

Kevin Lynn

Robin Roy

Eric Moore

Kim Elliman, Overhills Foundation

RoseAnn Hill

Anne Crawford DeZonia

Geoff Kida Guido Daniels & Dore’ Varner

Caroline Horton

Harry Waterson

Catherine Sellman

Heather Meyer

Chaun & Leda Muir

Ian Collis

Chia Hersk

Jack & Kelley Dyer

Chris Fabian & Kris Griswold

Jacquelyn & Seth Bourn

Chris Hatfield

Janice Ertman

Chuck Moore

Janice Prairie Jenny Baum

Corallyn Moss Dana Metz-Dwire David & Amy Lamb David Wieger

Jill Gomes Joel MaHarry John Andrews John Town

Denise Le Blanc

Julie & Jeff Mc Manus

Denise Thomas Diana Duff

Lindsey & Monica Raymond Lisa Carmichael Lisa Wallmark & Jonas Svensson Lori Draheim

Sandra Yadav Sheila Berman Susan Taylor & John Houghton Sylvia Narula

Agilent Chevron Humankind Matching Program IBM Matching Grants Program Patagonia Peak Design Take Two Software The Walt Disney Company Foundation From: 2/23/21-6/8/21

Thank you for increasing your impact!

Teri Wells & David Odaka

Marilyn Miller

The Gard Family

Mary Louise Sanchez

Timothy Denardo


Carl Olmstead

Lauren Frommer


Mark & Dawn Golden The Hume Family Tiffani Ortiz Mary Dalton Megan Hooker Nature and Intent Nicholas Barnes Patrice & Austin Ringelstein Paul Rodriguez

Tina Mehr & Rich Anderson Tire Swing Studio Todd & Jennifer Sower Tom Weisel Tyson Babayco

A Taste of Ojai Alojai Creations

Phil Kaplan

Doreen Farr

Karen McAuley & Jim Klausen

Rachel Dunleavy

Chamber on the Mountain

Dorte Bistrup

Karen Sgroi-Proffitt

Rachel Newhall

Char Man Brand Hot Sauce

Dr. Tom McCoy & Dr. Tiffany Morse

Kate & Arthur Kilmurray

Richard & Joanne McFerron

From: 2/23/21-6/8/21


BeCalm of Ojai

Dogs Fly Design The Glass Man Professional Window Washing Company Greyfox Investors Jennifer Keeler, Hair Stylist at Bohème

July 16­-23: RunNation Film Tour

Lorraine Lim Catering

August 7-8: Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for Dogs

Rowsie Vain

September 24: Under the Open Sky

Tire Swing Studio

September 25: Mountainfilm on Tour VISIT OVLC .ORG/E VENTS FOR DETAIL S

Protecting your views, trails, water, and wildlife.

Ojai Quarterly Sol Haus Design Tobias Parker, General Contractor

Our partners help protect our open space. Please thank them by supporting their businesses today!

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



As California reopens, we look forward to seeing you in-person at Mountainfilm on Tour and at future OVLC events.