Ojai native plant guide Lanny Kaufer will lead an Herb Walk at Arroyo Hondo Preserve on the Gaviota Coast north of Santa Barbara on Saturday, July 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The walk will conclude with a direct-from-the-grower native plant sale hosted by Santa Barbara Natives (SBN), a native plant nursery founded by Arroyo Hondo Preserve manager John Warner.
According to writer and hiking guide James Wapotich, “Arroyo Hondo is considered by many to be the jewel of the Gaviota Coast.” The Preserve is managed by The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. It features a year-round creek surrounded by oak forest, coastal chaparral, grassland, and coastal sage scrub. It is where the Chumash village of Tuxmu was once located.
The diversity of plants and plant communities at the Preserve is exceptional. In the creekside riparian habitat, for example, the group will see a wide array of Southern California native trees including White Alder, California Bay, Blue Elderberry, Bigleaf Maple, and Coast Live Oak, among others.
Under the canopy Kaufer will look for Giant Horsetail, Humboldt Lily, Gooseberry, Stream Orchid, Hummingbird Sage, and Giant Chain Ferns. In the sunnier sage scrub and chaparral areas Toyon, Black Sage, Coastal Sagebrush and Greenbark Ceanothus are thriving. The Preserve is also home to California Newts, California Tree Frogs, Gray Foxes, and other wildlife.
The event will start with a carpool from 23 S. Hope Avenue in Santa Barbara. At 10 a.m. we’ll drive from there about 30 minutes up the coast to Arroyo Hondo Preserve. A little earlier, at 9 a.m., those of us in Ojai who want to carpool from there to Santa Barbara will meet at Maricopa Plaza (1207 Maricopa Highway, Ojai). Another carpool may be organized from Ventura to Santa Barbara, if needed. Carpools are optional. Those who choose to drive directly to Arroyo Hondo will receive detailed directions in a confirmation email.
After some easy walking, identifying plants, and stopping for a lunch break, walkers will regroup at 3:30 at the Preserve parking lot for the plant sale. SBN carries an inventory of about 100 of the most popular local California native plants, normally available only to commercial growers. Warner will bring a selection of those the group will see on the walk. People who register in advance will have the opportunity to request specific plants.
The cost for the day is $30 for adults, $25 for seniors 62-and-up, and $15 for students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can come along for free, one per adult, pending request and approval. The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County also requests a suggested $5 donation at the site to cover stewardship of the land. There is no pre-payment required to register. Once you are registered you will receive an email during the week prior to the walk with more information and directions to Arroyo Hondo. No dogs or smoking, please.
Participants will receive an email afterwards with notes and a complete list of all plants and animals observed.