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    Spring Equinox Nature Hike & Plant Sale at Taft Gardens and Nature Preserve with Lanny Kaufer on Saturday, March 21

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    Now that Mother Nature has had three winters worth of rain with which to recover from the 2017 fire, Ojai naturalist Lanny Kaufer is going back for a private tour of the amazing Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve on Saturday March 21, from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The property, located west of Ojai in the mountains above Lake Casitas, is stewarded by the Conservation Endowment Fund (CEF). This rare and special place has no public trails connecting it to the outside world. The land includes plants and features beyond what Kaufer usually encounters on his outings, including the world renowned, Mediterranean-climate, Taft Botanical Gardens.

    Participants will see an unparalleled collection of Australian and South African plants. A docent will be present to share some of the rare exotic plants found in the garden. Naturally, Kaufer will also lead a hike on the adjacent Nature Preserve to identify and learn about the diverse edible and medicinal native plants of the area. Total walking distance will be approximately 1.5 miles including some gradual elevation gain.

    Immediately following the walks, from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m., native and medicinal plant grower Nathan Whitman will host a private sale of selected plants. Registrants will have the opportunity to order in advance. The list of native and other medicinal plants available at direct-from-grower prices includes White Sage, Milkweed, Dudleya, California Buckwheat, Echinacea, St. John’s Wort, Yerba Mate, Tea Tree, Spearmint, Peppermint, Catnip, Ashwaganda and more. 

    Lunch will not be provided but participants are invited to stay and enjoy their sack lunch or snacks in a beautiful setting after the tour. Light rain will not cancel; heavy rain will. 

    The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-up, and $15 for students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can attend free, one per adult, pending request and approval. An additional $10 donation per person onsite is requested by CEF and strongly encouraged by Kaufer. CEF survives on donations to support the operations and upkeep of the garden and open space. 

    Paid registrants will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info, including weather forecast and carpool/parking directions, a few days prior to the hike. They also will receive a follow-up email afterwards with a list of all plants and wildlife seen. No dogs or smoking, please. 

    For more information and to register, please visit HerbWalks.com or call 805-646-6281.

    Photo of Taft Botanical Gardens by Godfred Tong

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