To Our Ojai Community:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »


Wish you could volunteer on your own schedule? Now you can! 

Much like the broader society, our volunteer program has been stop-and-go since the pandemic began. Over the past year, thanks to funding from the Ojai Women’s Fund, we were able to start our Volunteer Adopter Program. The program has given volunteers the flexibility to help us maintain our 27 miles of trails and extensive oak restoration projects on their own time. Individuals have been able to take on responsibility for a section of trail on our various preserves (Trail Adopters) or several oak restoration circles on the Ventura River Preserve (Restoration Adopters).

Trail Adopters
Anyone who is interested in volunteering can join and we’ll provide the training and tools that are required to be a Volunteer Adopter. Using the Ojai Women’s Fund grant, we have purchased tools that can easily be borrowed, plus, volunteers will have access to an instructional handbook and videos (and post-pandemic, in-person training), and you will be able to volunteer on the schedule that works best for you. Trail Adopters will help brush the trail and keep the corridor open, while also maintaining drains and trail signs, and act as eyes-on-the-ground to help OVLC staff identify larger problems and prioritize needed trail work.

Restoration Adopters
Restoration Adopters will tend oak circles by weeding invasive plants, watering, mulching, and monitoring the growth of the oaks to help our Field Crew stay on top of this vast on-going project. The addition of watering and mulching will be made possible this year through a series of host days called Community Adopter Days. These days will give Adopters access to our irrigation system to water the oak circles and tools will be provided for mulching. An OVLC staff member will be present on these Community Adopter Days to provide access to the irrigation system, tools, and to answer any questions.

By providing these Community Adopter Days, we’ll be able to dramatically increase the amount of care the land receives, even with our limited staff resources. Plus, the day will be open and flexible for adopters to come and go as they please. After all, that’s the very idea of the whole adopter program. We look to our incredible community for more help and make it as easy as possible for our community to offer help!

The OVLC has always been sustained by our volunteers, both in the field and in the office. Without volunteers, our ability to build and maintain our trails would not be possible. That’s why we love our volunteers, and it’s also why we are constantly thinking of new opportunities to allow more people to be engaged in caring for our community’s natural areas. Providing more engagement opportunities was why we first thought of creating this Volunteer Adopter Program, but when the pandemic hit, it crystalized the need for a more flexible volunteer program that allows for more autonomy and independence on the part of volunteers. Plus, with all of the added use of the preserves during the pandemic, the need for trail maintenance is paramount. This Volunteer Adopter Program will be crucial in helping to achieve our stewardship goals through the rest of this pandemic and beyond. 

Do you want to be an adopter? To learn more and to sign up, contact Brendan Taylor:

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  1. Pat Essick says:

    I think this a great idea. I would like to participate. I would be happy to commit to cleaning/checking up on a trail, or part of a trail. I hope to hear from Brendan to see where I am needed and what I need to do.

    • Nathan Wickstrum says:

      Hi Pat, Brendan should be in contact with you soon. Thank you for your desire to participate in the program!