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 »

From the Field / June ’20

By on July 27, 2020 in News

Used baby diapers, empty beer cans, human feces, and punctured flotation devices have no place on the preserves. Similarly, the OVLC is very conscientious in where it places trails, trying to minimize the environmental impact of our presence in nature, yet every day we find new trails down to the river. At this time in particular, when the preserves are seeing more use than they ever have before, the impacts to nature, and particularly the river, are upsetting. However, while the actions of few may be dominating our time and efforts, we would like to say “thank you” to the many who have come together to help us.

Thank you to everyone who has helped the OVLC through this challenging time. The notes of thanks that your write with your gifts are sent around to the staff to bolster their spirits as they have to clean up yet another mess at the river. The bags of trash you collect so the staff doesn’t have to don’t go unnoticed. Thank you to the crew of volunteers that cleaned up almost two dumpsters of trash one Sunday. Those of you that have volunteered to help patrol the preserves and work with our hired security to ensure everyone’s safety—including nature’s—you make a difference. Thank you for the extra gifts we have received at this time. They help pay for the unplanned costs of having to hire security guards on the weekends(a first for the OVLC!). Thank you to those who keep our signs and kiosks clean so visitors can read them. Thank you to everyone who has lent a helping hand over these last few months in any way, seen or unseen. We appreciate you and your support.

While most of our time in the field lately is spent managing the crowds, we are trying to balance it with clearing the trails for you to enjoy. Spring is the season of weed whacking—hundreds of hours of weed whacking—to keep the trails you love clear. This season is no different, especially with the late rains, except for one thing…we are missing our volunteers who help us with this massive undertaking each year. So please bear with us as we slowly make our way around the preserves. There are fewer of us this year, but we will get the trails clear.

We look forward to having our volunteers back in the field. We are grateful for the support they give us throughout the year. If you are out and about and you see our staff in the field, please remember, they are trying their best to cope with their new realities too. A kind word over a complaint is appreciated any day. Enjoy the trails.

Creature Feature

Monarch Butterfly

A Monarch Butterfly on a Narrow Leaf Milkweed that was planted by staff at the Ojai Meadow’s Preserve

One of the most iconic travelers that passes through the Ojai Meadows Preserve every year is back—the monarch butterfly! This species relies entirely on milkweed for its survival and reproduction. We all know this beauty of a butterfly is poisonous, but have you ever wondered why? The poison comes directly from the food they eat—milkweed. Milkweed is also the only plant where monarchs will lay their eggs since the caterpillars are very hungry once they emerge from their cocoons. Because of habitat loss and other environmental factors, populations of monarchs are declining. Lend them a helping hand and plant some native milkweed in your yard to create a “highway” for passing tourists. Or if you’re more interested in other ways to help, consider some citizen science projects such as iNaturalist or Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper.

It’s Unbeleafable!

Cobwebby Thistle

Have you been hiking or walking and gotten pricked by a thistle? If it’s around this time of year, you probably have. They have a bad reputation for their ability to reproduce and take over fields as a weed. But thistle blow your mind (pun intended)—did you know that not all thistles are weeds? In fact, there is one that is endemic and native to California—the cobwebby thistle (Cirsium occidentale). It looks very much like its name and is ecologically important. Cobwebby thistles serve as an important source of pollen and seed for native bees, butterflies, and birds. In fact, goldfinches relish the seeds and feed them to their young. This species of thistle blooms March to July, so next time you’re on one of our preserves, keep a sharp eye out!

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