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 »

JOIN OUR NEW ADOPTER PROGRAM!

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. For most of last spring and summer, we did not have volunteer crews working on trails. We had a small window in the fall when we were able to host volunteer events, but then a new Covid-19 surge shut us down again prior to the holidays. Here we sit, in February, with our volunteer programs mainly all on hold. 

The inability to host volunteer groups hampered our larger volunteer projects like building the Allan Jacobs Trail Bridge, but we did have some help. In the spring, when the trails were getting overgrown, as they normally do following the rainy season, we equipped some of our more experienced individual volunteers with supplies to stay on top of trail clearance. These volunteers were critical in maintaining a baseline level of care for our highly popular trail system and they confirmed something we at the OVLC have been considering for a while: we need a Volunteer Adopter Program. 

We’re very excited to announce that with funding from the Ojai Women’s Fund we are starting our Volunteer Adopter Program. This will help us maintain our 27 miles of trails and our oak woodland restoration sites. Individuals will be 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). 

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 will tend 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. 

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, or even get out this newsletter you’re reading, 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. 

To learn more contact Brendan Taylor: brendan@ovlc.org

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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!

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