Ojai Meadows Preserve
Bringing Wildlife Back to Ojai
The Ojai Meadows Preserve is doing what it’s meant to do, connect people to the natural world. This restoration project was made possible by citizens and businesses, who helped transform the property into a gorgeous wetland environment.
What the Wetlands Used to Be
History has not been kind to the meadows with tree clearing and growing development. For decades the historic wetland was buried under sediment and fill dirt from nearby construction. A grove of non-native Eucalyptus trees were planted in the 1950s, eroding the possibility of native habitat returning on its own. Also the property was threatened with the possibility of a shopping center and parking lots. The meadows were acquired in 2001 by the Conservancy with an outpouring of community support to protect them. Most of the 1.35 million dollars came from 140 citizens and businesses, who demonstrated their commitment to preserving the meadows’ natural beauty.
Water Flows Again
A few years after it was acquired, the Conservancy partnered with the Ojai Valley Unified School District, securing grants, so that water flows could return to the preserve. Flood water from Nordhoff High School and Maricopa Highway were diverted onto the meadows bringing wildlife back to the area. This continues to be a work in progress with more diversity planned for the future.
With flooding problems alleviated, OVLC enlisted the help of botanists, biologists and restoration specialists for advice on how to bring the land back to its natural state. These experts designed a plan to excavate fill dirt, creating a basin for floodwater that would drain from the highway, high school and Taormina neighborhood into the preserve. Eucalyptus trees and other non-native plants have been replaced with native live oaks, sycamores, and cottonwoods.
Ojai Saddle Trails
The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA), in cooperation with the Ojai Land Conservancy (OVLC), has generously made the Ojai Saddle Trails available for the public to enjoy as of March 15, 2017. Global social reformer, Annie Besant, bought this historic property adjacent to the Ojai Meadows Preserve in the early 19th century for the work of J. Krishnamurti, one of the greatest philosophical and spiritual figures of the 20th century, who held gatherings here for thousands of people from the early 1920s until his death in Ojai in 1986. Symbolically rejoining the landscape that inspired thousands through the work of J. Krishnamurti, these new trails honor the history of the land and bring its beauty to new generations. The Ojai Saddle Trails are approximately one mile in length.
A Little Slice of Heaven
Once water returned to the wetlands, wildlife soon followed, creating a diverse ecosystem that’s now filled with a variety of species. If you see wildlife on the preserve and want to share your experience, send an email to email@example.com
Learn about your Local Environment
Environmental education programs and restoration tours occur throughout the year. If you or your group are interested in learning about the wetlands, wildlife and plants, call us and we’ll be happy to schedule a tour. Teachers at three neighboring schools use the preserve as an outdoor classroom for hundreds of students. Nordhoff High School students participate in field science classes doing work that helps with the restoration effort.
Need a Break?
Think of a thirty-minute walk around the preserve as a short vacation from your daily routine. Please respect wildlife and our restoration effort by staying on the trail. Dogs must be on a leash for the safety of wildlife and other dog walkers. Mutt Mitts and trash bins are available at both entrances. Equestrian and motor vehicle use are prohibited by the terms of the grant funding in order to protect sensitive habitat.
Want to Help?
Honor someone you love with a donation for naming rights in the preserve. Trees and a creek crossing are among the current naming opportunities. Please email the Conservancy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you would like to volunteer and help with the restoration project, call us at 649-6852 or email email@example.com. We have volunteer workdays and other projects that could use your help.