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Coming Home to Oaks & Acorns • Ojai




Countless cultures across the Northern Hemisphere have regarded acorns as a staff of life and powerful medicine. The Celts defended their sacred oak forests against the exploitation of Roman invaders. Indigenous Californians have meticulously tended multi-generational oak orchards for millenia. In present day Korea, people consume bitter acorn soba, with an anti-parasitic effect. Human history is deeply interwoven with the great lives of oak trees, and the nutrient dense little acorn.

Join Wildtender for a two day intensive exploring the pan-ancestral traditions of tending oak groves and processing acorns. Sit in circle and allow your hands to remember how to shell, grind, and leach acorns for food. Learn to make ink, dyes, and medicines from these mighty and generous trees. Come home to the wild, to your ancient self, and to oaks and acorns.

Weather permitting this course will take place entirely outside in the Sepse Wilderness (Chumash territory) surrounding Ojai. If winter storms grace the skies we will shelter and learn inside.

Workshop Details • Fall 2019

  • Day 1 | Meet in downtown Ojai at 10am and caravan to the nearby Sespe Wilderness. Day 1 will focus on acorns and food preparation. Program will conclude by 4pm.

  • Day 2 | Meet in downtown Ojai at 10am. Day 2 will focus on oaks for wildcrafting (dyes, inks and medicine). Program will conclude by 4pm.


Tuition is $120. All supplies are included.

Space is limited to only 13 participants and this program is by application.

No experience is required, but participation in this workshop will require walking on uneven trails and some physical exertion. Participants should be physically capable, free of bodily injury or serious health conditions. Participants must be at least 16 years of age. Click below for the registration page.

Meet your guides


Noël Vietor

Noël has been in an ongoing apprenticeship with sacred gardens and wilds of California. Her work and interests are dedicated to helping people relate more meaningfully with the land, themselves and each other. Noël served as the Program Coordinator for the Esalen Institute Farm & Garden in Big Sur from 2010-2015 – organizing its land-based educational programs and practice of Relational Agriculture, rooted in Esalen’s Gestalt lineage. Noël found a deep sense of belonging in the Big Sur wild while hiking the steep trails, learning the history and stories of the place, and experimenting with wild-crafting and homestead arts. Noël is certified with NOLS Wilderness First Aid.

photo by Colin McCarthy

photo by Colin McCarthy

Fletcher Tucker

Fletcher is a California Central Coast native, and a former inhabitant of Big Sur. Having hiked and backpacked throughout the American West, Europe and Japan, Fletcher has become a devotee of trail-craft and minimalist backpacking. Fletcher is an experienced teacher, ancestral skills practitioner, Deep Ecology disciple, and lifelong student of California natural history. Fletcher is a dedicated student of Gestalt practice, learning from Dorothy Charles and Eric Erickson in the lineage of Esalen co-founder Dick Price. Fletcher has also studied and participated ceremonially with teachers within indigenous North and South American spiritual traditions, which have deeply informed his spiritual relationship to nature. Fletcher is a NOLS certified Wilderness First Responder.



Kelsey, a western clinical herbalist, organic gardener, and traditional food enthusiast, serves a Wildtender’s Herbal Program Director. She believes that embracing plants as part of our larger community creates a greater opportunity to reconnect with our health in meaningful ways. Kelsey initiated her herbal studies on a pilgrimage to France, gathering wisdom from traditional European medicine masters. She expanded her engagement with the plant world through an apprenticeship in organic farming at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, followed by three years of study in Western Herbalism at the Ohlone Herbal Center in Berkeley, and another three years serving as a Director and on the core faculty at Ohlone.