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Wild Belonging • Ojai


January 27, 2019


“Nature is not a place to visit, it is home.” – Gary Snyder

The wild is always waiting with gifts of beauty and wisdom for those who take the time to slow down and tune in. By walking with curiosity and intention in nature, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and the world around us. Come wander the wilderness paths of Ojai (Chumash territory) with Wildtender co-founders Noël Vietor and Fletcher Tucker, and Heavy Nettle founder and clinical herbalist Kelsey Barrett. Expand your awareness and enliven your senses with seasonal explorations of the winter landscape. Breathe fragrant flora, eavesdrop on cackling acorn woodpeckers, and follow the graceful trails of black-tailed deer back to a state of restored intimacy with the Earth.

This day-long hiking program (up to 5 miles total at a gentle to moderate pace) will focus on mindfully connecting with the native plants and animals of the Ojai Wilderness. We will engage practices essential to land-based living including foraging, native plant medicine, animal tracking, and more.

Workshop Details • January 27, 2019 • 10 am - 4 pm

  • Sunday, January 27 (rescheduled from the 12th) | Meet at trailhead for brief orientation and introductions (parking & meeting place will be emailed upon registration). Begin our hike at a gentle pace, pausing for nature connection practices and informal instruction. Hiking program will conclude by 4 pm.

    Bring sun protection, something to sit on the damp ground (such as rain jacket or small tarp), water, pack lunch and provisions for a day on the land.


This program is complete.

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, traditional food enthusiast, and founder of Heavy Nettle (@heavynettlegathering) serves as 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.