Posted by: James Wapotich | March 27, 2022

Wilderness Hiking and Plants

Wilderness Hiking and Plants

The Santa Barbara Region is home to a rich variety of both trails and habitats. Through this series of immersive classes you will learn the basic skills and awareness to explore our backcountry trails; learn about the native plants found on our trails; and deepen your connection to the natural world.

Each class takes place on one of our local trails and is a mix of hands on instruction, immersive exercises, and sharing circles that allow for learning on many levels.

Reading the Landscape – April 30, 9AM-1PM

Learn how to orient yourself to the local landscape, read the topography, and create your own mental maps of the backcountry without the use of a GPS or compass. See how habitats and plant communities are organized on the landscape, and learn how to remove the word lost from your vocabulary.

Nature Connection – May 7, 9AM-1PM

Venturing out onto the land is even more rewarding when we take the time to develop a meaningful connection with nature. Learn how to feel more at home out on the trails and in the wilderness by being able to recognize plants every hiker should know. We will explore riparian and chaparral habitats, the plants that live there, and some of their edible and medicinal properties.

Listening to Nature – May 14, 9AM-1PM

As we start to feel at home in nature, the land itself can become a source of guidance and inspiration. By working with plants, habitats, and the landscape, and tuning into our senses we can begin to see nature as ally and lay the foundation for being able to know the backcountry like the back of our hand.

James Wapotich is a trail guide, UC Certified California Naturalist, Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with Los Padres National Forest, and author of the Santa Barbara News-Press hiking column, Trail Quest. He leads workshops on backpacking, wilderness awareness skills, and mindfulness in nature. 

Participants must be able to comfortably hike 2-3 miles. A list of what to bring and where to meet will be provided before each class.

This class is being offered through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

The class is $115 per person, or $85 for Garden members.

To register go to, or call (805) 682-4726 ext. 102.

If you’re not already a member of the Garden, you may want to consider becoming one. In addition to the discount for this class, the membership includes free admission to the Garden, as well as discounts on other classes, field trips, lectures, and special events through the Garden. Plus, of course, you’re supporting the propagation, conservation, study, and love of California native plants.

Feel free to contact me as well, or (805) 729-4250.

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