818-597-8627 info@rcdsmm.org

WiLD CiTY

an outdoor workshop series by your RCD

WiLD CiTY is an immersive workshop series all about connecting with the beautiful and sometimes surprising nature that exists throughout Los Angeles and beyond.

During our Spring 2024 series we’ll be guiding participants on unique, informative and thought-provoking excursions where you’re invited to connect with and even care for the WiLD spaces we explore.

In keeping with tradition, following each workshop there will be an optional opportunity to further engage with the WiLD CiTY Community at nearby restaurants, breweries and tasting rooms.

Check out full descriptions for each upcoming workshop below and RSVP for the one (or ones!) that you connect most with!

All tickets are on a “pay what you can” scale with a minimum donation of $10, but if you’d like to help us cover our costs, tickets are valued at $50 per workshop.

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Book Your Adventure Today!

Secret Wonders of Nicholas Flat

Led by: John Luker  |  February 17th, 2024  |  9am-11:30am  |  Nicholas Flat Trailhead

  • Nicholas Flat Nature Preserve is a gem in the Santa Monica Mountains. It sits on former ranch land that was purchased by the State of California in the 1980’s, and has been turned into a refuge for animals, trees, habitat, and… people. Ravaged by the 2019 Woolsey Fire, this site’s regrowth is a beautiful display of resilience. It is amazing to see what happens when a place has been given back to nature. This walk will take you through the process of restoration and showcase the marvelous resources inside this beautiful Preserve. Please wear sturdy boots, long pants, BRING WATER, sunglasses, hat, sweater, and, of course, CAMERAS! A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Beyond Landscaping – Reconnecting with Native Plants

Led by: Antonio Sanchez  |  March 9th, 2024  |  9am-11am  |  Rocky Oaks Park

  • Reminding us that native plants are more than a low water landscaping option, this walk around Rocky Oaks Park is an invitation to engage more deeply with the native plants that make up our beloved WiLD landscapes. We’ll get to meet some of the most inspiring plants through story-telling – how some can make us laugh, how some have made us cry, how we, in all of our humanness, have maybe made them feel, and how we can learn from their existence. We’ll use metaphors, words, and poetry to describe plants, to bring them closer to our everyday lives. We’ll learn about their flowering times, their favorite pollinators, and their ethnobotanical uses, but we’re also asking important questions like… How have humans and plants evolved together? What does a personal relationship with plants look like? How do we interact with them? How do we move forward with them?

Canyon Songs – A Practice in Reciprocity

Led by: Stacey Villalobos  |  April 6th, 2024  |  9am-11am  |  Eaton Canyon

  • Offering your voice to the land has been one way people of many cultures practice being in relationship with the Earth. Singing to the water, the stones, the animals, plants and more than human beings can support our commitment to land relations wherever we may find ourselves. Canyon Songs is a two hour workshop led by Stacey Villalobos for anyone that is interested in the practice of singing as an offering to the land with the intention of developing and/or strengthening the practice of embodied voice ‘ofrendas’. You do not need to be a singer or musician to participate; all you need is your voice, an open heart and a bit of courage as we collectively practice reciprocity with the lands that hold us. This workshop will include a short walk along the trail, meditation, journaling, storytelling & voice exercises. Our gathering takes place in a canyon, where participants may be required to walk up to 2 miles round trip. If you have any questions about accessibility please email us here. Thank you!

Currently this workshop is at capacity. If you’re interested in participating, reach out directly to our Program Coordinators to inquire about available space. 

A Walk on the WiLD Side (of the LA River)

Led by: Dan Cooper  |  May 4th, 2024  |  9am-11am  |  Glendale Narrows River Walk

  • Join RCD Principal Conservation Biologist, Dan Cooper, as he takes us on a journey through the Los Angeles River. Discover the hidden, wild corners of this now channelized river and meet some of the exciting wildlife that call this concrete creek home.

Past Series

  • “Pictures & Places” at Bronson Caves with Filmmaker Pavli Serenetsky
  • “A Hike Through History” at Santa Susana Pass with Conservation Leaders Wendi Gladstone & Teena Tanaka
  • Native Plant Landscaping at Theodore Payne Foundation with On-Staff Native Plant Specialist
  • Paper Making & Plant Dyeing at Will Rogers State Historic Park with Artists/Naturalists Ashley Meier and Amy Stewart
  • Marine Science at Malibu Lagoon with Marine Biologist Jelly Kahler
  • Oak Woodland Stewardship in Topanga with Oak Expert Rosi Dagit
  • Creative Writing at Griffith Park with Creative Nonfiction Writer Dr. Liz Stephens
  • Native Bird Walk at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve with Local Bird Expert Dr. Dan Cooper
  • Invasive Crayfish Removal in Topanga Creek with RCD Stream Team
  • Watercolor in Nature at Debs Park with Artist & Botanist Margaret Gallagher

About the Environmental & Creative Professionals Leading WiLD CiTY:

John Luker, President of Save Chatsworth Inc.

Your hike leader is John Luker, President of Save Chatsworth, inc 501(c)3. He has a long-time relationship with Nicholas Flat, starting with State Parks Resources in 2010. Currently, John and his partner Wendi Gladstone, run a program called “Sky Valley Volunteers”. They plant oak trees and are consultants on habitat restoration projects in the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains. He brings his humor, love and expertise about our shared mountains to everything he does.

Antonio Sanchez, Nursery Manager & Restoration Volunteer Outreach Coordinator at SAMOFund

Antonio Sanchez is the Nursery Manager and Restoration Volunteer Outreach Coordinator for SAMOFund in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and has been working around native plants for nearly 2 decades. He is co-founder and lead singer of the native plant band Sage Against the Machine (@nativesageagainstthemachine), and was lead organizer for the California Native Food Symposium, the Southern California Monarch and Milkweed Conference, the first Ventura County Native Plant Symposium, and the California Native Sage Festival.  Antonio has worked at various native plant institutions around the state, and has managed the nurseries at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, worked as a landscaper at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, worked as a nursery technician at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Native Plants, and co-founded and ran Nopalito Native Plant Nursery in Ventura, CA, with a good friend and a cousin, for nearly 4 years.  He believes in making native plants fun and approachable to all, learning about and teaching old and new ways with native plants, and that Hummingbird Sage is probably the prettiest California native sage, but Salvia pachyphylla is a close second.

Stacey Villalobos, Bilingual Cultural Worker & Interdisciplinary Artist

Stacey (they/them/elle) is a bilingual cultural worker & interdisciplinary artist from the San Gorgonio Pass of Southern California with native & ancestral roots in México. They have been a land steward of the Mojave & Colorado deserts for over six years and their practice weaves art, culture & spirit as a way of building relationships. They have had the honor of working with youth & families of color as a community educator, co-facilitated a racial justice program for California desert conservation advocates and is now supporting relational healing & reconciliation efforts in service of Indigenous groups + nations throughout Turtle Island.

Dan Cooper, Principal Conservation Biologist at RCDSMM

Dan is a lifelong resident of Southern California and is regarded as an expert on the birds and natural history in the area. Through research and independent consulting, he has spent more than 20 years conducting surveys and drafting reports in the region, as well as co-authored a landmark conservation analysis for the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone for L.A. Co. Department of Regional Planning in 2014. Prior to being an independent consultant, Dan was the Conservation Director for Audubon California in the early 2000s, where he helped develop the Audubon Center at Debs Park and wrote Important Bird Areas of California. Dan has published several dozen peer-reviewed papers on biodiversity patterns and local plant and wildlife species and was named a Research Associate in the Department of Ornithology at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum in 2020. Since 2012, he and his family have made their home in Oak Park.

Marilyn Brody French, RCD's Director of the Education & Engagement

Marilyn Brody French joined the RCD in 2020 as a Conservation Biologist, and in 2021 decided to further serve the RCD’s mission by taking on the role of Education Programs Supervisor. She began community education program development in 2017 while simultaneously achieving a masters from Cornell University in Conservation and Community Development, bringing real-world perspectives on earth stewardship and sustainability to environmental education programs. Throughout her 10 years of conservation research, her passion has always centered on sharing with local communities the reciprocity we share with nature.

Jelly Kahler, RCD's Education & Engagement Supervisor

Angelica Kahler (pronouns: she, her), better known as Jelly around the office, is the RCD’s Education and Engagement Supervisor. Jelly started with the RCD in October of 2018 as a Watershed Stewards Program (or WSP) Member. She graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA in 2016 with Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology. As the Education and Engagement Supervisor, Jelly leads environmental education field programs as well as classroom science programs, develops education and outreach materials, helps expand upon current education programs and develop new opportunities for environmental education, develops and coordinates community-based science programs, and coordinates RCD outreach through social media, newsletters, blog posts, virtual fundraising campaigns and annual reports.

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