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2019 Regional Rendezvous

Nature lovers unite! You're invited to join California Naturalist for a natural history extravaganza in Cambria, California August 16-18. Have you ever seen the largest flying bird in North America soar, the California Condor? Harvested an oyster from your kayak? Visited the largest mainland elephant seal rookery in the world? Are you an avid birder that would enjoy your own "Big Day" with the area's premier birding authority? Do you enjoy the serenity of ocean bluffs and coastal forests and the unique plant communities they host? Would you like to learn how to harvest an entire (roadkill) deer using traditional stone tool methods? Are you interested in the natural history of raptors, falconry, and meeting powerful birds of prey? We have something for everyone at the Rendezvous! A variety of field trips with preeminent local nature experts, speakers, a natural resource professional panel, fireside programs, resource & skill exchange, meals, and camp lodging are all included in this fun, packed weekend. All nature-lovers welcome! Read on for details.



5PM Saturday-12PM Sunday. No one-day tickets will be sold. 

Download the agenda here (PDF).

Friday 3-5PM Registration Outside Craft Lodge
  5-5:45 Dinner Dining Hall
  6:30 Welcome speakers Fireside Lodge
  7:00 Plenary speaker Dr. Peter Alagona Fireside Lodge
  8:30 Campfire program Rainbow Bridge Amphitheater
Saturday 6:40AM Optional morning outing  Meet outside the Dining Hall
  8-8:45 Breakfast Dining Hall
  9AM-4PM Field trips  Meet outside the Dining Hall
  4-5 Happy hour appetizers & adult beverages Fireside Lodge Deck
  5-5:45 Dinner Dining Hall
  6-8 Resource exchange & nature journal share Pines Lodge
  8:30 Campfire music, insects & bats Rainbow Bridge Amphitheater
Sunday 6:40AM Optional morning outing  Meet outside the Dining Hall
  8-8:45 Breakfast Dining Hall
  9-10:30 Morning panel discussion Fireside Lodge
  10:30-10:45 Coffee Break Fireside Lodge
  10:45-12 Naturalist lightning talks Fireside Lodge
  12PM Closing event Rainbow Bridge Amphitheater

Welcome Speakers

Greg Ira Director, UC California Naturalist Program

Andrew Boyd-Goodrich Director, Camp Ocean Pines

Don Pierce, Jr. Salinian Tribe Elder. Born and raised in the mountains above Morro Bay he comes from a long line of ancestors traditionally located north of the Chumash. Mr. Pierce is presently the Salinan Chairman, Public Relations lead, Education lead, MBMM Board of trustee's, Native American liason for the Maritime museum and Navigators circle.

Dr. Katherine Soule University of California Cooperative Extension Director and Youth, Families, & Communities Advisor of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Dr. Soule’s programs integrate health education with community engagement, improving equity for marginalized populations.

Plenary Speaker

Should Californians bring back their long lost grizzlies? Why has endangered species conservation has been so controversial in the United States since the late 1970s? Our plenary speaker, Dr. Peter Alagona has a lot to say on the subject. Author of After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California, he is an associate professor of history, geography, and environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. An environmental historian and nature-culture geographer, Dr. Alagona explores what happens when humans share space and resources (their habitats) with other species: how we interact with non-human creatures, how we make sense of these interactions, why we fight so much about them, what we can learn from them, and how we might use these lessons to foster a more just and sustainable society.

Natural Resources Expert Panel

What are the pressing issues facing land stewards and agencies today? What should naturalists know about engaging meaningfully and connecting with organizations that share a conservation ethic? We have invited a panel of the area's top natural resource experts- bring your questions!

Panel Speakers (more to be confirmed):

Daniel Bohlman, Deputy Director, The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

Heather Holm, Interpretive Planning and Program Section Manager for California Department of Parks and Recreation

Adina Merenlender, Conservation Biologist, UC Berkeley Adjunct Professor, UC ANR Cooperative Extension Specialist. 

Scot Pipkin, Director of Education, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Panel Moderator:

Chris Cameron, former Director and lead California Naturalist instructor, Camp Ocean Pines

Lightning Talks

For this dispersed community of California Naturalists to grow and thrive, we need to actively share and learn from each other! It is important to discuss what we're doing and what we're passionate about with others. Lightning talks give a low pressure, quick-and-clean review of important highlights of your naturalist experience: in just 5 minutes share an interpretive technique, an overview of your capstone project, a creative endeavor, a volunteer opportunity, a project your organization could use help with. Whatever ignites YOU energizes the rest of us too! Lightning talks are a fun and lively forum to share and inspire. Talk submissions must be received by August 9. Learn more about what and how to submit your talk here.

Lightning Talk Schedule

Helen Doyle Elephant Seal mating in the #metoo era In our roles as naturalists and interpreters, we want to share our knowledge of and passion for the environment yet we can be challenged by fresh questions from kids or by the differing perspectives of people who don’t share our backgrounds. Together we’ll brainstorm ways we can improvise to adapt our interpretation to our audience and to be sensitive and effective as educators while remaining true to our commitment and training as naturalists.
Jacqueline Deely Photography as a Conservation Tool Accomplishing my capstone project of a photography exhibit and talk about Western Snowy Plovers at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. How photography can help us learn about the natural world and open our eyes to conservation issues, but also make a difference.
Melina Sempill Watts Tree: 229 years in the life of a California Live Oak from the point of view of the tree Using magical realism as a key to access the interrelated emotional realities of the many species that share one pristine valley in Topanga, California, grass, birds, other trees and animals come to life on the pages. The evolution of four human civilizations (Chumash, Spanish/Mexican, Yankee and new money Hollywood) each leave their mark upon the landscape and upon Tree. Tree will change how you see nature.
Michael Hubbartt Ancient Traditions Forge Modern Connections Humans have always gathered around the fire to listen to elders share stories about tribal history, shared morals, values and beliefs, connection to the land and its animals, and to instruct and teach. Storytelling is a uniquely human characteristic that is “hardwired” into all of us. This lightning talk focuses on the ancient roots of spoken tradition and storytelling and how their modern application can be used as a powerful interpretation tool today.
Adina Merenlender Curriculum gaps for adult climate literacy Syllabus content analysis from 74 undergraduate general climate change courses reveal a dearth of content related to climate change solutions and communication. Also, impacts of climate change on biodiversity and its role in regulating climate are missing from the majority of the syllabi. We recommend educators include a broader array of inter-disciplinary topics, place-based information, communication strategies, and mitigation and adaptation solutions to bridge the gap between climate science and literacy.
Elaine de Man Dare to Suck! And other steps to becoming a CLIMATE ACTIVIST. Effective ways to advocate for the environment on the local and regional level. You may not win the battle. But no matter. You are one step closer to winning the war.
Susie Claxton California Naturalist: Finding my TRUE SELF outside Personal journaling through California Naturalist
Kat Montgomery Bridging the Gap: From Camp to Capitol Hill My naturalist journey has taken me from summer camp to environmental education to academia and now to the world of policy. I will talk briefly about how I hope to use my background as a naturalist and educator to bridge the gap between science and policy with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Cindy Roessler Get Plastics Off The Menu To protect wildlife from swallowing or otherwise being harmed by plastic waste, learn these facts and techniques to quickly convince people to stop using single-use plastic items when dining. Develop your elevator speech to get plastic off the menus for both humans and wildlife.
Sarah Angulo It’s About the Process, Not the Product So many naturalists are nervous to incorporate extensive illustration into their nature journaling practice. Where does that anxiety come from, and how can we overcome it? Dabble in a few observations on the topic from California Naturalist staff, Sarah Angulo.

Field Trips

Central CA 123
Have you ever seen the largest flying bird in North America soar, the California Condor? Harvested an oyster from your kayak? Visited the largest mainland elephant seal rookery in the world? Are you an avid birder that would enjoy your own "Big Day" with the area's premier birding authority? Do you enjoy the serenity of ocean bluffs and coastal forests and the unique plant communities they host? Would you like to learn how to harvest an entire deer using traditional stone tool methods? Are you interested in the natural history of raptors, falconry, and meeting powerful birds of prey? We have something for everyone at the rendezvous! Each attendee may choose one field trip/workshop. More detailed descriptions here.


Be sure to check out your field trip and workshop choices above first. On-site housing is provided and encouraged, as we have a jam-packed schedule! Join us for the weekend. Rendezvous includes field trips, plenary speaker Dr. Peter Alagona, lighting talks, book exchange, fireside programs and five delicious meals at Camp Ocean Pines.

You may stay on site in Camp Ocean Pines cabins or off site. Cabins have beautiful hand-crafted bunk beds, a toilet room and a shower room. Lodging is shared, with cabins holding 10 people apiece, with mixed-gender and single-gender spaces available. Sorry, but private cabins are not available. You may also stay on site in your own tent (same price, access to toilet and shower rooms included).

The California Naturalist program is committed to building an inclusive community. We have implemented equity pricing that we hope will serve the community better and allow us to recover the costs of holding this event. Be sure to register ASAP for early bird pricing and if you are low income or have extenuating financial circumstances; we have a limited number of subsidized tickets available. Equity pricing for this event allows you to pick the registration fee (options 1-3) that works best for you, based on your income. We suggest you use the below chart, based on  to find your household number, corresponding income bracket, and suggested registration option (1-3) below. Please note there are a limited number of subsidized options available.

San Luis Obispo County HUD Incomes
Household members Option 3 (High Income) Option 2 (Medium Income) Option 1 (Low Income)
1 $69,900.00 $58,250.00 $46,600.00
2 $79,900.00 $66,550.00 $53,250.00
3+ $89,850.00 $74,900.00 $59,900.00

The registration rates are as follows:

On-site lodging: Option 3 is $315 (standard price), option 2 is $260 (partial subsidy), and 1 is $175 (equity price)

Off-site lodging (meals at Camp  Ocean Pines are included in this price): Option 3 is $265 (standard price), option 2 is $210 (partial subsidy), and 1 is $125 (equity price)

For more information about Camp Ocean Pines or if you have questions, please contact Luann at luann@campoceanpines.org or call 805-924-4016. Deadline for registration is Monday, August 12th.


Natural History Book/Information Exchange

If you'd like to participate in a free information exchange, please bring something fun with you to share (an old field guide or two, natural history fiction or non-fiction book, a great map, brochure to a neat place you visited, a magazine or article, poem, a nature-inspired recipe or craft, flier for an upcoming event or organization you work with etc) and plan to take something fun home in return! We'll collect your item(s) at registration and lay them out for you to peruse after dinner Saturday. Leftover items will be donated to a public library.

Also, we'll have a nature journal share. Bring yours and open it to your favorite page! Pretty or accurate drawings are welcome but definitely not necessary- we're all at a different place with our skills and practice abilities! 

In addition, California Naturalist will have sweatshirts, tee shirts, journals, patches, and hats for sale at the event, for cash only. The Camp Ocean Pines store will also be open periodically throughout the Rendezvous.

Getting to the Rendezvous

Find/Share a ride on this Google spreadsheet.

Camp Ocean Pines is located at 1473 Randall Drive, Cambria, CA 93428. Cambria is a seaside town in San Luis Obispo County midway between San Francisco (driving time ~3:45) and Los Angeles (driving time ~3:30) along California State Route 1. Home of the UC Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino ReserveFiscalini Ranch PreserveCambria State Marine Conservation Area and White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area, Cambria has a lot to offer nature-loving visitors! 


  • A journal - an empty notebook, with or without lines or grids, for you to begin your nature observations. And a favorite page to share for the Saturday night journal share.
  • Colored pencils to write and sketch in your nature journal
  • Your cell phone or iPad or laptop for iNaturalist observations
  • Things you like to bring on the trail - none are required: daypack, water bottle, pocket knife, binoculars, magnifying glass, watershoes...
  • Clothes - I'm not going to tell you what to wear, you're all adults!  You will be living in that narrow band of perfect coastal weather - high of 76 and the low of 45.  Some will be on a kayak, but don't expect anyone to fall in - so a bathing suit is not required.  I do encourage water shoes to walk on the mud in the bay and a good rain jacket is always a good idea.
  • Sleeping bag or sheets/blankets, pillow (chocolate for the top of your pillow)
  • Towel and toiletries
  • Your own special food or snacks if you have unusual tastes or extra special allergy needs
  • Optional: something for the resource exchange


  • Cabins with bunkbeds, toilet, shower, sink, electricity (see pics here)
  • Good meals, drinks, healthy snacks
  • Meeting rooms, great speakers, amazing field trips
  • Washer/dryer if you need to wash clothes
  • Wifi

 About our Partner, Camp Ocean Pines


Camp Ocean Pines was established in 1946 to serve the community as a non-profit camp and a conference center. A jewel on the Central Coast, the camp sits on thirteen donated acres of Monterey Pine forest that nearly meets the ocean shore. Camp Ocean Pines has made memories for more than 100,000 campers – with generations more to come!

Camp Ocean Pines is a truly unique place to visit! Wildlife abounds, with seals and otters swimming by, and deer roaming through the property. They have ten beautifully designed straw bale cabins engineered for passive solar efficiency, and timbers and siding milled from on-site wind-felled trees. By staying in these cabins, people experience facilities that use natural resources wisely. The campus can house 100 guests.

Mission Statement

The mission of Camp Ocean Pines is to foster enjoyment and appreciation of the natural world among people of all ages through creative activities in a residential camp setting.


Click here to view/download a Camp Ocean Pines campus map (PDF). And here to view/download a map of fun nature stuff to do on your own around campus.