Sudden Oak Life event Spring 2022: Fire Mimicry and TEK at Indian Canyon (May 13-15)

11 03 2022

Indian Canyon Nation, EcoCamp Coyote, and Sudden Oak Life are collaborating again on an upcoming 3-day intensive workshop titled “Fire Mimicry and Traditional Ecological Knowledge” being held at Indian Canyon May 13-15, 2022. This event will feature Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Indian Canyon Nation, Mutsun Ohlone), Tom “Little Bear” Nason (Tribal Chairman of the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County), Leo Lauchere (EcoCamp Coyote), and Lee Klinger (Sudden Oak Life). Here are some of the topics we will cover:

• How this restoration work supports and is informed by indigenous cultures and traditions

• Explore right-relationship with the land and its people

• History and shared lineages of the Esselen and Mutsun Ohlone People

• Modern cultural tending and management of Central Coast forests

• Identifying culturally modified trees and landscapes

• The science and practice of fire mimicry

• Demonstration of stem canker surgical procedure

This is a rare event and should not be missed by anyone passionate about tending oaks and other native trees. More information and registration for the event are here.





Today’s “Tending the Forest with Fire” workshop summary

5 12 2021

Today Sudden Oak Life, EcoCamp Coyote, and the Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association (CCPBA) held a workshop “Tending the Forest with Fire” at Indian Canyon hosted by Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Mutsun Ohlone). This was a followup event to the Fire Mimicry and TEK workshop at Indian Canyon in November ’21 where we learned the details of fire mimicry and traditional tending of the land.

After singing her beautiful Grandmother song to the group of over 60 participants today, Kanyon shared a thoughtful land acknowledgement and a summary of the Native history of Indian Canyon. I then described briefly the ecology and practice of fire mimicry covered in the previous workshop, and the strategies for staging the cleared materials for burning. Jared Childress (CCPBA) then provided detailed instructions on burn preparation protocols, methods and tools for safe pile burning, and the various resources for conducting these activities on private properties. A crew from Cal Fire showed up with their fire engine and made clear their intent of supporting and educating folks on safe fire management.

Once the fires were started we switched from workshop to work party mode, and ended up burning all the piles of cleared material from the previous workshop. Jonathan Kabat showed up with a simple setup for making biochar, and we made several hundred pounds of biochar today, which we will spread around the nearby oaks to improve their health.

Below are some photos of today’s activities. Many thanks to all who participated!

Opening circle
Jared Childress (Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association)
Feeding the fires
Feeding the fire
Making biochar
Putting out the fires at the end of the day
Biochar spoils





“Tending the Forest with Fire” at Indian Canyon

19 11 2021

Here’s an upcoming one-day workshop on “Tending the forest with fire” sponsored by Sudden Oak Life, the Central Coast Prescribed Fire Association, and EcoCamp Coyote at Indian Canyon, near Hollister, CA. Proceeds will go to the “Save Indian Canyon” fundraiser. Spaces are limited so please sign up soon!

For more information see the Eventbrite page.





Spreading the knowledge of Fire Mimicry and TEK

15 11 2021

Last night I returned home to Big Sur full of hope and joy after a successful “Fire Mimicry and Insights of Traditional Ecological Knowledge” workshop held at Indian Canyon over the weekend. About 60 truly fine and stellar people showed up! Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Costanoan Ohlone, Chumash) welcomed us warmly to Indian Canyon and skillfully held us accountable for our sacred relations to the land and people. Ruth Orta (Ohlone, Bay Miwok, Plains Miwok) generously shared stories of her family history and instructed us on traditional methods of acorn processing. Leo Lauchere, Ero Gorski, Jill Kunishige, and the rest of the crew of Ecocamp Coyote did a fantastic job of organizing the schedule and providing the necessary infrastructure. And all the while, Red prepared and served us the tastiest vegan meals imaginable!. Many thanks, too, to my loyal colleagues Giovanna Piumarta, Sprout Weinberger, Siena King, and Jorge Espinosa for showing up and sharing their fire mimicry knowledge and insights. If you missed the event, don’t worry, we’ll definitely be doing this again!


Also, there will a followup event on Sunday, December 5, 2021 at Indian Canyon where we will be holding a burn pile workshop. Prescribed fire expert Jared Childress and several of his colleagues will be there to help lead and teach us about fire safety and management. I’ll also be there sharing about fire mimicry. Watch this page for further details.


Here are images of some of the event highlights this past weekend …

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Upcoming 3-day workshop: Fire Mimicry and Insights into Traditional Ecological Knowledge

31 10 2021

Indian Canyon Nation, EcoCamp Coyote, and Sudden Oak Life are collaborating on an upcoming 3-day intensive workshop titled “Fire Mimicry and Insights of Traditional Ecological Knowledge” being held at Indian Canyon November 12-14, 2021. This event will feature Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Mutsun Ohlone), Ruth Orta (Him•re-n of Ohlone, Bay Miwok, and Plains Miwok), Ero Gorski and Leo Lauchere (EcoCamp Coyote), and Lee Klinger (Sudden Oak Life). Here are some of the topics we will cover:

• identifying culturally modified trees and landscapes

• the science and practice of fire mimicry

• demonstration of stem canker surgical procedure

• considerations for acorn harvesting

• methods of oak seedling propagation.

This is a rare event and should not be missed by anyone passionate about tending oaks and other native trees. More information and registration for the event are here.

Coast live oak at Indian Canyon tended with fire mimicry since 2019





Video recording of “Forest restoration theory and practice based on Indigenous cultural tending”

17 11 2020

Here a Youtube video of my recent lecture and discussion in the course FORESTS, hosted by the Humanities Center of Texas Tech University. Many thanks to Bruce Clarke and Michael Borshuk for facilitating this talk!





Upcoming zoom lecture (Thursday, Nov. 12) – “Forest restoration theory and practice based on Indigenous cultural tending”

7 11 2020

This Thursday, November 12, (5:30 pm Pacific Time) I will be conducting a zoom lecture and discussion for the online course FORESTS, hosted by Texas Tech University, on the topic of “Forest Restoration Theory and Practice Based on Indigenous Cultural Tending”. The points I will be addressing are: Gaia theory, ecological succession, fire ecology of California, evidence of cultural modification of trees and landscapes, and approaches to forest restoration. The lecture is open to all, just be sure to register beforehand. Follow the embedded link to register.





A lecture on my latest results – Texas Tech University online course: “Forests”

21 09 2020

This Fall 2020 I will be lecturing for the online course FORESTS, hosted by Texas Tech University, on the topic of “Forest Restoration Theory and Practice Based on Indigenous Cultural Tending”. The speaker list is excellent and I plan to participate on all of the lectures and discussions.





Video – “Living with Fire: Fire Ecology of the Central Coast” Dec. 6, 2018, Santa Cruz Public Library

20 12 2018

Big Sur 2008 fire

“Living with Fire: Fire Ecology of the Central Coast” – a talk by Lee Klinger





Living with fire: The fire ecology of the Central Coast

28 11 2018

On Thursday, December 6, 2018 I’ll be presenting and discussing the fire ecology of the Central Coast at the Santa Cruz Public Library (224 Church St.) starting at 6:30 pm. Topics will include the California native people’s use of fire in land management, modern fire regimes, fire mimicry, and the role of climate change. For more information on this free event see: https://www.santacruzpl.org/news/permalink/793/

Big Sur 2008 fire