October 2019: A Look Ahead


As we slide past the Fall Equinox and into the shorter and shorter days of the coming winter, we are excited to announce several important updates.

First, we are approaching the completion of our initial fire recovery: clearing and cleaning the land, repairing buildings and infrastructure, overhauling systems, and returning basic safety to the land. This has been a monumental effort, and we are thankful to the many hearts and hands that have helped get us here.

Second, we are thrilled to announce that we are on track for a public re-opening of the Land Sanctuary in the spring of 2020. This will include day-only facilities and overnight camping accommodations for programs. Stay tuned for council training dates and more soon.

And last, but definitely not least, we are happy to announce that after much searching, we have found a talented and care-filled land steward: Mike Wiatt. We are grateful to have Mike on board, and ask you to join us in welcoming him to our broader community.

Needless to say, after several years of deep recovery, we are buoyed and encouraged by these steps, and the good still to come.

With gratitude,


The Executive Stewardship Circle
Brendan Clarke & Sharon Shay Sloan, Co-Directors
David Bryan & Laura Whitney, Board Co-Chairs

 Meet Michael


Hello TOF Community,

My name is Michael Wiatt. I’m honored and blessed to be stewarding the land at TOF. I grew up in a small town in southern Maine and was fortunate to have a strong and supportive local community. Much of my youth was spent exploring the forest, rivers and ocean in Maine, always on the hunt for a new place to enjoy. I first traveled to California as a senior in high school with Outward Bound, as part of a Sierra Nevada Alpine Mountaineering program. During the program, I fell in love with California’s mountains, rivers and lakes. Much like my young son, I still enjoy spending my days out in nature.

After attending college in Portland, Oregon, I moved to Costa Rica to continue my study of the Spanish language. While in Costa Rica, I began working as co-owner/operator of a health food restaurant. We had an affiliated farm, which I also facilitated, to provide fresh produce for the restaurant through a seasonal farm-to-table menu. It was there that I met my future wife, Ojai native Naomi Thornhill. Together we moved back to California and I began working as an electrician, with a focus on clean energy solar electric installations.

I’m grateful for the support and guidance of the TOF community and council, and the opportunity to steward the land. I hope to grow myself and others through council and community. I intend to steward the land to help balance ecosystems, create fire resilience and implement sustainable practices. I’m honored to be a part of restoring this community post-Thomas Fire and moving TOF towards its imminent reopening.

Michael Wiatt
Land Steward

Read more in his bio…

Calendar of Events

Volunteer Days of Service
Spend a day in community and in practice while giving back to the land. 

October 5th, 2019
November 2nd, 2019
December 14th, 2019

October 16th, 2019
November 13th, 2019
December 11th, 2019

RSVP to Mariah at business@ojaifoundation.org.