Michael Wiatt spent much of his youth hiking, biking and exploring the immense forests surrounding his hometown of York, Maine. There he developed a strong connection with plants, animals and the natural landscape. He 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, he bonded with an Indigenous guide and fell in love with the mountains of the West Coast. He moved to Ojai in 2015 and began working as an electrician with a focus on clean energy solar electric installations.
In addition to being an electrician, Michael has frequently worked in landscape design, farming and general construction. While attending college in Portland Oregon, he studied philosophy, political science and Spanish. He spent five years in Costa Rica continuing to study the Spanish language and working as an owner-operator of Maracatu Natural Tropical Cuisine Restaurant. The restaurant offered healthy eating and atmosphere and supported an affiliated network of farms in a “Farm to Table” program. Michael is a graduate of the Regenerative Design Institute’s Ecology of Leadership. There he focused on council within community and daily nature-based gratitude practices. His background in construction, desire for personal growth and love of plants and animals has led him to The Ojai Foundation as Land Steward. He intends to steward the land in a way as to balance ecosystems, create fire resilience and sustainable, self-sufficient practices.