Forest Home Ojai

Located 15 minutes from the coastal town of Ventura, this Ojai site boasts warm days and cool nights year round.

Forest Home Ojai
Nestled among rolling hills and shady oak groves, just 11 miles from the beaches of Ventura, Forest Home Ojai Valley is the perfect choice for your group’s retreat or outdoor education experience.

Our intimate campus is large enough to accommodate groups up to 230, but it’s also small enough for you to foster meaningful interaction and deepen relationships.


You will be housed in either of the following: year-round, duplex cabins which house 10 people on each side, are climate controlled, and include private bathroom facilities (mostly for the girls). For the classic camping experience, you’ll enjoy our 8 bed canvas-sided platform tents with wood decks and porches, nestled in small clusters among the oak trees lining our creek (mostly for the guys). Bathrooms are located in nearby bathhouses, within easy walking distance.


Naturalists at Large’s experience have been that the students’ participation in the process of learning and living together provides the basic framework for a successful outdoore education program. The program emphasizes outdoor skills along with an introduction to the various environ­ments of the local area. Naturalists at Large takes respon­sibility for all evening ac­tivities, in addition to the day’s activities.

Students discover the unique natural and human history of the area, develop group cooperation through shared experiences, enhance leadership abili­ties, and learn basic outdoor skills. All Naturalists at Large programs are intended to give the students a “sense of place”. This is ac­com­plished by intro­ducing them to the natural and cultural history of the canyon and surrounding area while they explore the trails, study the various habitats, and live in the area.

Each trail group is with a Naturalists at Large naturalist-instructor and a faculty or parent chaperon for the entire program. Working in pods of 2 or 3 trail groups, each pod rotates to a new location each day, participating in activities that focus their attention on a particular concept or environment. The activities use active learning techniques plus “hands on” games and learning activities to help students grasp concepts.

Educational Themes can include:
  • Freshwater biology, stream ecology, and the water (hydrologic) cycle
  • Plant communities – botany, ecology, plant classification, taxonomy & the use of plant keys
  • Adapta­tions of plants and animals for surviving this land of little rain
  • Geology – landforms and weathering
  • The stars – the solar system, cosmology, star identification & constellations
  • Environmen­tal resource management
  • Water resources – pollution, sewage treatment, water sources
  • Outdoor skills
  • Invertebrate zoology & bird watching
  • The natural history of the Southern California transverse mountain ranges
  • Man’s role in the modification of the mountains
  • Using natural resources wisely