Native Plantpalooza & Eco Fest Stages a Successful Return October 7; See the gallery of photos!

Published by Anne Russell on

An animal handler holds a large Eurasian eagle-owl.

Animal Actors of Hollywood introduced the audience to a Eurasian eagle-owl.

Last year, COSF launched a live event as part of its popular Speaker Series: Native Plantpalooza & Eco Fest. This year Native Plantpalooza returned to Conejo Creek North Park on Saturday, October 7, an unusually warm day. Nonetheless, the free event, which featured beekeepers, butterfly experts, climate activists and other exhibitors with a commitment to the environment, drew a crowd of adults and children. Many of the booths offered crafts and other eco-related activities for kids.

Scroll to the bottom of this article to see a gallery of photos from Plantpalooza 2023.

Attendees enjoyed two presentations. The first was from nursery manager and restoration volunteer coordinator for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Antonio Sanchez. Following that, Animal Actors of Hollywood handlers introduced families to native species such as a red-tailed hawk, possum and fox squirrel as well as exotics that included a baby porcupine and a Eurasian eagle-owl.

Sanchez’s talk focused on Mission Monarch, which the Santa Monica Mountains Fund (SAMO) launched to encourage the cultivation. and planting of native narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis). To date, volunteers at Sanchez’s nursery have given away tens of thousands of milkweed plants  all over Los Angeles and Ventura County. Sanchez explained to the audience how to grow narrowleaf milkweed from seed and why tropical milkweed is not a good option for supporting the Western monarchs.

Exhibitors returning from 2022 included representatives from:

  • Athens Services
  • Stacey Ruda Best Nature Art
  • Betina’s Butterfly Garden
  • California Wildlife Center
  • Citizen’s Climate Lobby
  • Conejo Climate Coalition
  • Conejo Recreation & Park District
  • Conejo Valley Garden Club
  • Conejo Valley Audubon Society
  • Growing Works Nursery
  • National Wildlife Federation/Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing

COSF welcomed the following new exhibitors this year:

  • Acorn Design Studios, with garden designer Erik Oberg
  • California American Water
  • Calleguas Municipal Water District
  • Chumash Indian Museum
  • Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency
  • Conejo Valley Botanic Garden
  • Fleet Feet
  • Forest Needle Wellness
  • Millipops plantable lollipops
  • Save My Bees, with beekeeper Byron Levy
  • Southwestern Herpetologists Society
  • Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery
  • Thousand Oaks High School Environmental Club
  • Thousand Oaks Library
  • 350 Conejo

The Calleguas Water District was the premier sponsor of the event this year,

One of the festival’s goals is to encourage the use. of native plants in Conejo Valley gardens to better support the Conejo Valley’s rich biodiversity. Many attendees took home plants or seeds that will help fulfill that goal.

If you would like your organization to be represented with a free exhibitor space at the next event, please send us your contact info at