Big Sur: Why Should We Protect It?

Nowhere is more rare, more bold - yet more representative of the natural, native California than this enchanting Big Sur coastal region of the complex Santa Lucia mountains. There is no greater classroom for learning the pre-civilization California, and why we should protect it.
Dates and Schedule





Big Sur Wild Watersheds Confluence
A week of natural and cultural history workshops and lectures
"There was a rendezvous here, where seventy-two miles of wild coast country lay dazzling in the sun. Rachel Carson called such meeting 'a place of compromise, conflict and eternal change.' Here sea and land consorted, the seeping moisture in each fold of the mountain range emerged and slipped musically into the shifting continents of kelp. The conflict and change was a natural interplay in the balance of life. Then came the road." Margaret Owings, 1965:




Sept 30


Welcome 8:30
Magnus Torén


9:15 Workshop
The Rare Bioregion of the Big Sur Coastal Santa Lucias

Setting the Scene

10:30 Workshop
Lay of the Land and Flow of the Water - Geology and Hydrology

Native flora of the coastal range

Nikki Nedeff, Jeff Norman

Barry Hecht and Gary Ernst


Nikki Nedeff, David Rogers and Mary Ann Matthews
Authors, Central Coast Native Flora experts

12:30 Geology & Hydrology Field Trip

3 pm Native Flora Field Trip

Oct 1


9 am Zoology Lecture

10:30 Marine Lecture


Kaitilin Gaffney
Program Director, The Ocean Conservancy

Dr. John Smiley
Director, UC Big Creek Reserve



12:30 Zoology Field Trip

3 pm Marine Field Trip

Wednesday Oct 2


9 am Pre Colombian History Lecture

10:30 Cultural History Lecture

Gregg Castro, Salinan Nation Council Chair
Dr. Gary Breschini, archaeologist and author, Esselen Indian expert

Jeff Norman, author and foremost Big Sur region natural and cultural history expert

12:30 Pre-Columbian Field Trip

3 pm Cultural History Field Trip

Thursday Oct 3



9 am Art & Literature Lecture

10:30 am- 11:45 Birds Lecture

Elliot Roberts, Taelen Thomas, Magnus Torén

Sarah Hamilton

12:30 Arts & Literature Field Trip

3 pm Birds Field Trip

Thursday Night
Poetry, Song and Concluding Lectures

Jeff Norman
and Deborah Streeter

Confluence Site, Henry Miller Library, Big Sur


Total enrollment 40
Two groups of 20 each for afternoon field trips


Big Sur Wild Watersheds Forum & Fair

Pictures from the Fair

The entire confluence package is $1000.00. This includes a shared room, breakfast, snacks and lunch each day. (does not include Monday breakfast)
Accommodations are shared; two participants per room. Rooms are large and most of them ("first come first serve") have fireplaces. If you would like a private, non-shared room, please indicate on the reservation form.
Private rooms are $160.00 extra for the week.
For those attending the workshop, and not needing a room at the Big Sur Lodge, the price is $400.00, including lunch and snacks.
You will receive confirmation upon receipt of your payment.
Reservation deadline is August 20th.
Please indicate if you have any dietary restrictions or special needs.
Cancellation policy: 75% refund two weeks prior. No refund for no-show.  

Watersheds Confluence Reservation Form

My Name

My Email Address

I will share a room

My roommate is

I am coming alone, but want to share a room

I am coming alone, and want my own room (no roommate)

Call me for my credit card information

"Along the central California coast, between Monterey and San Luis Obispo, a geologically young and still uplifting range of mountains rises abruptly from the Pacific Ocean, forming a backdrop to the dramatic Big Sur coast: the Santa Lucia Mountains. Unlike so much of the landscape of California, which has been greatly altered by human activities, the extremely rugged and inaccessible terrain of much of the Santa Lucia Mountains has sheltered this region from exploitation. With the possible exception of parts of the King Range south of Cape Mendocino, the Santa Lucia Mountains are probably the most pristine of all the Outer Coast Ranges. The flora has thus remained overwhelmingly native, and, due to a number of geoclimatic factors which combine in these mountains, a rich and highly diversified assortment of plants can be found in relatively close proximity with the borders of this range."

David Rogers, Fremontia, Vol 19, No. 4