Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 6, 2024

MVNews this week:  Page 10


 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 6, 2024 


[Nyerges is the author of “Urban Survival Guide,” and other books. More 
information at]


We, at Lifeline for Pets, 
are so thankful to have 
your readership every 
week, to show you 
the beautiful pets we 
care for until we find 
them a loving home. 
We feature a variety 
of ages, colors, and purr-sonalities. All of these 
precious souls, like Joey & Julius here, give us so 
much joy. We are privileged to be able to care 
for them, and we hope you enjoy reading about 
them and will think of us 
when you are consider-
ing adopting a new feline 
family member. 

Please visit our website, 
at www.lifelineforpets.
org, or use the QR code, to see more and learn more about us. We 
wish you all the best in the new year. Happy “Mew” Year!




My interest in wild foods arose from my childhood interest in hiking and exploring the 
Angeles National Forest. At first, I was a backpacker who disliked carrying canned foods, 
but who loved the outdoors. Wherever I went, I wanted to know about the plants and wildlife 
that resided there. And I wanted to know the history of the early peoples who re-sided there.

By middle school, I had an encounter with another hiker in the mountains who explained to 
me and my hiking partner how he learned about wild foods from Northern California native 
peoples. Really? I exclaimed. What people? What plants? Are the plants still here? The man 
pointed out mustard and miners lettuce and pine needles before he hiked away. And I could 
not get this idea out of my mind.

My studies then opened a new world to me. In an overcrowded world of over-development, 
I learned that native peoples once exclusively resided where I lived, and they got everything 
from the land: Food, medicine, shelter, tools, clothing. 

My studies rapidly took me down the path of botany and biology and ethnobotany. There 
was no looking back. I realized that all our man-made problems are mostly due to our 
disrespect for the environment, and our greedy desire to extract more from nature than what 
is ecologically possible. 

I pursued botany in the urban areas, in the mountains, deserts, beaches, in Mexico, and in 
Ohio when I lived on my grandfather’s farm. In botany, I found a positive solution to most 
of our problems. By my mid-teens, I was no longer pursuing this from a fear perspective, but 
rather from the perspective of the excitement of re-discovering the living legacy of na-tive 

I read every book on the subject I could get my hands on. I made friends with native Americans 
near me. And I started writing my first book. I would hitchhike up and down the west coast, 
supplementing my diet with wild foods. I would go into the local mountains to test myself, 
living off wild foods for a week or a weekend at a time

By 1974, I was asked to lead a wild food walk for a local non profit, WTI, based in the Highland 
Park section of Los Angeles. I wasn’t sure I could do it. I had just turned 19, and thought that 
there had to be far more qualified people out there. But I said yes. The founder of the non-
profit, Richard White, tutored me in how to be a good teacher.

The outing was advertised in the local papers, and 100 people showed up one January morning 
in 1974 at the entrance to the Angeles National Forest in Altadena. We walked along the 
stream, and I identified native and non-native plants. We collected greens along the way. We 
walked two miles up the canyon to a campground, with perhaps 70 of the hikers still with 
us, and there we made a salad and soup, and there were a few side les-sons on such things as 
dowsing and fire-making.

It was a wonderful class, and I learned some important lessons about teaching and learn-ing 
to respond to students’ questions.

It was a long day, and there were only 12 of us left in the end. And it started my lifelong 
professional interest in teaching ethnobotany, and all the other related skills.

With a few exceptions, I led field trips just about every weekend since then, many of which 
were overnights. I taught hundreds of classes through the local colleges, and gave more 
lectures than I remember. There was no internet back then, but every local newspaper and 
nearly every local radio and tv station eventually interviewed me about the wild food foraging 
walks I conducted. Interestingly, there was a lot of ridicule in the beginning, though that is 
now a thing of the past. 

I had the good fortune to meet and study with botanist Dr. Leonid Enari, who taught at the 
L.A. County Arboretum. Big among my influencers was Euell Gibbons, author of “Stalking 
the Wild Asparagus” and promoter of Post Grape Nuts. I only met him once. 

Over the years, I have travelled 
throughout the United States teaching 
these skills. I was very busy during Y2K. 
I appeared on Huell Howser’s popular 
show, and I consulted for dozens of TV 
shows, including Naked and Afraid, and 
Doomsday Preppers. And as of today, 
I have written 27 books, mostly on wild 
foods and self-reliance topics.

One of the greatest benefits has been 
meeting so many outstanding people in 
the course of teaching perhaps upwards 
of 50,000 students. 

Fifty years of teaching foraging and self-reliance has been quite a roller coaster. I look forward 
to the next 50 years!~

Pet of the Week

 If you’re looking for a fun companion to ring in the 
New Year, look no further than Rusty! This adorable 
guy is ready for everything from a long hike to a quiet 
snuggle on the couch watching the ball drop.

 Rusty is about four years old and has a lot of 
exuberant, playful energy. He loves playing in the 
yard with his favorite squeaky toy, a purple octopus. 
He happily chases it around with it in his mouth- 
showing off that he’s retrieved it. He seems to forget 
the part about throwing it so he can chase it again.

 When he gets in the right mood, he rolls over onto 
his back and will hold the toy in his front paws to 
get a back scratch while still playing. He’s quite 

 We suspect that Rusty is already housetrained, and has also been working on training cues 
like “sit”, “down”, “touch” and “shake”. Rusty is ready to learn more with you today!

The adoption fee for dogs is $150. All dog adoptions include spay or neuter, microchip, and 
age-appropriate vaccines. 

 New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCA Animal 
Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to care for your pet. 

 View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment at pasadenahumane.
org. Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoption appointments are available every 
Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Limited same-day appointments are available during 
weekend Visiting Hours. Check website for times.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters by phone 
calls or email. 

Nyerges, right, in January 1974, conducting his first wild food outing in the forest.

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