Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Pre-Conference Local Tours and Events

Organizer: Dick Tipping

Claremont is a small city, but it is a national leader in dealing with ecological concerns. The City Council is unanimously committed to maintaining this leadership role and is currently engaged in serious competition for national recognition as No. 1. The city is advised and supported by citizens especially through an organization called “Sustainable Claremont.”

Claremont can also claim to be the national center of liberal arts colleges. Five of the best are located here, with a long history of working together as “the Claremont Colleges.” Pomona College, on whose campus the conference is being held, ranks No. 1 in the country by some standard measures. It strives to give leadership also in responding to water, energy, and agricultural issues. Pitzer College was founded in the seventies with ecological concerns informing all aspects of its life. Claremont’s graduate and professional schools give leadership, especially, in relating multiple faith communities to each other and to the urgent issues of the planet.

Claremont has been hospitable to private entrepreneurs seeking to make a practical difference. Two examples are Devon Hartman, creator of the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP), now a statewide organization with national recognition, and Carl Welte, an architect of local buildings, who is constructing an eco-village for veterans and has a large project in Haiti. It also hosts important NGOs. One is Pilgrim Place, a retirement village that has constituted itself as an intentional community with cutting-edge projects in conservation and soil-creation. Another is Uncommon Good, whose recently constructed office is a superadobe building attracting visitors from around the world and developing creative programs in such fields as urban agriculture.

Claremont is located at an elevation of 1,000 feet, on the lowest slopes of Mount Baldy, which towers 9000 feet above it. It preserves a small patch of the native chaparral, offers a famous collection of California native plants in its botanical gardens, and provides a wilderness park.

Half-Day Tours ($10 each)

We encourage those coming for the conference to come early and to become acquainted with the city. To facilitate this, we have arranged the following half-day events and tours for roughly 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 4. Departure times may be staggered, and lengths will vary. Also not all events will be available both morning and afternoon.

  1. A conversation with representatives of the City Council and Sustainable Claremont.
  2. A conversation with representatives of Pomona College (including a tour), and a conversation with representatives of Pitzer College (including a tour. Pitzer has pioneered desert landscaping.)
  3. A conversation with representatives of the Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate School on combining multi-faith work with commitment to responding to global issues.
  4. A conversation with Claremont entrepreneurs.
  5. A tour of the Bernard Field Station, Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens, and Wilderness Park.
  6. A tour of Pilgrim Place soil creation and the Regenerative Agriculture Center at California State University, Pomona.
  7. A tour of the Palomares Park old adobe, the Uncommon Good superadobe, and a modern energy-neutral building.
  8. A tour of eco-spiritual centers: Pilgrim Place, Uncommon Good, and Myra House.

All-Day Trips ($50 includes lunch)

  1. Guided hikes on Mount Baldy.
  2. A visit to the Huntington Gardens, one of Southern California’s most famous museums and gardens.
  3. A visit to Los Angeles to see the restored Los Angeles River (among other things) and also a visit to “Path to Freedom.” A family in Pasadena has turned its residential lot, using a number of now patented methods, into a garden that provides all its food (except grains) with no chemicals and little water and produces a surplus for sale. It can handle only a small group of visitors at any one time.

Additional Events

  1. Bird Lovers: Guides and transportation have been arranged for bird lovers to visit a nearby, ideal spot for seeing Southern California birds. This is scheduled for 7 to 8:50 a.m. ($10)
  2. Film Screening: Throughout the day, Mary Evelyn Tucker and Brian Swimme will be providing a free showing of “Journey of the Universe” an excellent prelude to the conference as a whole (4:00pm, June 4).


Half-day tours will cost $10.

Full-day tours will include lunch and cost $50.

Payment can be made at the time of registration.

Southern California Ecology Tour
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Organizer: Bob Ireland

Heavily populated urban areas are subject to ecological challenges that appear impossible to control.  Southern California is no exception. In recent years some of these challenges have been significantly mitigated as demonstrated by:  improved air quality, state of the art water capture (e.g. inflatable dams) and large-scale recycling; massive clean-water harbors (though surrounded by off-shore oil-platforms); wildfire mitigation & control success along the San Gabriel mountain range; new technology desalination; & successful treatment of chemically-contaminated fuel & refinery sites utilizing biosparge-enhanced phytoremediation.  While not all of these initiatives can be addressed in a 1-day tour, participants will be familiarized with 4 of them:

–3-Part tour of the Southern California Air Quality Management Division

–Tour of the Water recycling center

Must be able to stand and climb ladders over a 45-minute period
Closed toe and closed heel shoes are required
Foreign attendees need to submit copies of Visas or Passports two weeks in advance

–Ecology Cruise in Long Beach & Los Angeles Harbors with respective Harbor Masters

(Expect return to Claremont by 5:30 pm)

Cost:  $120 U.S. dollars/participant


If you are interested, indicate four choices in order of preference in the form below. If you would like to take two of the half-day tours, indicate that. If you are interested only in morning or only in afternoon, indicate that. Payment can be made on the conference registration form.

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