Author Archive

Jug Handle Nursery Hosts Native Plant Sale

Monday, April 04th, 2016 | Author:

Jug Handle Nursery Hosts Native Plant Sale  April 9th at 10th as part of Native Plant week.

Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center will celebrate  Native Plant week April 9-16th by hosting a large sale of  local California native plants.

Jug-Handle-Native-Plant-SaleFrom lovely columbines and wild ginger to trees such as redwood, Sitka Spruce and douglas fir to beautiful showy shrubs such as Pink Flowering currant and Salmonberry–native  plants are a wonderful and water saving addition to your garden and landscape.

The Native Plant Week sale will be held at Jug Handle Farm,   Saturday and Sunday April  9 and 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.  Location is 15501 North Highway One, on the east side of the highway- just across from the stop sign at the north entrance to Caspar.
The nursery is always open by appointment during Native plant week and throughout the year. Just call 937-3498.

Jug Handle’s Restoration/Education Nursery is set up to be used exclusively to grow local species of native plants from wild collected seeds, cuttings and divisions.

It serves as a focal point for education programs, restoration projects, trainings and work stewardship activities with local and regional schools, youth groups and Americorps.  Seeds are collected for site specific projects—such as for the Coastal Trail or Otis Johnson Park; or plants can be selected from nursery stock.  Plants grown on contract are sold at wholesale prices, with a down payment.

Income derived from the sale of plants supports the operation, staffing and maintenance of the nursery;  the staffing and resources for Jug Handle’s educational programs as well as overall improvements to landscaping with native plants and eliminating invasive exotic plants throughout Jug Handle’s property.

Jug Handle, a nonprofit nature education center and overnight lodge, teaches stewardship and restoration to local and regional school children & Americorps youth.

Jug Handle nursery has been involved with the Coastal Trail Project and the restoration of Otis Johnson Park with the City of Fort Bragg. Next year, we will have several hundred Shore Pine, Bishop Pine, Pygmy Cypress and Wax Myrtle just the right size–for  coastal mitigation projects.

All native plants  are raised from site-specific seeds, cuttings and divisions gathered by our nursery staff: consultant and collections expert Alison Gardner and other staff-Fern Tahja, Adrienne Long and  Nursery Director Helene Chalfin.

For the CIty’s Coastal trail and Otis Johnson Park projects,  Jug Handle staff members directed MESA students ( Math, Engineering and Science Achievement ) from Fort Bragg and SONAR  students ( Mendocino High School’s School of Natural Resources) in plant collections and propagation.

Jug Handle supplied Danco construction in 2014  with  almost 1500 local native plant species for the landscaping surrounding the new senior housing units on Cypress Street, near the Fort Bragg Police Department.

In another recent mitigation project on the south coast Jug Handle Nursery supplied about 1100 native plants to a private landowner.

Jug Handle has provided  plants to Cal Trans for various revegetation projects and has supplied plants to State Parks and the Mendocino Land Trust  for their revegetation projects.

  • Helene Chalfin obtained grants to establish Jug Handle’s nursery beginning in 1993.  Funding was obtained from State Department of Education; AT&T Foundation, Le Beau Charitable Trust and County Fish and Game Commission, to restore the original Greenhouse one wall at a time over several years.  New windows were installed at the south; new roof put on; interior tables built, bottom heat and mist system installed inside and the building was strengthened at the north.  Later a propagation shed was added; holding tables and a shade house structure added to protect plants and irrigation system created, all through grant funds and in kind donations.
  • Ken Montgomery, an expert nurseryman who runs Anderson Valley Nursery, mentored Jug Handle’s Education Director in  native plant propagation at the Botanical Gardens while he was Project Director there.  He has served as a consultant on Jug Handle nursery questions since its very beginning.
  • Betty Young, then of Circuit Riders Nursery and later the Director of of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Native Plant Nursery also provided mentoring training, native plant nursery manuals, and  consultations.

For an appointment, please contact:
Helene Chalfin, Director: Grants/Education/Nursery

707.937.3498 or

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Sunday, March 27th, 2016 | Author:

Jug Handle Creek Farm hosted the Tibetan monks of GADEN SHARTSE DOKHANG MONASTERY  to stay in the farmhouse while they were visiting Caspar from March 20-24, 2016.

The monks are on a Compassion tour to raise funds to rebuild a dormitory at their monastery in India. You can read more about their tour and offerings at



The monks worked for 3 days on a sand mandala at the Caspar Community Center, with the final sweeping away of the mandala that was returned to the ocean at Jug Handle State Reserve.

Warren and I were ever so grateful for this magical experience and the blessing that the Jug Handle Creek Farm received during their stay.


“Mandala means literally “that which extracts the essence.” There are many different types of mandalas used by Tibetan Buddhists. They can be created in either two or three dimensions. The ones on the monks’ tour will be two-dimensional sand mandalas. These are without doubt the most creative, labor intensive, and concentration intensive of all mandalas created. The ones provided on the tour will require between two and five days of effort, completed by several monks at a time, including several Mandala Masters. Prayers are said throughout the making of the mandala. Traditionally, upon completion, the mandala is swept up and placed in a river, lake, or ocean as an offering to purify the surrounding environment. It is possible to make the mandala permanent. Please let the monks know in advance if you wish to preserve the mandala.

Pricing for the sand mandalas vary. A small version (approx. 1.5 ft by 1.5 ft) is usually done in one to two days, with the largest (approx. 5 ft by 5 ft) taking four to five days. We generally seek funding from corporate sponsors, private donors, grants or venues such as universities, museums, etc., that have budgets for these types of events. However, people can also arrange for one to be made and preserved in their home. Cost is $1500 to $2000 per day.”

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Walk on the Wild Side

Wednesday, December 02nd, 2015 | Author:

mushroom-3The “Walk on the Wild Side” mushroom festival event at Jug Handle Creek Farm was enjoyed by several local people and visitors to the Mendocino Coast.  A scrumptious  mushroom  feast was laid out;  with hors d’oeuvres first, and then a dinner menu cooked by Alison Gardner, author of the Wild Mushroom Cookbook, and two helpers.

mushroom-225 people–both  locals and coastal tourists attended, plus 5 Jug Handle staff.   Adrienne Long, Jug Handle staff naturalist, led a mushroom foray through the woods. Warren Bishop, lodge manager/host, took photos.   Navarro Vineyards served wine for the event and Eric Schramm produced a mushroom display and a very informative presentation.

The menu was expanded this year to include several dinner entrees. The menu?  :

mushroom-1Manzanita Bolete and Smoked Pig’s Ears French Onion Dip
Fistulina Chutney
Candy Cap/Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates
French Bread

Salmon and Matsutake Oriental Salad
Vegetarian Smoked Pig’s Ears Split Pea Soup
(With Optional Bacon on the Side)
Bread Served with Herbed Boletus Butter
African Style Fistulina and Chicken Curry
Hot Candy Cap Black Tea Punch
Candy Cap Coffee Cake

If you missed it–we’ll be hosting this event again next year!

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Jug Handle’s new grant from the State Coastal Conservancy is Now Official

Thursday, November 12th, 2015 | Author:

The State Coastal Conservancy’s October meeting in Fort Bragg had a wonderful outcome for Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center in Caspar. A new $ 600,000 grant agreement  was officially approved by the Conservancy for Jug Handle.

The project will provide new affordable visitor serving accommodations with access to the coast and ocean which is a need in this coastal area.   Through this project, Jug Handle’s campground will be enhanced with showers, sinks and flush toilets–something never before offered in this primitive camping spot.   

A new bunkhouse designed  to serve large school groups or service groups such as Americorps and the California Conservation Corps (up to 30) also been designed into four large rooms that can serve family groups and other smaller groupings.

The facility will provide four -season visitor accommodations. Botanical studies, avoidance of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas, pinpointing of solar gain, soils and topographical work were all completed to ascertain the ideal building placements within the site.

The Conservancy had previously provided Jug Handle with two grants to complete all required studies, planning and visioning meetings, preliminary surveys including: topographical; wetland; botanical; soils; hydro logical; archaeological, Permaculture Site Design Plan; two public design meetings; architectural programming report and schematic designs; cost estimates; mapping and site plans.  Construction design is still being completed as well as construction level septic plan and storm water plan.

Jug Handle’s Coastal Development Permit was approved in June, 2015 and Jug Handle is taking all necessary steps to meet the conditions of approval.

While Jug Handle Farm and Nature Center currently has a nice open, undeveloped camping space with pit toilets and cold running water, the addition of a plumbed restroom and shower facility will serve the new bunkhouse users as well as the general campers, making this campground a much more desirable low-cost visitor serving accommodation.

Jug Handle as a nature education center hosts several local and regional school groups throughout the year  and has hosted several environmental resource groups such as the Coho Confab or Salmon Restoration Federation’s field school.  To date, there has been no indoor teaching space or large meeting room available at Jug Handle to serve these groups.

A new 915 square foot teaching room  attached to the bunk cabins is designed to hold classes and workshops and provides a needed sheltered space for teaching and presentations for large groups.

The goals of this portion of Jug Handle’s Education and Access Site Enhancement Project are:

to provide additional low cost visitor serving facilities with access to the Coast and Ocean; to host many more restoration/education groups such as Americorps, Ca. Conservation Corps, Coho Confab, Salmon Restoration Federation and others; to provide more family friendly overnight spaces; to increase the attractiveness and functionality of the current primitive campground and to Increase comfort level of overnight visitors to the Nature Center and Lodge.

The project will additionally provide an indoor, sheltered teaching and/or meeting space and thus will allow Jug Handle to increase restoration/Education Training and other environmental workshops on site.

Jug Handle for several years has worked with Americorps volunteer teams on landscape restoration tasks at Jug Handle and several State Parks. The new bunk cabin structure will allow Jug Handle to increase coastal restoration activities with Americorps, Ca. Conservation Corps and other groups and thus  to help several community groups who also need low cost housing for shared Americorps teams.

Local State Parks has two bunk cabins which often house Americorps groups; California Conservation Corps and Park interns, but these cabins are full almost all year  The new bunk house at Jug Handle Creek Farm will fill a community need by providing an additional low cost lodging for these conservation/education/restoration groups that serve community agencies and non-profit organizations.

Letters of support for Jug Handle’s project were received from:

State Parks, Mendocino Sector Superintendent, Loren Rex; Senator Mike McGuire; Assemblymember Jim Wood; Mendocino County 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde;

Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner and City Council ;Fort Bragg Unified School District Superintendent Charles Bush and President of the Dorothy King Young Chapter of the Ca. Native Plant Society,Nancy Morin

For Information: Contact Helene  Chalfin, Director Grants/Ediucation & Site Enhancement Project.

Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center
(707) 937-3498

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Walk on the Wild Side

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 | Author:

Click for a pdf of the flier

Click for a pdf of the flier

Jug Handle Farm and Nature Center hosts its third annual “Walk on the Wild Side”  event on Sunday, November 15, from 1 to 5 p.m. as part of Mendocino County’s Wine and Mushroom Festival.

Take a walk with a mushroom expert in the woods to identify wild mushrooms, followed by savory refreshments served by Alison Gardner; author of  the Wild Mushroom Cookbook – serving dishes from the cookbook as  hor d’oeuvres.

Eric Schramm of Mendocino Mushrooms will  make a presentation after the hike with numerous mushrooms on display.   Come join the fun-forage and feast.

For RSVP and information  call 937-3498.

Admission fee is $ 22.

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New Innkeepers

Friday, April 03rd, 2015 | Author:

Warren and Michelle Bishop

Warren and Michelle BishopAfter two years of circling the globe and managing retreat centers, Warren and Michelle are excited to ground down as innkeepers at Jug Handle Creek Farm.

Warren grew up in London, England. His career has taken him to many beautiful spots across the world. He lived in Bermuda and Latvia as a currency trader. Then, found his way to Egypt and worked as a scuba diving instructor in the Red Sea. He then immigrated to Australia where he continued as a diving instructor on the Great Barrier Reef, which then led him to leave the sea and head to the sky. There he started “flying” as a skydiver. After years of traveling to Southeast Asia, he began to study meditation, yoga and massage. For the past 10 years, Warren has worked as an international yoga teacher and massage therapist in Australia, Portugal, Costa Rica, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Warren and Michelle BishopMichelle is a Southern Belle from Alabama, with a wild spirit. She was “called home” after her first trip to the Redwood Forest in 1995. She finished her last year of college at Humboldt State University in 1997, and visited the Mendocino Coast. Her first night of camping nearby at Russian Gulch State Park, she confessed “one day I will live here.” And, 18 years later the Universe answered with a “YES” and offer to support Jug Handle Creek Farm. Michelle moved to Portland, Oregon in 2000 and was excited to jump into the food and wine scene. She spent her first winter abroad working in the vineyards of New Zealand, and continued to study wine at the International Sommelier Guild. In 2007, a car accident invited changes in her life and yoga and meditation became a daily practice. Michelle went to Thailand to deepen her studies in yoga and there she met Warren in a 3 month intensive course. It was in 2008, that Michelle immigrated to Australia and the 2 married on Halloween. Michelle took up a wine sales role in Queensland for 4 years, and managed a small yoga studio. Once she became an Australian citizen, the two embarked on a worldwide adventure of teaching yoga and managing retreat centers.

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Jug Handle Creek Nature Center, California lodging, Mendocino retreat, Casper educational - 15501 N Highway 1 Caspar, CA 95420
(707) 964-4630 | © 2005-