Christopher Nyerges

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Always RSVP    via email, or call the office at (626) 791-3217or mobile (323) 605-7283

P.O. Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041


Please come to all outings with a canteen of   WATER,

a KNIFE (simple folder is OK),

and a BOWL (since we make a wild food salad at nearly every outing).



Sign up in advance for any 3 classes, but pay in advance for only TWO!


 Also see Store for Current Specials...





Learn how to collect natural fibres and make twine, rope, brushes, sandals, netting, & baskets. A wonderful skill! Location 3, Switzers Camp in the Angeles National Forest.











 2015 MARKS THE 41st YEAR OF CLASSES!!!  (Gosh! Is that possible?!)





Thursday, September 17, 11:30 a.m.


Meet at the intersection of Ventura and Windsor in Altadena. From the Windsor exit of the 210 freeway, drive north on Windsor until Ventura, where you will have to carefully park in the parking area on the west side of the street, overlooking the Arroyo Seco. We’ll explore the chaparral and riparian area, with an emphasis on the medicinal plants.      

Saturday, September 19, 10 a.m.


We’ll be in the Angeles Forest at Switzers Camp, a mix of riparian, chaparral, and higher-elevation plants. We’ll learn about how to make slings, snares, deadfalls. We’ll identify wild plants, do some weaving, check out shelters, make fire by friction, and more Switzers Camp, Location 3.      


Thursday, September 24, 11:30 a.m.


Learn how to use a map and compass. We’ll cover the basics of orienteering, natural orientation, and do a few exercises. Hahamongna Watershed Park. Location 2. Bring a compass.      

Saturday, September 26, 10 a.m.


Learn about some basic principles of locksmithing with guest instructor Keith Farrar. You'll get to practice opening locks at different levels of difficulty. You never know when you might need this skill, and a professional locksmith cannot be found. Tools will be available for purchase as well. Then, if time, we will have a short plant walk. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.      

Thursday, October 1, 11:30 a.m.

LUNCHTIME FIRE WORKSHOP, and short Wild Food Outing, $20.

Join us for this lunch-time workshop where we learn how to make fire with 4 very basic techniques (magnesium, flint and steel, bow-drill, hand drill). You’ll also learn the 4 basic principles by which fire is made, as per Christopher’s newly-revised “How to Survive Anywhere” book. We’ll also go on a short plant walk. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park, upper area.      

Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m.


Fire is a fundamental skill that everyone should master. You’ll learn how to make fire from parts of your car, from the sun, from electricity, and from friction. And you’ll get hands-on practice. We’ll practice the bow drill, hand drill, plow, pump drill, batteries, flint and steel, reflectors, etc. There will also be a short walk where you can collect some fire components, and we’ll collect a wild salad. Pasadena, Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.      

Thursday, October 8, 11:30 a.m.


Casting Ponds, Lower Arroyo, location 8. Join us as we explore a chaparral-riparian area, and learn about various plant uses. We’ll make a salad if there’s enough to collect, and examine the wild berries of the area. We’re next to the Archery Range, so you can bring your bow if you want to practice afterwards. This is south of the Rose Bowl in the Arroyo Seco, near the Casting Ponds.      

Saturday, October 10, 11:30 a.m.



We’ll hike along the beach to examine the plants that grow on the beach, and seaweeds. We’ll see lots of seabirds. We’ll then walk up Malibu Creek a short distance and explore some fruit trees gone wild. We’ll meet in the parking area of the Malibu Lagoon State Beach. The entrance is on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway, just east of Cross Creek Road in Malibu. Thomas Guide page 629, B7. You can either pay to park in the State Beach parking lot, or park in the shopping center at Cross Creek and PCH.      

Thursday, October 15, 11:30 a.m.


Join us and learn how to make twine from natural fibre, and how to make nets and sandals. We’ll go on a walk and see some of the plants used for weaving. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.      

Saturday, October 17, 10 a.m.


Learn how to use a map and compass. We’ll cover the basics of orienteering, which includes how to read and use a map, how to use a compass, and other “natural” ways to plot directions. We’ll go on a short plant walk, and learn about some wild edible and medicinal plants. Hahamongna Watershed Park. Location 2. Bring a compass      

Thursday, October 22, 11:30 a.m.

KNIFE – TOOL CLASS & Wild Food Outing, $20.

Bring your own pack or kit, and knives, for discussion. We’ll review the basic types of knives, how to select a good one, and key items to always carry in a “survival pack.” We’ll review how to make a “knife” on the trail if you are without one, based on the Hoko knife concept. Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.      

Friday, October 23, 7 p.m.

Five-week SURVIVAL SKILLS class with URBAN focus.

Sponsored by Pasadena City College. Call (626) 585-7608 for information and registration. Class topics include uses of wild plants for food and medicine, Storing food and water, purifying and finding water, What to do when the power goes out, shelter in the backyard, tools and weapons, etc. Other urban application will be discussed where appropriate. Taught by Christopher Nyerges.      

Saturday, October 24, 10 a.m.


Learn the entire procedure for taking raw acorns and turning them into something delicious. You’ll shell them, grind them, and leach them, and we’ll do two different methods of leaching. Then we’ll cook some biscuits, and serve a wild food salad. So. Calif. Indians subsisted on these valuable acorns, and we shouldn’t let them rot anymore! Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.      

Thursday, October 29, 11:30 a.m.


Bailey Park, Sierra Madre. Learn about local native plants and some introduced exotics as we walk in Sierra Madre’s Bailey Canyon. Meet in the parking lot at Bailey Canyon Park. From the 210 Freeway in Arcadia, go north on Michillinda to Grand View in Sierra Madre. Turn right (east) on Grand View, then go left (north) on Lima St. one long block to Carter, where you turn left (west). You will see the park entrance on your right. Thomas Guide pg 566, J1.      

Saturday, October 31, 10 a.m. (“Hallowe’en”)


Ah, what a day to stroll in this mountain canyon and learn about the plants used by our ancestors! We’ll look at some rocks, and various plants, and maybe mushrooms if the weather is correct. Switzers Camp, Location 3.      

Thursday, November 5, 11:30 a.m.


Fire is a fundamental skill that everyone should master. We’ll practice the bow drill, hand drill, plow, pump drill, batteries, flint and steel, reflectors, etc. There will also be a short walk where you can collect some fire components, and we’ll collect a wild salad. Pasadena, Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.      

Saturday, November 7, 10 a.m.


We’ll cover some of the basics of primitive weaponry, and will then show how to make both a quickbow and a regular self-bow (one piece of wood). Bring knife. We’ll bring supplies for everyone, but you need to RSVP in advance for this one. If time, we will collect wild food and make a salad. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.


Saturday, November 21, 10 a.m.


We’ll go for a short collecting walk, and then cook a wild food meal that is mostly wild. We’ll have a cactus omelette, soup, salad, acorn pancakes, and perhaps more. Perhaps this will get you into the mood to research what “the first Thanksgiving” was all about… Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.      

Saturday, December 26, 11 a.m.

Wild Food Outing, $20.

OK, many of you will want to get out and get some fresh air now that the rush on the freeways and malls is over (isn’t it?). Join us as we explore around and identify wild foods, wild medicines, and other botanical wonders. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.      




Location 1
Upper Arroyo. West end of Altadena Drive, Alt. 3 blocks west of Lincoln [pg. 535, F4].

Location 2
Hahamongna Watershed Park; entrance at Foothill and Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena. Meet at south end of the upper area (across from La Canada High School), near the outdoor bathrooms. One way to get here is to travel on the 210 Freeway westbound, and exit on Foothill in La Canada. Turn right (east) and take Foothill about a half-mile to its end, which is the entrance of the park.  Enter and drive south until you see the outdoor bathrooms (do not make the left hand turn which goes downhill). [pg. 535, E5].

Location 3
Switzer’s Camp, Angeles National Forest. From the 210 freeway in La Canada, drive up the Angeles Crest Highway 10 miles to Switzers. You will see the large sign on the Highway. Drive down the road and park in the parking lot. Meet near the bridge. NOTE: You will need a Forest Adventure Pass for this location. [pg. 505, H2]

Location 4
Angeles National Forest. From the Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill (or from the 210 freeway), drive 2 miles up the Angeles Crest Highway (above the large new houses) until you see the turnout on your right. You really need to look at your odometer for this one. [535, C1] .

Location 5
Millard Canyon, Altadena. Drive up to Loma Alta by going north on either Fair Oaks (from the east) or Lincoln Ave. (on the west). From Loma Alta in Altadena, go north on Chaney Trail all the way to the campground. [pg. 535, H2]

Location 6
Arroyo Seco, north of the Rose Bowl, Pasadena. Meet at the SW corner of Washington and West. Be sure to look at your map here, for more people seem to get lost finding this location than any other. The Rose Bowl is easy to find – and West is the north-south street on the west side of the Rose Bowl. You can simply drive north on West to the top of the T intersection, and park to your left in the dirt parking. Washington is the east-west street that dissects the golf course; so if you come from the east side of the golf course and the Rose Bowl, drive west on Washington until it ends in the T intersection, and then just drive forward into the dirt parking area. [pg. 565, E1].

Location 7
Cobb Estate, Extreme north end of Lake Ave., Altadena. Exit on Lake Avenue from the 210 freeway and head for the hills. [pg. 536, A3]

Location 8
Casting Ponds, Arroyo Seco.  Entrance to "Lower Arroyo Park" is from Arroyo Blvd, just west of Norwood Drive. Where the 210 meets the 134 freeway in Pasadena, go south on the short extension to the 110.  [If westbound on the 210, you take the 110 south; if eastbound on the 134, stay in the right lane and go south on the unfinished 210 south spur.] Go south on this short extension which ends at California Blvd. Turn right (west) on California, and travel to where it ends, at Arroyo Blvd. Turn right (north) on Arroyo Blvd. and look for the sign on your left for the Lower Arroyo Park. Drive down the road and park. [pg 565, F5].

Location 9
Orcas Park. NE of Hansen Dam, in Lake View Terrace. From the 210, exit Osborne and go east on Foothill to Orcas Ave., then go south into the park. We’ll meet in the southern-most parking area. [pg. 503, A2]



There are several preferred ways to reserve a spot on an outing

Send us a note specifying for what date, and how many people, along with a check, to School of Self-reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041. If you mail it "late," just call us and let us know it is in the mail.

Call or email us and let us take a credit card for payment for the outing. Call the office at 626-791-3217. Or email to If no one is there when you call, just leave your name and number and message and we’ll get back to you.

You can also make a payment via paypal to On the paypal comment section, be sure to note what date and class you are paying for, along with how many you're paying for, if more than one. We will get an email letting us know you’ve paid.


We will not turn you away if you didn’t do any of the above. We can accept cash or check (or even credit card) at the outing, and give you a receipt, if desired.  

ALSO, we are in constant need of Volunteers at our non-profit facility in Highland Park, doing things like raking, pruning, basic clean-up and gardening.  If you want to do some volunteer work at that site in exchange for coming to outings, just talk to Christopher and arrange it.

DON’T FORGET: You can give a Gift Certificate to a friend or family member to attend a class. Just ask.