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 5 classes, but pay in advance for only FOUR!


 Also see Store for Current Specials...















 2018 MARKS THE 44th YEAR OF CLASSES!!!  (Gosh! Is that possible?!)







Saturday, January 6, 10 a.m.


Learn what to always carry in your pack: essential items, survival items and comfort items will be covered. We will address the the layering system of outdoor clothing. We will cover compass basics such as general compass use, the difference between magnetic and true north and how to adjust for the difference, determining your pace count and how to use your pace count to help your navigation, etc. Also included are knife safety basic knife grips and carving techniques, and how to set up an emergency shelter and the essential knots to do so. And more…….. Pasadena, Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Friday, January 12, 7 p.m.

5 WEEK SURVIVAL SKILLS CLASS at Pasadena City College.

Five Friday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. Class topics include: Wild plants for food and medicine, food and food storage, water purification, water storage, making fire without matches, clothing, shelter, weaving, tools and weapons, and more. For registration and cost, call (626) 585-7608.

Saturday, January 13, 10 a.m.

WILD FOODS WALK, Introduction to Foraging, $35

Explore a local wild area and learn about the many foods from nature, and how to sustainably harvest them. Some are considered exotics because they are from somewhere else. Others are natives, whose home has been here as long as we know. We’ll explore, collect, and sample some of the in-season plant. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park.

Thursday, January 18, 11:30


In this foothill region, you’ll learn about the unique local botany, a mix of native chaparral and introduced plants. We’ll also learn what it took to live here in the pre-electrical days, by observing some of the cabins built in the area nearly a hundred years ago. Millard Canyon Campground. Meet in the campground’s parking area. Drive north on Chaney Trail from Loma Alta Drive in Altadena. Chaney Trail winds up, and then goes downhill to the campground.


Saturday, January 20, 10 a.m.


You’re stuck somewhere and you’re going to have to spend the night in the woods. It’s cold, and the temperature is dropping. The ability to make a fire is going to be a key to survival. Oops! You didn’t bring a fire-starter – after all, you weren’t planning on spending the night in the woods. Now what? We’ll explore many of the primitive fire-starting methods, and you’ll have a chance to make your own components, and make fire. We’ll also discuss some modern methods. As a bonus, we’re also going to show how to make a quick emergency cutting tool ( a knife) from a rock when you’re really in a pinch. Bring a bowl for whatever wild food we collect, and don’t forget to RSVP. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park.

Wednesday, January 24, 11:30 a.m.


You’ll discover some of the natural material used in the past for baskets, as well as general cordage, brushes, and sandals. You’ll learn the details of the “California weave” and create one small basket. A wonderful high elevation location, and a great skill to know! Switzers Camp, Location 3.

Saturday, January 27, 3 p.m.


Join us for this walk to explore some of the many edible and medicinal plants found commonly in Southern California. We will have a casual walk in a mixed chaparral and riparian area, and will collect a few samples so we can taste a salad. Be sure to bring your salad bowl! Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Thursday, February 1, 11:30 a.m.—1:30 p.m.


You’ll see some of the common native plants that have long been used for various first aid applications, as well as for maintaining health. The streamside walk will include the sampling of some of the wild plants, and a short discussion about the methods of Hippocrates. 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.


Saturday, February 3, 10 a.m.


We will be at Switzers Camp in the Angeles National Forest, and we will get lots of hands-on experience in all the basic skills that our grandparents took for granted. learn about uses of wild plants for food, primitive fire-making, water finding and purification, shelter, slings and snares, weaving with natural fibres, and more. Switzers Camp, Location 3. Obtain a Forest Adventure Pass.

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


In the very beginning, people learned to spin a long piece of wood onto a flat wooden base, and produce that miracle of fire. You’ll learn how that was done also, and you’ll get to try it yourself. Two methods will be taught and practiced at this lunchtime workshop. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park.

Saturday, February 10, 10 a.m.


In this leisurely walk, you will learn about the many different types of wild plants which can be foraged, and how to forage sustainably without damaging the population of any plants. Wildcrafting is an ages-old tradition, and during this walk, you will learn some time-proven tips. Bring a bowl, since we’ll make a soup or salad too. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park.

Wednesday, February 14, 11:30 a.m.


We’ll walk in a section of the Arroyo Seco and explore the history and unique plantlife of the area. We’ll be near the original Busch Gardens, and near the Suicide Bridge. We’ll see edible and medicinal plants. Bring your bowl for salad, and bring your canteen. We’ll meet in the parking area of the Casting Ponds/ Archery Range. Casting Ponds, Lower Arroyo, Location 8. This is south of the Rose Bowl in the Arroyo Seco.

Saturday, February 17, 10 a.m.


We’ll provide you with a basic overview of the uses of common plants, and you’ll get to see them in their natural growing environment. How did the Native peoples use their environment for supermarket, hospital, and hardware store? Let’s learn how. Location given with RSVP.

Wednesday, February 21, 11:30 a.m.


In wilderness situations, and deep in the woods, people have hunted animals for their survival. If you lack any modern tools, you can still practice this skill by making simple snare and traps, mostly with materials you find in the woods. You will learn how to construct a few of these devices, and see how they work. We will not be actually trapping any animals. Note: In today’s modern world, there is less and less reason to be a carnivore, and more and more reasons to move away from that lifestyle. But we are not judging anyone here. Our goal is to pass along basic skills that have passed the test of time, skills that you never know if and when you will need. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park.

Friday, February 23, 7 p.m.

Five-week SURVIVAL SKILLS, URBAN focus. 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, fire starting, shelters, etc. Other urban application will be discussed where appropriate. Taught by Christopher Nyerges.

Saturday, February 24, 10 a.m.

NATURALIST WALK: Mushrooms and Wild Foods, $35.

We will explore an area where we are likely to find various mushrooms at this time of the year, and we’ll also discuss the other flora and history of the area. A casual walk that you should find enlightening. Note: We plan these classes many weeks/months ahead of time, and this is the time of year where mushrooms are typically found. However, we cannot guarantee in advance what mushrooms will be found, or even if any will be found. We can guarantee that you should have a wonderful time, however. Location given with RSVP.

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


We’ll go on a short leisurely walk and learn about some of the common edible and medicinal plants now growing. You will also learn about how to make a simple kim-chee to preserve wild foods, as well as an ages-old medicinal remedy. This is Location 6 in the Arroyo Seco, north of the Rose Bowl, Pasadena. Meet at the SW corner of Washington and West. From The Rose Bowl, West is the north-south street on the west side of the Rose Bowl. Drive north on West to the top of the T intersection,& park to the left in the dirt parking. Washing-ton is the east-west street that dissects the golf course; so if you come from the east side of the golf course, drive west on Washington until it ends in the T intersection, and then just drive forward into the dirt parking area. Thomas Guide pg. 565, E1.


Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m.


Join us as we travel into the Upper Arroyo of the Angeles National Forest in a riparian and chaparral canyon. You will have lots of hands-on in all the basic skills that are necessary for self-reliance and survival. Learn about uses of wild plants for food, and taste some! You’ll practice primitive fire-making, water finding and purification, shelter, slings and snares, weaving with natural fibres, and more. Upper Arroyo, Location 1. Meet at the west end of Altadena Drive, Altadena, 3 blocks west of Lincoln.




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.