Spring Workshop Schedule

Robin’s upcoming workshops

and eco-discovery walks

~ Reserve your space now for lots of fun later ~

Click on the date for class information


Feb. 8, 2020 ~ Healing, Helpful, & Edible Native Plants: 12:30-3:30 pm 

Mar. 21, 2020 ~ Gardening with Native Plants: 12:30 – 4:30 pm

Mar. 26, 2020 ~ Eco-Discovery Tour – Andreas Canyon: 10 am – 12:30 pm

Apr. 4, 2020 ~ Gardening with Native Plants: 12:30 – 4:30 pm

May 6, 2020 ~ Making Native Desert Teas: 12:30-3:30 pm

See below for details on each workshop and tour

***If you are gifting a workshop or tour registration to someone,
we can send an attractive gift card to your friend or loved one.
Just email us, and we will send a personalized gift card to them!

Stroll along a one-mile journey under a lush canopy of California Native Fan Palms as Robin shares secrets of the same plants that sustained Cahuilla Indians who inhabited Andreas Canyon for centuries. Get exercise and learning in one adventure!

Eco-Discovery Tour of Andreas Canyon
with Robin Kobaly

Tour Postponed ~ To Be Rescheduled

Thursday, March 26th, 2020 | 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

2 1/2-Hour Eco-Discovery Walking Tour
Andreas Canyon in the Indian Canyons

Leader: Robin Kobaly
Botanist, Founder, and President of
The Power of Plants, and Executive Director of
  The SummerTree Institute


Thursday March 26, 2020 – Tour to be rescheduled
               10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Andreas Canyon
               South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264

With Robin Kobaly
               Botanist, Wildlife Biologist

Tour registration: $25 for 2 1/2-hour adventure  

  ~ Enrollment is limited. Please reserve early to assure your spot.

Like a walk back in time, this desert oasis offers a tranquil journey along foot trails through shady groves of native palms along a quiet stream, passing beautiful rock formations. Rock ledges have ancient bedrock mortars and metates used by Native American Cahuilla women centuries ago in food preparation. Follow along this easy footpath as Robin shares secrets of the same native plants that sustained the Cahuilla Indians who historically inhabited this exact site. Located on South Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, this adventure is on land that has been treasured as a homeland of Cahuilla Indians for millennia.

On this 2 1/2-hour stream-side excursion, Robin will identify native plants, and describe uses of these desert plants for food, medicine, tools, clothing, and shelter. Edible samples of the same plants collected elsewhere by Robin will be shared along the route. You will hear about underground, unseen root partners that connect the plants in the community, which help to sustain the entire ecosystem. Robin will explain how migratory birds travel to and through the oasis in an intricate dance based on day-length cues, hormone changes, stored fat, night skies, and magnetic particles in their brains to arrive precisely at this site each year. Birds and other wildlife that may cross our path will be identified, and Robin will reveal fun stories about each creature. Each tour is unique, exploring different seasonal plants, birds, and wildlife. Please call or email to reserve your spot; enrollment is limited to 18 adventurers.

You may want to bring a box lunch to enjoy stream-side on the picnic tables under the native palms after our tour. You won’t want to leave…

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians who manage this historic site charge an entrance fee (in addition to your tour registration). Canyons entrance fee (includes Andreas, Murray and Palm Canyons) – Adults $9; Ages 62+ and students $7; Ages 6-12 $5; Military with ID: free.

  • Andreas Canyon, Palm Springs, CA
  • $25 Tour Registration (plus entrance fee to Indian Canyons)
  • For more information or to enroll, please call 760-363-1166, visit our website www.powerofplants.com, or email robin@powerofplants.com




To reserve your space, or for more information
about this event:

Call The Power of Plants (760) 363-1166

Or email robin@powerofplants.com

⇒ You may reserve your space and enroll now:


# of Participants

(Note: Purchases made with a non-PayPal credit card may post to your
statement as a purchase made in San Jose, PayPal’s corporate office)

You may also reserve your space and enroll
by sending a check for $25 per participant to:

The Power of Plants
P.O. Box 800
Morongo Valley, CA 92256

Note: Please call or email us before sending your check
to make sure we reserve your spot. Workshops fill up very fast.

Click here for our other events and workshops!  


Who would guess that anyone could say, with any credible authority, “Mushrooms can help save the world?” And even more preposterous, that in the desert, fungal threads that connect to plant roots combat global warming? Even though these statements sound like science fiction, we are finding that both are proving to be absolutely true. These concepts were at the forefront of the vision to create an artistic, visually compelling presentation that would transport viewers along a graphic “tour” of the unseen desert underground. Join us for a virtual tour of the hidden but magnificent “Desert Underground,” a realm that silently works under our feet every day.

Exhibit Postcard_Back w times

This immersive exhibit at the 29 Palms Inn was created by Robin Kobaly and is presented by The SummerTree Institute, an environmental education nonprofit, of which Robin is Executive Director. The series of graphic displays, created with original artwork, leads viewers along an illustrated tour through our desert soils, delving deeper and deeper into the underground.

This walk-through “tour” reveals the amazing partnerships that connect every native plant underground across the landscape. Journey through the interlocking biological and geological systems that work together to create a surprising carbon sponge, helping to combat climate change wherever desert soils remain intact.

For more information, including the companion book written by Robin, visit www.summertree.org/the-desert-underground/.

Ground-level photo_Pioneertown_RKExperience

The Desert Underground Exhibit

at the
2019 Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition
September 14 & 15, 2019
10 AM – 4 PM
29 Palms Inn Pavilion
Oasis of Mara, Twentynine Palms, CA

Admission is free to the public

Exhibit Postcard_Front Glossy_stretch w credits

Check out our other events and workshops!  


Channel Islands Adventure

Travel with Robin on a short journey to a distant world…
Beach Overlook_San Miguel Isl_8091
The Channel Islands Expedition
Sponsored by The SummerTree Institute
September 18 – 21, 2019

~ We invite you to join us for this unforgettable, four-day adventure on board a comfortable vessel, the Vision. Aboard ship, we will be surrounded by abundant and diverse ocean life that includes whales, dolphins, seals, and a variety of colorful fish, whose stories will be told by veteran Expeditions Director, Doug Thompson. On land, botanist Robin Kobaly will guide you through natural habitats and endemic plants that time has passed by on these remote islands…

Discover California as it was centuries ago…

Hiking through Santa Cruz Island’s woodlands

If you are yearning for an unforgettable adventure, we invite you to join Robin, Doug, and the staff of The SummerTree Institute for a four-day adventure to the Channel Islands, one of the most isolated, unique, and beautiful island chains in the world — only 25 miles from Southern California’s busy coastline, but a world away.
With a comfortable 85-foot vessel serving as home base, we will visit three of the magnificent islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel Islands, exploring their stunning natural diversity on land and sea. This is our sixth expedition to the magical Channel Islands. We will explore many sea caves, including Painted Cave, one of the largest sea caves known. Whether walking on pristine beaches, kayaking in beautiful coves, stand-up paddling along natural coastlines, snorkling in bountiful underwater “Marine Protected Areas”, or hiking on trails used by ancient Chumash Indians, you will be transported into another world.

The Beautiful Channel Islands ~

Exploring sea caves by kayak

Exploring sea caves by kayak

Be transported to the California of centuries past, where the only footprints will be yours and the wildlife’s. Hike, snorkel, kayak, stand-up paddle, swim, whale watch, or just laze on the boat – you will be enchanted with whatever activities you choose. Between adventures, all of your meals will be lovingly prepared  from fresh ingredients, with choices for various tastes and diets.

Expedition Details ~

For more information about this exciting adventure,

You may also email our expedition leader, Doug Thompson, at doug@summertree.org.


Explore kelp beds, sea caves, island coastlines…and more!

Walking Beach_San Miguel_6872

Walking San Miguel Island’s sandy beach

  • WHEN: 4 days & 4 nights, from boarding on Tuesday evening, September 17, after 8 pm, until returning late afternoon on Saturday, September 21, 2019.
  • WHERE: The boat leaves from Santa Barbara Harbor.
  • PRICE: Entire expedition: $975 per person; $300 deposit is required to hold your reservation.
    $200 per person is tax-deductible for this expedition (The SummerTree Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization).
  • SIGN UP NOW: Since this trip always fills up quickly, we encourage you to make your reservations as soon as possible. We hope you are able to join us!



The SummerTree Institute
Making Environmental Education Irresistible


Native Desert Tea Class

Surprisingly healing and healthy natural gifts await our discovery in the leaves, stems, flowers, roots, and fruits of our desert plants, made available to us through teas and beverages. Explore the useful remedies, health benefits, and aids to well-being in each of a dozen desert native plants as you taste and experience each one brewed into a tea, and learn each tea’s wellness gifts. Create your own custom blend of dried tea to take home and brew yourself. Our classes and workshops show you easy, fun, and healthy ways to incorporate our native plants into your life. Come enjoy learning with us!

Making Native Desert Teas
for Health, Healing, & Well-being
with Robin Kobaly

Saturday, June 8th, 2019 | 12:30 – 3:30 pm ~ Class Full

3-Hour Tea-making Workshop at The Plant Yoda’s Den

Great fun, lots of demonstrations, samples, and displays!
Make your own custom blend to brew at home…

PresenterRobin KobalyBotanist, Founder and President of
The Power of Plants, and Executive Director of  The SummerTree Institute

  • Saturday June 8, 2019 
                   12:30 – 3:30 pm

  • The Plant Yoda’s Den
                   Morongo Valley, CA 92256 ~ Directions sent upon registration

  • Workshop registration includes:

                  ~ 3-hour workshop with displays & demonstrations

                  ~ Hands-on plant specimens for identification

                  ~ Helpful handouts

                  ~ Sample teas brewed from local native plants

                  ~ Your own custom tea blend to take home and brew

  • Fee: $65

                  ~ Enrollment is limited. Please reserve early to assure your spot.

This three-hour workshop offers a hands-on exploration of ancient and traditional uses of desert plants as teas and beverages, and gives you the opportunity to taste a dozen powerful but soothing plants as teas. Explore the healing and health properties of each native plant, and learn how to harvest, dry, store, and prepare them for your own use. This brand new workshop includes demonstrations and samples, plus tips on identifying each plant, as well as discussions about harvesting native plant species in a respectful and sustainable way.

Each workshop is unique, as we include native plants that are in season at that time, so we can sample flower buds, blossoms, fruit, roots, shoots, and seeds that are ready for harvest at that time. You will be empowered to learn about the local native plants that may be growing in your own back yard that are just waiting for you to discover their useful properties as refreshing, calming, and healing teas. You may look at our desert native plants with a new perspective after experiencing this intimate workshop.

Join us in the intimate setting of the unique and creative “Plant Yoda’s Den”, the home where Robin grew up, and where her mother, Babs Kobaly, taught her own native plant use classes for forty years. Babs had transformed her home into part apothecary, part art-house, and part fantasy world for her grandchildren, reflecting her passions as a native plant teacher, fanciful artist, and playful kid-lover.  In honor of her late mother, the great room of Babs’ home has been remodeled to open it up for classes and workshops on the very topics that she and Babs researched together as Robin grew up.

To reserve your space, or for more information
about this event:

Call The Power of Plants (760) 363-1166

Or email robin@powerofplants.com

 You may reserve your space and enroll now:

# of Participants

You may also reserve your space and enroll
by sending a check for $65 per participant to:

The Power of Plants
P.O. Box 800
Morongo Valley, CA 92256

Note: Please call or email us before sending your check to make sure we reserve your spot. Workshops fill up very fast.

Click flyer to view full-size

Check out our other events and workshops!  


Harvesting Yucca flowers

Part of my appreciation of our native desert plants comes from the indispensable gifts that these plants have provided for millennia to humans, wildlife, birds, insects, soils, and the whole ecosystem. Indigenous peoples have long valued and used native desert plants for food, medicine, healing, shelter, clothing, utensils, and ceremony.

I would like to share some of these uses that we can incorporate into our lives today, but this comes with a responsibility to reciprocate thoughtful care and stewardship for these tenacious but fragile desert dwellers. I always encourage respectful harvesting and mindful use of our native plants (join one of our classes to find out how!). I also strongly encourage the purchase and planting of native plants in our own yards, especially if we want to harvest their gifts regularly (see Native Plant Nurseries for nurseries that sell California native plants). By incorporating plants native to our own region into our yards, we also help sustain native butterflies, birds, wildlife, and migration corridors for all of them, as well as reducing our dependence on added water, fertilizers, and pesticides in our yards (and growing plants that thrive in our climate reduces our time and cost in maintaining our yard). It is truly a win-win scenario.

Spring is the season to try sautéed flowers and flower buds of Mojave Yucca, Yucca schidigera. All of the Mojave Yuccas in our yard are blossoming this spring from the ample rains we received from October to February, and we have harvested some of the flowers and buds for dinner. The flowers and flower buds of Mojave Yucca were roasted or first parboiled then roasted and eaten by indigenous peoples, although the fruits were the most favored part of the plant for eating. I prefer the taste of the sautéed buds to the flowers, but both are enjoyable when sautéed lightly in olive oil, with a shake of salt and pepper. The older flowers become slightly bitter with age as they begin producing more saponins; cooking or boiling breaks down the soap-like saponins. If the flowers you find are at full maturity, check out higher elevations to find younger flowers or unopened flower buds. Native Americans parboiled older flowers before roasting them to remove the bitterness and saponins. A little later in the season, as the fruit pods start to ripen, we will post about how to harvest and prepare the pods either roasted or dried as a fruit leather or mashed into a sweet meal.

Clockwise photos from upper left:

  1. Mojave Yucca in bloom
  2. Washing harvested flowers and buds
  3. Opened flower and unopened flower buds
  4. Mojave Yucca flowers sautéed in olive oil
  5. Washed yucca flower buds
  6. Sautéed flower buds in olive oil

Mojave Yucca plant parts traditionally used:

  • Leaf fibers – Bowstrings, netting, ropes, mats, brushes for body painting and pottery, coiled rope soles for sandals, starting material for baskets, saddle blankets, and strings for shell money
  • Seed pods – Toy animals for children, with sticks added for legs; pods roasted when green to eat, or dried and pounded into a sweet meal
  • Flowers – Young flowers roasted or sautéed, older flowers parboiled and then panfried, dried to preserve
  • Flower buds – Unopened flower buds roasted or sautéed and eaten
  • Roots – Mashed & mixed with water for soap
  • Seeds – Necklaces