Conservation Through Education

AFC feels a strong responsibility to nurture the next generation of land stewards in order to ensure the protection of natural open space in our communities in perpetuity. To do that we have established a strong Conservation through Education Program.

As we preserve natural open space, we reach into the surrounding communities to engage neighbors, families, teachers, students, and friends. We educate them about the value of their natural open space—about its wildlife, native plants, geology, and conservation--and ask for their input regarding what we do with each property.   We mentor both girl and boy scouts and have helped them complete 5 Eagle Scout projects building trails, demonstration gardens, and kiosks on our properties.  Our Girl Scout mentors have helped with bronze, silver and gold award projects creating wildlife and habitat plant and animal guides used at our properties, along with demonstration planting boxes at the Rosemont Preserve.  We also recruit interns from local high schools and colleges and give them hands-on training in field research.

The resulting programs – like field trips for local public schools, community service days for students, docent led tours and open gate days - provide opportunities for community members to visit our properties and learn about the unique natural diversity of our foothills.  We are successfully executing this model of property acquisition and stewardship at three of our properties: Rosemont Preserve in La Crescenta and Millard and Rubio Canyons in Altadena.  A fourth group is already up and running at Cottonwood Canyon and with the owners' permission AFC has hosted field trips and community service events there over the last 3 years.

To reach underserved demographics where students are unable to visit AFC properties, AFC launched their Wildlife Movement Education Project, installing cameras on each AFC property to track wildlife movement through vital natural corridors. The motion-sensitive cameras, in place 24 hours per day, capture diurnal and nocturnal animals, as they move through the camera's field.  This data can be used in a variety of teaching modes spanning many grade levels, from basic native animal identification to the value of conservation and land stewardship and the opportunity for careers in conservation. We are creating a website to host the curriculum and data from the properties and provide it free of charge to schools. For public schools with little to no money available for transportation this brings the outdoors into their classrooms as the basis of interactive projects.


2016 Highlights

Outdoor Education

AFC continues to host field trips at all properties – including Cottonwood Canyon – thanks to permission from the sellers!  Schools visiting last year include Westridge School, Flintridge Sacred Heart and Polytechnic School.

Additionally, Program Administrator, Tim Martinez attends Science, STEM and STEAM fairs at local public schools and helps plan and install native gardens.  Last year he worked with Cleveland Elementary School in Pasadena to install their first native plant garden.  The kids learned all about native plants and had a blast creating the garden.


Cottonwood Canyon

Schools continue to visit Cottonwood Canyon as part of our field trip program helping to pull invasive plants in this crucial wildlife corridor that we are working with urgency to save.

Cottonwood was also the site of an environmental conference where AFC hosted members of the Critical Thinking Forum of the International Islamic University Islamabad, Pakistan to a panel discussion about the environment. These women were on a State Department sponsored consciousness raising tour to the US.  They spoke about urban greening and need for environmental education in schools – whether they be in Islamabad or California.


Millard Canyon

The OBA crew and AFC’s summer interns took care of the trees at Millard Canyon this summer.  Friends of Millard Canyon completed a project to bring water down to the canyon with assistance from a helpful neighbor!  A group of JPL interns spent a day removing invasive eupatory as well.


Old Marengo Park

Old Marengo Park Garden - Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy

This neighborhood pocket park established through an AFC collaboration with Altadena Heritage has been revitalized this year!  Neighbors come out to help along with our volunteers and the result is a beautiful example of what teamwork can achieve.  Come check it out at the corner of Marengo Ave. and Woodbury Road in Altadena.  Keep a look out for more events to come!



Rosemont Preserve

The Friends of Rosemont Preserve continue to host field trips for local public schools and monthly events including restoration days, native seed broadcasting events, open gate days and docent-led tours.  Some of the interesting tours held this last year include:

  • Animal Tracking and Photography with Johanna Turner
  • California Native Plants and their Medicinal Uses with Jim Adams
  • Native Plants for your garden with Nicholas Hummingbird, Roger Klemm and Tim Martinez
  • Water and Conservation in Southern California with AFC founder, Nancy Steele

We held another Spring Equinox event with outdoor education activities for the whole family, along with our first “Take it Outside” event promoting free outdoor activities on conserved lands hosted by organizations across the state.

In addition to learning about native plants, students who visited also learned to identify igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks on the Preserve, and enjoyed learning about potential and kinetic energy with our ever-popular “Earthquake Machine!”  Our scat chart with realistic replicas of scat from our wild inhabitants is a hit as well.

A big thanks to John Kornarens, who helped us secure a donation of oak and big cone spruce trees that were planted at Rosemont last fall!


Rubio Canyon

AFC’s Friends of Rubio Canyon volunteer advisory group is gaining in strength and the canyon is looking great!  Thanks to them, the OBA crew and AFC summer interns, the garden along the Rubio trail is thriving and the baby trees survived another hot, dry summer.