Piñon Hills Reserve
In 2001 AFC received a donation of 40 acres of natural open space in the Eastern Antelope Valley. The property slopes gently from South to North on the northern alluvial fan of the San Gabriel Mountains with elevations ranging from approximately 4080 ft. in the southwest corner to 3920 ft. in the northeast corner. The dominant natural community on the property is California Juniper-Joshua Tree Woodland with dense stands of juniper interspersed with fairly dense Joshua trees (Figure 3, below). The site supports a diverse assemblage of desert shrubs with dominant perennial plants being California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum polifolium), boxthorn (Lycium sp.), blue sage (Salvia dorrii), interior goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia), rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa), chaparral yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) and Mormon tea (Ephedra nevadensis). During an initial biological survey, AFC advisors Mickey Long and Tracey Alsobrook recorded a total of 30 plant species on the property, 27 native and only 3 species non-native, indicating a very intact, undisturbed ecosystem.
Wildlife on the site include birds like resident cactus wrens, summer-visiting Scott's orioles and various desert sparrows. There is evidence of healthly rodent diversity on the numerous tracks and burrows, and coyotes, gray fox and bobcats undoubtedly make this habitat home. Several species of lizards have been seen, including the very cool leopard lizard (below).