AFC has received a grant from the County of Los Angeles to plant native trees in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The grant of $20,550.13 will allow AFC to begin reforesting lands that have been depleted of trees by wind, fire and historic logging. The conservancy will carry out the work in wilderness it owns in Altadena’s Rubio Canyon and La Crescenta’s Goss Canyon, and in wilderness it is working to preserve in Altadena’s Millard Canyon.

“We’re very grateful to the county for this grant,” said John Howell, AFC’s executive director. “A key part of our mission is to restore native habitat in the foothills, and this is a big step in that direction. We are gratified in particular that Supervisor Michael Antonovich shares our conviction.”

Rather than plant nursery-grown seedlings, AFC will start from the ground up — germinating new trees from seeds gathered from trees in our foothills. This will ensure that each new tree is genetically native to the area in which it is placed. Seedlings will be propagated for a year before being planted.

AFC consulting biologists Thomas Juhasz and Mickey Long are planning the restoration, taking into account the historic distribution of native tree species in the foothills. They have determined that for all three canyons a total of 250 bigcone spruce, California sycamore, coast live oak, canyon live oak, California walnut, and bigleaf maple should be planted.

The grant will also fund irrigation and care to maximize survival. While the grant is for trees only, AFC intends to install suitable companion plants with the trees.

“We’re aiming to recreate habitat as it might have existed prior to major human intervention,” Howell said.

The trees will be planted by the California Conservation Corps, a state organization that employs at-risk youth, putting them in touch with nature and helping them build skills that can guide them into long-term employment.