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 7 Eagle Scout projects building trails, bridges, 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 four of our properties: Rosemont Preserve in La Crescenta, Millard and Rubio Canyons in Altadena and Cottonwood Canyon in Pasadena.
To reach under served demographics where students are unable to visit AFC properties, AFC launched a 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.
AFC works with many educators and strives to gather and utilize the most current information available to spread awareness about conservation and the role each one of us plays in the future of our planet. Some of our favorite resources are listed on the right – please share them and let us know if you have a favorite not listed so we can include it as well.