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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Conservancy Receives its First Property Donation!

We are very pleased to report that in July of this year, the Conservancy was donated its first parcel of property!  We are now a land owner!  This generous donation was made by the Panofsky family, and we would like to especially like to thank Mrs. Adele Panofsky and her sister Andree Wilson, the owners of the property, and Mrs. Panofsky’s son Steven and his wife Susan for facilitating to the donation.

L-R:  Laura Pavliscak (Conservancy Stewardship Manager), Steven Panofsky, Adele (DuMond) Panofsky, Susan Panofsky, and Scot Pipkin (Conservancy Public Access Manager) following a spring picnic at the property.

The 20-acre property is located at the northern edge of Tejon Ranch, outside of the town of Caliente, California.  It sits in the Caliente Creek channel and floodplain supporting mature Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and willow (Salix spp) riparian vegetation with bladderpod (Peritoma arborea) and scalebroom (Lepidospartum squamatum) in the adjacent uplands.  The Conservancy has also documented new patches of the federally and state listed Endangered Bakersfield cactus (Opuntia basilaris treleasei) on the property, and have documented San Joaquin coachwhip (Coluber flagellum ruddockii), a California Species of Special Concern, in the vicinity of the property.  
Panofsky property, looking east.

The Panofsky property lies between the Tejon Ranch boundary and the Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way.  On the other side of the Southern Pacific right-of-way lies the Tollhouse (Rudnick) Ranch currently owned by The Nature Conservancy.  Thus, the Panofsky property incrementally contributes to landscape connectivity in the region by connecting Tejon Ranch to other conserved properties. The Tehachapi Pass where the property is located is also a unique biogeographic setting.  The Pass cuts through the Tehachapi Mountains and Southern Sierra Nevada foothills to connect the Great Central Valley ecological region with the Mojave Desert, and is therefore an important transition area and point of contact between closely related species.

Location of the Panofsky property.
The property also has an interesting history.  It came into the family in 1916 when it was purchased from John Ripley by Frederick Melville DuMond (1887-1927), the maternal grandfather of Adele and Andree.  Frederick was a Paris-trained painter with a reputation as an adventurer and romantic, who ultimately became known for his Mojave Desert landscapes.  Frederick purchased the property for $10 with the idea of running sheep on it.  He never grazed sheep on the property but it was used by subsequent generations of the Panofsky family as a picnic and camping site.  Adele Panofsky wanted to see this property conserved as a “preserve” and the Panofsky’s made contact with the Conservancy to see if we could help.

Frederick Melville DuMond as painted by his daughter Camille in 1907

We are extremely fortunate that folks like the Panofsky’s want to conserve properties such as this and trust the Conservancy to help them achieve this goal. We are very happy that the Panofsky family is now part of our Conservancy family, and we are committed to ensuring that the legacy of this property is permanently protected and stewarded.  From all of the Conservancy staff, Board, volunteers, and other partners Thank you!!