Last month, the Open Space Authority celebrated the agency’s 25th Anniversary Year with local elected officials and close community partners. General Manager Andrea Mackenzie shared her thoughts on a quarter of a century spent protecting open space in the Santa Clara Valley and what lies ahead.
We have come a long way in a quarter century. But we wouldn’t have achieved any of the things that we’ve done without the foresight and tireless work of the community organizers who conceived of this idea and worked to establish the Open Space Authority well over 25 years ago.
Partnerships are in our DNA.
The Open Space Authority was born out of partnerships. From the very beginning, it took partnership between private individuals, organizations, and public officials, including the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. Partnership continues to be a powerful tool that drives the work we do every day. And these partnerships produce results. To quote an African proverb: if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Our work is gaining momentum.
The first land acquisition totaled just 3,500 acres back in 1999, six years after our founding, and now we’ve protected over 25,000 acres in our 25 years. But today we’re not just acquiring land, we’re working with private landowners on conservation easements, so they can retain ownership while the land continues to provide the benefits all of us need and enjoy, like clean air and food.
We are always looking to the future.
We are engaging more youth in our programs to build the conservation leaders of tomorrow, building new and non-traditional partnerships to bring more comprehensive environmental benefits to our constituents, and learning how to engage with our diverse communities in ways more relevant to their cultures and practices, work that will help remove barriers to access of nature in the urban areas.
We’re proud of everything the Authority has achieved in the past 25 years, but we’re even more excited for all that lies ahead. Thank you for being with us and supporting the conservation of Santa Clara Valley and beyond.
Watch our 25th Anniversary video: The Open Space Authority at 25 and Beyond