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November 2017

A Stepping Stone for Conservation in Coyote Valley

Ramke_POST_Kevin_Ice.jpgWith the upcoming final release of the Open Space Authority’s Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage report, the valley has been top of mind for many conservation organizations. Bringing us a step closer to realizing the report's vision, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) has purchased the Ramke property near Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Each open space acquisition serves as a stepping stone for conservation in implementing the Linkage vision.

The 63-acre property is located within the Fisher Creek floodplain, an important element of the critical connection between the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range. The Ramke property purchase provides an opportunity to expand riparian habitat and to restore rare wet meadows, which could provide habitat for numerous endangered and threatened species such as the California tiger salamander.

Protection of this property honors the legacy of Henry and Martha Ramke who purchased the land in 1955 and devoted themselves to caring for it. The family owned the property for over six decades, where they grew tomatoes, beans, bell peppers, and most recently alfalfa, wheat, and oats. The Ramke heirs have fond memories of spending quality family time together at the ranch and playing in the irrigation ditches when it was an active orchard. “My grandmother was a great cook and took care of all the workers,” said Samantha Roffe, granddaughter of the Ramkes. “And my grandfather was this big sturdy guy who worked hard but then he always made time to nurture our family.”

The family was pleased to be working with POST and the Open Space Authority for the land's perpetual protection as open space. “We are incredibly happy to see the property being kept in conservation and not developed,” said Samantha. “This is not just a piece of land to us, its where we grew up and it was life for my family, so it is special to us. We want it to be special for future generations to enjoy as open space, too.”

Read the full story here.

National At-Risk Landscapes: Coyote Valley makes the list

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According to a new report, Coyote Valley is one of the nation's most at-risk landscapes, due to the continuing threat of development. The 2017 Landslide Report: Open Season on Open Space was compiled by The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to connecting people to places and encouraging stewardship of public lands and culturally significant spaces. Coyote Valley was one of thirteen different threatened places featured from coast to coast.

The report's goal is to draw immediate and lasting attention to threatened landscapes and unique features. Coyote Valley falls under the themes of Monetization of Open Space and Devaluation of Cultural Lifeways. The report references the Authority's Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage twice and encourages readers to sign Greenbelt Alliance's petition to stop sprawl in Coyote Valley.

Open Space Authority Becomes First Public Agency to Receive Land Trust Accreditation

LTA Accreditation.jpgLast week, at a national meeting of conservationists in Denver, Colorado, the Open Space Authority was recognized for doing something no other public agency has before – becoming the first public agency in the nation to receive land trust accreditation.

Accreditation is awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to “save the places people need and love” by strengthening land conservation efforts nationwide.

In preparation for accreditation, the Authority ensured its conservation practices and processes met or exceeded best Standards and Practices set forth by the Land Trust Alliance, which includes thorough evaluation of conservation values for each property acquisition and regular monitoring of protected lands to make certain that those values are conserved forever.

As a public agency, the Open Space Authority holds itself to a high standard and this accreditation adds another level of commitment to excellence and professionalism. “Accreditation is a mark of distinction that assures our work meets the best practices and standards for professional land conservation,” said Matt Freeman, the Authority’s Assistant General Manager. “Our staff takes pride in working collaboratively with landowners to protect our region’s vital open spaces, and accreditation further signals to our landowner partners how seriously we take this work.”

Youth Stewards Volunteer at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve


On October 11, the Open Space Authority hosted students from San Jose's Harker Academy at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. More than 200 high school freshman students and staff came out, making it the biggest volunteer Land Steward service day in Authority history. The Harker volunteers gathered to hear San Jose City Councilmember Chappie Jones speak about the importance of protecting the environment, and then worked on trail maintenance, removing non-native mustard plants along the Arrowhead Trail.

The work the Harker group did at the preserve makes the trail more enjoyable for the more than 60,000 annual visitors, while improving the habitat for native plants and animals. In one day the students did work that would take Authority staff hundreds of hours!

The school covered the event in their online newsletter, which also included an article written by a Harker journalism student. Follow up activities with the school will include a hike during the wildflower season and a conservation careers presentation.

Urban Open Space Nature Hub Opens - Bill's Backyard: Bridge to Nature

On October 29, a brand new way to experience nature opened in the heart of downtown San Jose. The Children's Discovery Museum launched Bill's Backyard: Bridge to Nature, a half acre outdoor play space that gives kids the chance to explore the outdoors by climbing, building, digging, and getting their hands dirty in a safe and authentic way.


Research shows that outdoor play in nature fosters curiosity, creativity, and problem solving skills. At the Bill's Backyard dedication, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said, "for so many kids here in San Jose and cities around the country, there is a nature deficit disorder. This project enables kids to embrace nature and become better stewards of nature."

The project was supported by a number of community partners, including being the first project to receive funds from the Authority's Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant program. This annual grant program provides funding for projects located in urban communities with limited access to nature and is currently accepting applications.

"It was the idea of Bridge to Nature that really resonated with us," said Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager of the Authority. "Many families especially those in low-income neighborhoods don't have access to nature parks and open spaces. Bill's Backyard is that bridge for those families, breaking down barriers and opening doors for children to experience the joy of unstructured outdoor play and connecting families to nature."

Who Am I?

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I can grow up to 40 feet tall. I create food for wildlife, such as woodpeckers and scrub jays and mammals including deer and squirrels. I’m used to living in places that burn so I’ve got natural protection that keeps me safe me from the heat. I can live anywhere along the coast from Mexico to Mendocino County, and I’m one of several similar species found in the Santa Clara Valley - you can spot me in all the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority preserves.

Celebrate Wildlife!


Join the Open Space Authority and our friends at the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center (WERC) for a free, kid- friendly educational event! Learn about local wildlife, like the baby bobcats who were recently rescued, and meet the dedicated people who work to bring animals back to health and return them to their home. Plus, get up close to some of the center’s resident birds of prey.

Sat, November 18, 2017
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Machado School, Morgan Hill


Plant ID Walk


Join us for a beginner's plant walk along the Mayfair Ranch Trail at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. We will walk through a variety of native habitats including grassland, oak woodland, and riparian. Expect to see fruiting plants such as toyon and bigberry manzanita. The trail's vista point offers spectacular views of the Diablo Range and Mount Hamiliton! Space is limited, so please register today.

Sun, November 19, 2017
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Rancho Cañada del Oro
Open Space Preserve


Hike Your Pie Off!

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Feeling guilty for indulging in all your favorite holiday treats? Join our docents for a fun, 4-mile hike to burn off those extra calories while spending time with your family and taking in some awesome views.

Sat, November 25, 2017
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve


Who Am I Answer

coast live oak leaf.jpg

I am the Coast Live Oak. I’m one of several species of native oaks found in the Santa Clara Valley. My curled leaves are a dark, waxy green, with small barbs; the flip side has gray or golden fuzz. My acorns — which are about 2 inches long and smooth — provide food for local wildlife, and my thick bark provides some protection from fires. 

Photo Credits

Ramke property - Kevin Ice, Peninsula Open Space Trust

View of Coyote Valley from Coyote Ridge - Bill Adams, OSA Volunteer

LTA - OSA Archive

Harker - Ron Horii, OSA Volunteer

Bill's Backyard - Alisha Maniglia, Open Space Authority

Coast Live Oak - OSA Archive

Bobcat - OSA Wildlife Camera

Berries - OSA Archive

Girl - OSA Archive

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |