Biological altruism is a phenomenon that causes plant and animal species to behave in a manner that helps another organism, even at the cost of their own well-being. While experts are still theorizing exactly what motivates this behavior, a common perception is that, especially among species with complex social structures, these instances of helping another organism will ultimately benefit that which provides the help. Protecting and assisting other organisms helps to make all organisms thrive because the actions of one will impact another; because we are all connected.
In response to the intolerable acts of violence and racial injustices against people of color, and the ongoing COVID-19 global health and climate crises, we at the Open Space Authority have made a long-term commitment to ensure that the values of inclusion and equity are reflected in every facet of our work. This is life-long work that does not have a beginning and an end but rather will involve short-term and long-term goals. We have started by taking a step back, listening to the community, and looking inwards at our own practices and systems of work. From here, we will reflect on the ways that we are engaging in larger systems and structures in our community, including those that are both positive and negative, and identify how we can turn our commitment to these values into meaningful actions and change.
In 2015, Our City Forest, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a healthy Silicon Valley through the promotion of urban forestry, acquired a parcel of land at Martial Cottle Park and created an outdoor urban forestry education center and arboretum, the Outdoor Educational Center.
Just over twenty years ago, Monarch butterflies, one of the most charismatic and widely recognized butterfly species, lived in abundance across the United States. Often symbolizing spirituality and hope, these creatures have long been a source of wonder among us and, at the same time, have been a great source of mystery. With complex and largely unknown migratory patterns, unique life cycles, and elusiveness around humans, Monarchs have intrigued researchers for years. At the start of this year, that intrigue mounted. What once was a yearly population count in excess of 1.2 million towards the turn of the century, has since dropped to a far lower threshold of roughly 30,000. Following this already concerning decline, the 2020 count was much worse than anyone could have anticipated: a staggering 1,914 butterflies.
We at the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority stand in solidarity with the Asian American community and collectively grieve the lives lost and lives impacted in recent attacks and hate crimes across the country.
Grasslands across North America are declining rapidly and with them, grassland birds, which are declining at a higher rate than any other group of birds across the continent. California is home to a considerable amount of grassland and oak savanna ecosystems, two of which – Sierra Vista and Diablo Foothills – are managed by the Authority. These habitats are of high ecological value, as they support a variety of rare and common bird species and contain healthy soil. Stewarding what’s left of these habitats must be an absolute priority. Monitoring these landscapes to maintain their well-being is a way to evaluate our stewardship practices.
The impacts of climate change are intensifying rapidly and as populations continue to grow, there is an increasing need to make our cities more adaptable to the needs of the future.
Hiking is one of the most beneficial leisure activities you can do! It’s outdoors, it’s a great opportunity to spend time with people, and it’s a fun way to work up a sweat. However, it can be a struggle getting out onto the trail and, when you’re new to it, it can be even harder to take those first steps.
Last year was certainly challenging, in more ways than any of us could have anticipated. But, Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order N-82-20, now referred to as 30 by 30, is one reason to be optimistic about the future of our planet’s climate.
Once a month, celebrate #OpenSpaceTransformationTuesday to see how we are transforming Santa Clara Valley’s natural spaces into beautifully restored, healthy landscapes.
Nearly eight months after the Crews Fire burned entirely through the Open Space Authority’s Diablo Foothills preserve, we are seeing new life appear yet again.
- In Acknowledgement of Earth Day
- The Equity Lens: April 2021
- Urban Open Space Corner: Our City Forest
- The Monarch Butterfly's Mysterious Decline: What You Can Do to Help
- The Open Space Authority Stands in Solidarity with the Asian American Community
- New Report Advances Authority's Priority for Protecting Grasslands
- Cities of the Future: New Report Highlights Green Urban Planning
- A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking
- California and U.S. Executive Orders Set 30 by 30 Climate Goals
- Fire and Regrowth at Diablo Foothills