Seven Reasons to be Thankful For Nature

November is a time for gratitude, with holidays approaching and the beginning of a new year. As we reflect on the people, places, and experiences that bring us joy, here’s a reminder of all the amazing benefits the open spaces of the Santa Clara Valley provide. May this list inspire you to move through the holidays with gratitude, love, and respect for....

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clean Water supply

Access to drinking water is one of the most essential things nature provides, and in a changing climate, it’s one we can’t take for granted. Roughly 50% of Santa Clara County’s water supply comes from watersheds within the County’s boundaries, and the Open Space Authority has protected more than 10,000 acres of vital watershed lands.

A watershed is an area of land that acts like a giant sponge, absorbing rainfall and melting snow, and the accumulated water drains into surrounding streams and downstream reservoirs. Floodplains provide resilience against climate change through a natural system of water absorption, filtering and storage, allowing groundwater recharge and reducing flood risks. Check out how the water cycle works and then learn some tips for how to save water at home here

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Access to Food

  • The Bay Area produces a bounty of fresh, nutritious food year-round, and we are grateful for the remaining agricultural lands in Santa Clara Valley. Protecting places like Coyote Valley and the Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve protects food security for the region. Local agriculture has sustained Santa Clara Valley's communities and economies for generations, and protected farmlands can provide for many future generations to come.  

Read our Autumn Produce Guide to learn what's in season right now.

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Oxygen - the air we breathE

Take a deep breath in, and a slow deep breath out. The planet’s uncanny ability to regulate the climate and turn carbon dioxide into oxygen is literally life-giving.  Oxygen is produced by organisms (like plants, bacteria, and algae) that live in the ocean, fresh water, and on land. Thanks, nature!

Protecting natural and working lands, as well as initiatives like urban forestry and urban greening projects support this service, and you can too! Check out our grants page to learn about local organizations supporting this work - and get involved! 

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From a purely aesthetic perspective, there’s no arguing about the jaw-dropping beauty of Santa Clara Valley's open spaces. From rolling hillsides, to sun shining through the trees, to vibrant springtime wildflowers – that beauty enriches our lives and makes it all feel a bit magical. 

Read our Beginner's Guide to Hiking (ESPAÑOL | TIẾNG VIỆT) if you'd like to learn more about the beauty your open spaces have to offer.

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our Wild neighbors

Without pollinators, there would be no food crops to eat; without decomposers, nutrients wouldn’t be repurposed into the land; without fish, our marine ecosystems would suffer; without biodiversity, we simply would not persist. We are intertwined in a complex web of life, each string as important as the next. Without wildlife, there is no life! 

Remember, every time you step into an Open Space Preserve, you are entering the home of a variety of plants and animals. Click here to learn how you can keep wildlife and yourself safe as you hit the trail.

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Nature provides an abundance of opportunities to improve both our physical and mental health. Whether you are working up a sweat on the trail or taking some time to meditate on a quiet morning. Nature is known to lower blood pressure and help increase a sense of calm.

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Whether hiking a favorite trail, enjoying a stroll at sunset, or going bird watching – there are numerous opportunities for people to enjoy the company of others outside. And for that, we are grateful.


What about nature are you most grateful for?


As California continues experiencing prolonged droughts, more frequent flooding, and devastating wildfires, protecting and restoring our natural infrastructure is the smartest long-term investment we can make to build climate resilience for our communities and to adapt to climate change. To learn more about how open space like Coyote Valley build resilience, click here


November 02, 2022
For media inquiries contact:

Charlotte Graham

Public Information Officer