Why Become an Open Space Authority Volunteer?

Message from Gavin Comstock, Volunteer Program Administrator

Recently, I had a great conversation with a friend exploring when it was that we first experienced a “moment of wonder” in nature. Surprisingly, I had to dig deep to identify exactly when the hook was set. Growing up in a family that did a lot of things outside, but not necessarily camping, my formative experiences are characterized as much by people as by place. As much as the outdoors was the setting, it was a combination of personalities, places, and attitudes that informed my enjoyment. It was not until my early twenties and my participation in a semester long NOLS course (National Outdoor Leadership Schools) in the desert southwest that I found myself slack jawed at the surreal beauty of nature. Ultimately, our conversation wound its way from what formed our love of nature to considering why we still prioritize time outdoors, with others or alone.

Read More April 05, 2023

The Monarch Butterfly's Mysterious Decline: What You Can Do to Help

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.

Read More April 07, 2021

Cities of the Future: New Report Highlights Green Urban Planning

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.

Read More March 03, 2021

Open Space Authority’s Measure T Approved by Voters

Measure T, the Open Space, Wildlife Habitat, Clean Water, and Increased Public Access Measure, has been passed by 81% of voters and has secured funding for the Open Space Authority to protect open spaces for future generations. Thanks to you, the voters, we can renew our commitment to investing in nature in communities and providing Santa Clara Valley residents with more equitable access to nature while stewarding our beautiful open spaces forever.

Read More November 10, 2020

The Season of Gratitude at the Open Space Authority

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now is as good a time as any to take a minute to reflect on everything we have to be grateful for, whether it’s nature or family, food or shelter, or simply the air we breathe.

Read More November 10, 2020

Frantoio Grove Agricultural Conservation Easement

In the San Martin region of Santa Clara County sits Frantoio Grove, a family-owned and operated specialty olive oil company that just turned 15 years old. The 30-acre grove is part of a roughly 97-acre property that is now permanently protected for agriculture through an Agricultural Conservation Easement (ACE). The land, initially anticipated to become a subdivision development, will now remain productive farmland and protected from development.

Read More October 12, 2020

Nature’s Recovery and Resilience

By Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager

On August 16, 2020, a thunderstorm that produced thousands of lightning strikes ignited a series of fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties that merged to become the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, burning 86,509 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains, destroying 1,490 structures, and causing extensive damage to protected natural areas and historic resources in Big Basin State Park, Butano State Park, and San Vicente Redwoods.

Read More October 07, 2020

Open Space Authority Funds New Projects to Connect Communities to Nature

“Who do you serve?”

With concerted efforts to provide equitable access to nature for the Authority’s entire jurisdiction, this question was one asked frequently throughout the review process for the 2019-2020 cycle of the Open Space Authority’s Urban Grant Program.

Read More October 07, 2020

Urban Grant Program Awards over $200,000 in Measure Q Funds

San Jose, CA (September 28, 2020) - The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority’s Board of Directors has awarded $206,324 in Measure Q grant funding to five nonprofits and a school district as part of the Small Grants category for the 2020 cycle of the Urban Grant Program. The Urban grants fund a variety of programming, including environmental education on the topics of food and agriculture, as well as environmental stewardship, with the goal of providing access to nature within the urban areas.

Read More September 28, 2020

Understanding our Community and Improving Access to Open Space

The COVID-19 pandemic has simultaneously raised awareness of the need urban residents have for access to nature and open spaces, while also highlighting the great disparities in our society related to that access to nature, and as well, related to access to health care, rate of disease, and life expectancy. Now, more than ever, organizations have a responsibility to better understand the health needs of the communities they serve and make a significant positive impact by providing ways for people to live healthier lives.

The newly released report, Understanding Our Community Phase II, is the latest step in the Authority’s long-term commitment to serve its diverse community in a meaningful and sustainable way.

Read More September 02, 2020