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.
World Mental Health day, created by the World Health Organization to increase awareness and education about mental health, is approaching once again on October 10th and is particularly relevant today in our masked, 6-feet-apart world.
“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.
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.
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.
More than 30 years ago, local open space advocates came up with a vision for a vast trail network that would connect all the ridges around the San Francisco Bay from Sonoma to Santa Clara Counties, into one continuous 550-mile long trail. Over the following decades, this momentous vision that came to be known as the Bay Area Ridge Trail sprang to life, as trail segments managed by various parks and open space districts were added to the map. The trail is now 70% complete with more than 380 miles of scenic ridge-top trails, overlooking every corner of the Bay.
But over the years there’s been one crucial element missing - linkages to the Bay Area’s major transit providers, including BART.
Warm summer nights are here, one of the best times of year to enjoy astronomy!
To get some tips for exploring the night sky, we talked with Swami Nigam, one of the Directors of the San Jose Astronomical Association (SJAA). SJAA is a long-time partner of the Authority, co-hosting many events over the last decade or more, including the regular “Starry Nights” nighttime outings at Rancho Cañada del Oro.
Driving north along Piedmont Road along the suburban east hills of Milpitas you might not know that an important part of local history is right in your midst.
The Alviso Adobe and city park is tucked into a residential cul de sac on Piedmont Road just south of Calaveras. Surrounded by modern structures, this 175-year-old farmhouse is considered the oldest continuously occupied adobe in California and the last intact example of Monterey Colonial-style architecture. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
Everyone in our community deserves access to nature, regardless of age or physical mobility. Local families want to share the outdoors with friends and all the people they love. Spending time outside can help reduce stress and allow people to reflect, relax, and reset - health benefits that should be available to all.
As part of its core mission, the Open Space Authority is always looking for opportunities to make our open space preserves more accessible by providing paved trail segments with easy access to parking areas, and by awarding Urban Grants to fund urban and neighborhood trail expansions and accessibility improvements.
For our story on restoring the Alviso Adobe, please use this link!
One day soon, when you are driving on Highway-87 past downtown San Jose, you’ll see bright rows of California poppies pointing the way to Guadalupe River Park & Gardens.
A new project, organized by the nonprofit Guadalupe River Park Conservancy and funded in part by $27,009 from the Open Space Authority’s Urban Grant Program, is working to both beautify this city park and clarify the boundaries with attractive and wildlife-friendly split rail wooden fencing, new signage, and native wildflowers.
- Frantoio Grove Agricultural Conservation Easement
- Nature’s Recovery and Resilience
- Connecting Communities and Mental Health to Nature
- Acquisition of Tilton Ranch Complex Expands Greater Coyote Valley Vision
- Open Space Authority Funds New Projects to Connect Communities to Nature
- Urban Grant Program Awards over $200,000 in Measure Q Funds
- Understanding our Community and Improving Access to Open Space
- Inspiring Conservation: General Manager Andrea Mackenzie Named One of 2020’s “Women of Influence”
- Community Connections - Ada Márquez
- Better Access for All: Coyote Valley Trail Improvements