Urban Open Space & Environmental Education Corner – February 2019

When Measure Q was passed by voters in 2014, the Open Space Authority made a commitment to invest in nature within our communities and created the Measure Q Urban Open Space & Environmental Education Grant Programs. Here are three recent updates from funded programs.


Building a New Community Garden in Morgan Hill - City of Morgan Hill

Morgan Hill Community Garden

The City of Morgan Hill is moving forward with construction of a new, expanded community garden that will double the capacity of the existing site and allow 100 local families to grow their own fresh food. A San Martin-based construction company started work in January - grading, fencing, and installing some areas of decomposed granite to make it accessible.

Morgan Hill Community Garden started out in 2009 on another city-owned parcel, where volunteers turned a formerly unused plot of dirt into a community asset. When the city decided to build a new fire station on that site, they set aside another surplus plot of land so the garden would have a permanent location for years to come. In addition to doubling the number of garden plots, the new location will include a restroom, new native habitat, and enhanced accessibility for members with limited mobility. The community garden members will construct the garden beds, and make other final modifications.

The Authority's Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program funded $250K for this project.

Find out more about this project in our Urban Success Stories.

Developing a Small & Urban Farmer Learning Hub at Martial Cottle Park - UC Cooperative Extension Santa Clara County

UC Cooperative Extension Santa Clara County Farm Hub, Martial Cottle Park

Getting started in farming is challenging anywhere, but it’s especially hard when you are living and working in an urbanized region like the Bay Area. To that end, the University of California Cooperative Extension “Small & Urban Farmer Learning Hub” is intended to help beginning farmers and ranchers develop the skills and networks they need to sustain their economic goals here in Santa Clara County.

This program offers a demonstration and education program for small, limited-resource beginning farmers and ranchers of diverse backgrounds. Training is provided through workshops and field days and facilitates farmer-to-farmer networking. Field programs are offered primarily at Martial Cottle Park, a historic farm turned Santa Clara County park in South San Jose, but also through partnerships with other working agricultural sites, including Veggielution at Emma Prusch Farm Park.

Recent programs included a soil health workshop that gave attendees a hands-on way to learn how to take soil samples and use the various equipment involved in assessing the quality of urban soil, which is important in urban areas.

This project was funded $167K by the Open Space Authority’s Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program.

Upcoming programs include workshops on backyard and pasture poultry workshop, growing microgreens, and legal and business aspects of cottage industries.

Find out more about their upcoming workshops on their website.

Environmental Education Through “Park Crawls” - Bay Area Older Adults

bay area older adults - park crawl hike

One local organization is getting seniors outside and teaching them about nature. Bay Area Older Adults is a local nonprofit dedicated to improving health and wellness of older adults through active living, lifelong learning, and fostering social bonds.

The organization received $8K in funding through the Open Space Authority's Measure Q Environmental Education Grant Program to host a series of “Park Crawls,” educational hikes in local parks and preserves. Each hike is led by a knowledgeable guide, who shares information about the local environment, wildlife, and history. The hikes are free with lunch and transportation provided, covered by the grant program. Attendees are asked to wear something green, to share their dedication to protecting our green spaces.

Bay Area Older Adults is no stranger to outdoor events - in the last six years, they have hosted 98 walks in more 30 parks and 39 trails, in Santa Clara County alone. More than 3,000 older adults have walked 9,200 miles on their recent outings. Founder Anne Ferguson said she was inspired to start the organization by her own grandparents who were always active, and shared their love of nature with her through outdoor activities including birding, foraging mushrooms, and watching butterflies.

Since the grant was awarded, the organization has completed 5 of the 8 proposed group events, plus one additional classroom-based lecture on mountain lions, hosted by Open Space Authority volunteer, Michael Hundt. There are three more educational park crawls coming in 2019, all in the Authority’s open space preserves, and other events scheduled throughout the year.

To find out more about Bay Area Older Adults and future Park Crawl events, check out their website.

February 06, 2019
For media inquiries contact:

Alisha Maniglia

Communications Specialist