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December 2019

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Open Space Authority!

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Season’s (Green) Greetings: How to Celebrate Sustainably this Holiday Season

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'Tis the season to celebrate the holidays with family and friends! We can all enjoy this time with loved ones while also taking care of the planet. Read on for some of our favorite ways to stay eco-friendly during the holidays.

stock-1Choose sustainable decorations
Want to enjoy a natural tree this year but reduce waste? Some companies will rent you a live tree and then take it back after the holidays to keep in their nursery or plant. Two companies that provide this service in the South Bay are and PlantMan Interiorscape. If you can’t find a living tree, opt for a sustainably- or locally-grown tree. Avoid single-use, disposable decorations and opt for decorations you can re-use as well as those made from sustainable materials. Get creative and look for sustainable alternatives to disposable gift wrap: scarves or decorative fabrics, old maps or sheet music, and reusable tins or storage containers.

Reduce or offset your holiday travel emissions
When you are planning holiday outings and trips, look for opportunities to reduce emissions and walk, bike, or take public transit. To save energy on shopping trips and errands, combine multiple trips into one, and even invite other family members or friends!  

Shop local for gifts
One good way to find unique gifts is to look for local craftspeople offering unique and handmade gifts made locally and with a low carbon footprint. The San Jose Holiday Craft Fair (December 14-15), Santana Row Makers Market, (December 7), and the Mountain View German Holiday Market (December 14) will all feature local artists and handcrafted gifts, food, drink, and music.

LAGUNA SECA - Land Stewards - A-Burnside - 11-23-19 - 1Holiday volunteering in land stewardship
The holiday season is a perfect time to give back! This year, consider volunteering to restore nature. Sign up here to be notified about future volunteer opportunities at Authority open space preserves.

Get outside with visiting friends and family
Take advantage of the holidays to connect with loved ones outdoors and enjoy nature as a respite from the busy holiday season. Plan a picnic, a walk, or a hike - there are options for family members of all ages. Find all of our trail maps and plan your trip here

Be sure to check out the rest of our holiday sustainability guide here!

High School Students Lend a Hand to Protect Open Space

This October, more than 200 students from San Jose’s Harker School hit the trails at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve to perform important seasonal trail maintenance work while learning about our natural environment and enjoying the outdoors.

IMG_0203The project was part of the school’s annual Freshman Day of Service, which connects students with community projects. This is the third year that Harker students have volunteered with the Authority. In 2017 and 2018, the group worked at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. This year, the students worked to remove debris along the Mayfair Ranch Trail at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Led by Open Space Authority staff and volunteers, the students worked on widening a 1.25 mile-long section of trail and making it safer for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.

“To get these young adults involved with this early is a massive thing,” said Andy Burnside, Lead Open Space Technician, “It gives them ownership… it gives them a big main drive on why they should protect and enjoy this open space… it turns them into advocates.”

Sara, one of the participating students, shared how the work gave important perspective. “Nowadays because of the rise of technology, our generation is a lot more invested in their cell phones and such, and letting us get out into the environment just lets us be grateful for what we have as well as bonding with other people and appreciating our environment around us.”

IG thumbnail playRead more about this service day here, and check out this video to watch energetic student interviews!

We’re grateful for this partnership and proud of all these students for giving their time to care for open space!

Planning and Design Underway for Llagas Creek Bridge Crossing to Provide Public Access to Blair Ranch

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We have kicked off the planning and design process for the first phase of expanded public access at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve! Once complete, this phase will provide unprecedented visitor access to the former Blair Ranch portion of the preserve.

Blair Ranch is an 847-acre section of Rancho Cañada del Oro that was protected in 2008. The current phase of expanded public access will connect the preserve’s existing Llagas Creek Loop Trail to a newly-installed bridge over Llagas Creek. Once across the bridge, visitors will be able to explore the property's mosaic of grasslands and oak woodlands, with beautiful views of the eastern Santa Cruz Mountains.

Blair Video Check out the Blair Ranch project page to learn more and get involved in the planning and design process. Watch this video to get a glimpse of Blair Ranch and future public access!

You can also sign up for our event calendar to learn about docent-led activities, future open access days, and volunteer stewardship events.

Who Am I?

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I am a semi-parasitic plant that attaches to other plants with tube-like “roots” to take their mineral nutrients and water for myself. This eventually kills the host plants, but I'm not all bad! My white berries are a food source for some wildlife, and many small animals nest in my mass of branches. Who am I?

Art & Nature: A New Year’s Gathering

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Saturday, January 4, 2019
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Forager Tasting Room & Eatery, 420 S. 1st Street, San Jose

Join the Open Space Authority and Peninsula Open Space Trust for a fun New Year’s event in downtown San Jose! Enjoy live music and beautiful art while connecting with other people who care about nature in the South Bay, and celebrate our recent conservation success in Coyote Valley! We will be joined by several incredible local artists and writers, including Obi Kaufmann and Edward Rooks, who were both highlighted in last month's Artists of Coyote Valley feature. The event is free and open to all!


Vacancies on the Open Space Authority's Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee

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Do you love nature and numbers? Do you believe open space lands are essential to community health and well-being? If so, the Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee might be the perfect volunteer role for you! This seven-member committee provides public oversight for all funds collected and allocated by Measure Q. Each member contributes unique talents including an understanding of budgets and audit reports.  

Learn More

Coyote Valley: A Legacy for Future Generations

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Last month, the San Jose City Council unanimously approved the permanent protection of 937 acres of open space in North Coyote Valley through an innovative partnership between the Open Space Authority, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and the City of San Jose. This landmark conservation transaction is a victory for permanently protecting wildlife habitat, natural floodplains, and water resources and builds a climate resilient future for the people of San Jose and the surrounding South Bay region.

Learn more about this monumental conservation action in last month's special Coyote Valley newsletter.

Learn More

Growing Into the Future: Veggielution’s “Roots Down” Program, San Jose

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This spring, San Jose-based community farm Veggielution launched “Roots Down,” a land use planning process, to develop a long-term strategic plan and conceptual design for the use of their site at Emma Prusch Farm Park. This program, funded in part by $75,040 from the Open Space Authority’s Grant Program is collecting feedback from the community in order to better serve current and future visitors.

See what Veggielution has been up to on our blog!

Learn More

Who Am I? Answer


I am the Pacific Mistletoe, just one of 1,300 species of mistletoe! My scientific name, Phoradendron, means “thief of the tree” in Greek. Happy Holidays from this seasonal symbol!

Photo Credits

Holiday Card Animals - Obi Kaufmann
Sierra Vista - Derek Neumann, Authority Staff
Harker Service Day - Annamarie Pilon, Authority Staff
Blair Ranch - Matt Chesebrough, Authority Volunteer
Mistletoe - Authority Archives
Kestrel Painting - Edward Rooks
Coyote Valley Trail - Nicole Gittleson
North Coyote Valley - Derek Neumann, Authority Staff
Veggielution Concept Illustration - Veggielution

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