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December 2020

2020 Holiday Card_Final

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
-William Shakespeare

Wishing you a happy holiday season from all of us at the Open Space Authority!

The Equity Lens: Moving Towards Equity, Inclusion

In response to the intolerable acts of violence and racial injustices against people of color, and the ongoing COVID-19 global health and climate crises, we at the Open Space Authority made a long-term commitment to inclusion and equity in every facet of our work. To work towards our larger goal, we began an initiative to first look outward and listen to the community, and then inward, to reflect on our current practices in the structure and procedures of the organization, and to identify opportunities to improve upon them.

L_Park & Play Martial Cottle-1We have a made it a top priority to step back and listen to the voices in the community that are sharing their experiences and value them as a resource to make meaningful and productive changes. As part of this effort, we asked our constituents on social media for any resources, information, and potential partners that will help us achieve our collective goals and make effective, well-informed decisions. This outreach provided many insights and recommendations for us to make our communications and content more accessible, like providing more general information and resources about enjoying the outdoors to break down barriers for those who may not already be involved in these kinds of activities.

Group of youth hiking - AB - 12-01-2011

From our constituents, we also learned of partners we could engage with to amplify their messages and improve our own. We worked with one identified organization, Hispanic Access Foundation, to do cross-promotions for Latino Conservation Week, a nationwide initiative that hosts programs and events to connect Latino communities with conservation. They assisted us in creating our own program and campaign for Latino Conservation Week, which included a bilingual nature walk and a week-long Instagram story series to highlight Latino environmental accounts and provide the community with information, resources, and tips for getting outside.

This summer, the Authority held a series of internal meetings to create space for staff to discuss the tragic events, define the behaviors that support or undermine inclusion, share experiences and ideas for improvement moving forward, and plan early steps in the agency-wide initiative to serve the whole community. As a result of these discussions, staff collaborated on creating and adding “Inclusion” as one of the agency’s core values, as a dedication to actively uncover and dismantle personal biases, engage in the community, honor the experiences of others, create opportunities for conservation leaders of all backgrounds, and more.

The Authority will be diving deeper into this work in 2021, working towards the creation of a dedicated plan that identifies how diversity, equity, and inclusion will impact and guide the Authority’s future work, internally and externally. Further, our Board of Directors felt it imperative to recognize Juneteenth, a day to commemorate the formal end of slavery in the United States, as an agency holiday and approved it during the Board Meeting on October 22nd.

While we are actively working to improve our practices and increase equitable access to nature, we are not there yet. We understand that this is not enough. There is much more to be done, and we want you to hold us accountable. Please reach out to us at, and let us know how we can improve. We represent you, the Santa Clara Valley community, and we want to hear your voices. We are working, and we are listening.

Community Connections - Ivette López

Community Connections highlights the many leaders, partners, and neighbors who make a difference in our community. This month we are featuring Ivette López, who works in Visitor Services for the US Fish & Wildlife Services, Pacific Southwest Region.

VS Training 2019As a child growing up in East San Jose, Ivette López visited local parks including nearby Alum Rock Park, and farther off National Parks on family trips. “Nature has always really been there for me. I feel lucky I had family who took me to get outdoors.”

A college geology class showed López she could turn her passion for the natural world into a career, and she did her first internship in community outreach with the Hispanic Access Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing underrepresented groups access to nature. Today she continues helping to connect people with nature in Visitor Services at the US Fish & Wildlife Service Pacific Southwest region, which includes California and parts of Nevada and Oregon. “We’re helping the next generation of conservationists," she says

SF Mission Dia de Los Muertos Nov 2019López names four principles that uphold her work in outdoor access: Justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. “We have a lot of beautiful resources (here in California), but they are not accessible to everyone, especially those that are low-income and otherwise not represented. This is my way of giving back, by engaging my community especially kids and families, and offering them opportunities they have never heard of.”

López says she values the work the Open Space Authority does to protect the Santa Clara Valley natural and working lands from urbanization, as well as by putting a friendly face on nature. “The first time I visited one of the Open Space Authority’s preserves, I was greeted with a smile by one of the Open Space Technicians. I felt so welcomed!”

López was instrumental in helping the Open Space Authority get more involved in Latino Conservation Week this past July, brainstorming ideas for virtual programs and connecting the Authority with contacts at Hispanic Access Foundation to promote the programs to a nationwide audience. This collaboration kicked off an ongoing partnership that has plans to connect even more people with nature in the Bay Area and beyond.

Heading into 2021, López looks forward to bringing the two organizations together to collaborate on a few different outreach events including their art and science-based Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Program and Latino Conservation Week 2021.

Read more of López's story here.

Who Am I?

SVIS - Golden eagle - Roberto Martinez - 2019 - 3-1

I am one of the largest birds in North America, with a wingspan of over 7 feet! You can often spot me by my flying pattern - I typically soar with my wings lifted into a slight “V” and my wingtip feathers spread like fingers. As an adult, I am dark brown with a golden sheen on the back of my head and neck. Who am I?

Open Space Wet Weather and Winter Hiking Tips


As temperatures cool down and the rainy season returns, it’s time to refamiliarize ourselves with outdoor winter safety! Wet weather brings green hills, amazing fungi, and amphibians - but also makes for muddy trails and slippery conditions.

Check out our downloadable list of wet weather and winter hiking tips to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable day in nature!

Winter Weather Tips

Celebrating Gratitude With the Open Space Authority Staff

thankful video thumbnail

Even in the midst of difficult times, we have so much to be grateful for here in the Santa Clara Valley. Beautiful natural landscapes, access to nature and nature’s benefits, diverse native plants and wildlife, communities that are passionate about preserving open space, local agriculture that provides us with food - the list goes on!

To celebrate this season of gratitude, we asked our team what they are thankful for. Hear what they had to say and get to know some of our staff and volunteers in this short video!

Watch the Video

Connecting Our Community: Vacancies on Citizens' Advisory Committee and Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee

kim gold crowned sparrow

Are you interested in facilitating community input to and from the Open Space Authority? The Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) serves to provide communications to the Board from the public, aid in fostering a positive public image of the Authority, and help educate the public about the Authority’s goals and accomplishments.

Learn More

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 committee provides public oversight for all funds collected and allocated by Measure Q. 

Learn More

Who Am I? Answer

SVIS - Golden eagle - Roberto Martinez - 2019 - 3-1-1

I am the Golden Eagle! These large raptors favor partially or completely open country, especially around mountains, hills, and cliffs. You can spot Golden Eagles on ALL Open Space Authority preserves, but your best chance is at Sierra Vista!

Photo Credits

Holiday Card Photos
Top Row: Ron Horii, David Mauk, Derek Neumann, Derek Neumann
Middle Row: John Weismuller, Bill Adams, Authority Archives, Derek Neumann
Bottom Row: Cait Hutnik, Derek Neumann, Authority Archives, Matt Chesebrough
Mother and Child at Martial Cottle - Santa Clara County Public Health Department
Youth Hiking - Authority Archives
Ivette López - Courtesy Photos
Golden Eagle - Roberto Martinez
Coyote Valley Rainy Season - Samsudin Kamis
Gold Crowned Sparrow - Kim Cabrera, Authority Volunteer

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |