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June 2021

Open Space Authority Celebrates Pride Month

Resolution Declares Open Spaces Are Welcoming, Inclusive Outdoor Spaces for All

Double rainbow over golden hills and dark blue skyNature is a sanctuary for humans in a stressed and challenged world. Nature is a place for peaceful contemplation and connection when it’s hard to find elsewhere. Nature is a place of comfort and acceptance in an increasingly binary, polarized, and divided nation. This past year as we experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw tremendous public desire and demand by Santa Clara County’s diverse communities for access to nearby parks and open spaces for all the physical and mental benefits that time in nature provides.

As a public land conservation agency dedicated to connecting everyone throughout its jurisdiction to nature, the Authority recognizes that members of marginalized and underrepresented communities, including the LGBTQI+ community, may feel unwelcome or unsafe in public outdoor spaces, including open space preserves and urban open spaces. The Authority thereby recognizes and honors the month of June as Pride month – a time to honor and promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer, intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans. On May 27, 2021, the Authority’s Board of Directors passed a Resolution celebrating Pride Month and committing the agency to creating safe, welcoming, and inclusive outdoor spaces for all, including for the LGBTQI+ Community.

“Santa Clara's nature preserves teach us about respect, interconnectedness, and healing,” said Director Shay Franco-Clausen, Vice-Chairperson of the Authority’s Board of Directors. “As an Afro-Latina Lesbian woman and LGBTQ-elected figure, I'm proud to hold space for people like me to find solace and strength in our natural landscapes, just as I've done since I was a child growing up here. The rise in violence and dehumanization against our community means we need more safe spaces than ever. If nature preserves are going to continue to be meaningful and relevant in our future, it will be because we have done the necessary work of inclusion, today. Santa Clara's one-of-a-kind, special ecosystems remind us of what it means to be human."

Belonging is a universal desire and we all seek places where we feel we belong and are accepted. When we feel safe and accepted and that we are part of something larger than ourselves, that is when our respective contributions and potential are unleashed. Many people who identify as LGBTQI+ have a special bond with nature and a strong affinity to environmental protection, environmental justice, and social justice. Throughout history, nature has been a welcoming refuge for so many from experiences of bias and rejection in greater society. I found such a welcome community in Gay and Lesbian Sierrans (GLS), an official activity section of the Sierra Club. As a young, environmental professional, I served for many years as a Sierra Club GLS hike leader and chaired the San Francisco Bay Chapter’s GLS Governance Committee. GLS provided an environment of belonging and a place where I could be myself. My experiences with GLS built my self-confidence that I could be a leader of impact in the field of conservation and environmental protection. Today, there are numerous GLS sections in Sierra Club Chapters across the state and nation, including the Loma Prieta Chapter (Peninsula), San Francisco Bay Chapter (Rainbow Sierrans) and the Angeles Chapter in Southern California, that are connecting LGBTQI+ identified people to nature and to opportunities to make a difference in protecting the natural world.

One of my mentors, heroes and fellow GLS members was Bob Walker, a gay man who became Chair of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club. Bob was an accomplished and self-taught nature photographer who documented and chronicled the threats to open space in the East Bay. He used his amazing photography to raise awareness about the importance of protecting natural areas from urban sprawl. Bob taught me much about the importance of open space to sustainable communities, of employing strategic land acquisition, policy, and advocacy to protect threatened open space, and about connecting people to nature through regional trails. But most of all, he taught me the power of beauty and connection to shape public opinion and change the hearts and minds of policy makers toward protecting irreplaceable open spaces. One of the greatest honors of my life was working closely with Bob to name a regional trail and ridge (Bob Walker Regional Trail / Bob Walker Ridge) after him in East Bay Regional Park District’s Morgan Territory Regional Preserve before he died of AIDS in 1992.

So no matter who you are, or what your race, ethnicity, nationality, identity, or orientation is, know that nature is there for you and that you are welcome in Open Space Authority preserves, because these special natural places belong to everyone.


Best regards,

Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager

READ: When I Am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver

Segmented color bar OSA

Silicon Valley PRIDE, the largest PRIDE organization in the South Bay, is hosting a hiking series to kick off PRIDE month. Hiking with PRIDE will be held once a month in June, July, and August, with the kickoff at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. “Silicon Valley PRIDE feels it is important to engage the community in healthy activities throughout the year,” says Nicole Altamirano, Chief Executive Officer of Silicon Valley PRIDE. “Being able to be out and enjoy nature is a great way to bring the community together.”

Conservation of Coyote Valley Gaining Momentum

To continue the momentum of protecting Coyote Valley for years to come, the Open Space Authority is now managing two new properties in Mid-Coyote Valley in partnership with Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST).

Green Coyote Valley under blue sky with clouds

In March 2021, POST purchased two properties, which span 271 acres across the valley floor. Shortly after the purchase, the Authority took on management of both properties for POST. Containing critical habitat, these properties provide ample opportunities for restoration helping to expand a protected greenbelt for wildlife between the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range, bringing us one step closer to achieving Coyote Valley’s conservation goals.

“These acquisitions bring us that much closer to fulfilling our vision of a protected landscape linkage between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range,” said Linda Kwong, Real Property Specialist at the Authority. “Coyote Valley is crucial to the wildlife of this area, and POST’s purchase of these properties along Fisher Creek enables us to work on restoring and enhancing this important corridor.”

These acquisitions are yet another important step in protecting Coyote Valley for future generations as they tie into a variety of public access opportunities and events, including an exciting three-part educational webinar series premiering later this year. To receive updates about the webinar series, be sure to sign up for our Master Plan interest list. The Authority looks forward to leading the continued restoration and protection of this vibrant landscape.

Read more about these important acquisitions here.

Summer in the Preserves

Rolling golden hills under blue skySummer 2021 may feel a bit more special than most, and what better way to enjoy it than celebrating what’s been here for us throughout these uncertain times: our open spaces!

As California's economy reopens on June 15th, vaccinations rise, and COVID restrictions decrease, the anticipation and excitement for this summer are mounting. While we highly recommend exercising safety and caution in all activities you participate in over the next few months, we are so excited to welcome you to in-person events again, so we can continue providing resources and outlets for people who need it most.

In June, the Authority is hosting a variety of events that encourage you to get outside and appreciate what nature has to offer, including Love Letters to Mother Earth, and a Walking After Work event series throughout the month at Laguna Seca. And if you’re not yet comfortable with in-person activities, our virtual programs are continuing in full force with a Virtual Exploration of Ulistac Natural Area and an educational presentation about local reptiles. Check-out our events page for more details and registration information and, if you haven’t already, sign up for our event calendar to be the first to hear about our future events.

We wish you all a safe and happy summer. See you on the trails!

Read more about our summer plans here!

When the Sun Sets, a New One Rises

Dear Open Space Friends and Family, 

2016_SV OSP__DSC3349_May 22, 2016-1-1

It has been my greatest honor to share the Open Space Authority's news and events with you the past six years. From fun environmental events to exciting acquisitions, you have been there with me to celebrate and enjoy nature all along the way.

I am saddened to announce that I will be leaving the Authority soon but very happy to share that Charlotte Graham has joined the team as Communications Specialist. Please keep an eye out for next month's Open Space Outlook when she sends her first newsletter.

I hope you continue to come discover all that Santa Clara Valley's open spaces have to offer!

Alisha-ManigliaWith gratitude,

Alisha Maniglia

Who Am I?

Who am I? Close-up of yellow petals

I am a cheerful-looking wildflower that blooms in late spring. I can grow up to a foot tall and I produce many flowers that consist of five bright yellow petals surrounding centers full of stamen. My flowers open in the late afternoon sun. Who am I?

World Environment Day: Love Letters to Mother Earth

Sunrise over golden hillside and rocks

Saturday, June 5
8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve
550 Palm Ave.
Morgan Hill, CA

Ulistac Natural Area
4901 Lick Mill Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA

In honor of World Environment Day, you are invited to come and write a message to Mother Earth! We will have writing stations at two locations – Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve and Ulistac Natural Area – with everything you need for you to write your letters. (Or feel free to bring your own writing supplies if you prefer!) Thank Mother Earth for all that the natural world provides us, or share your hopes for the future of nature in your own neighborhood. Drop your letter in our magic mailboxes to send these thoughts right to her, special delivery! Your message may even be featured on our social media!

No registration necessary - just show up and write your letter!

Volunteer Stewardship Day at Laguna Seca!

Aerial image of green and golden North Coyote Valley landscape

Saturday, June 19
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
North Coyote Valley Conservation Area

Join us for our first public in-person volunteer Land Stewards event since 2020! Volunteers will clear up fencing along the interior of the Laguna Seca wetland, a part of the North Coyote Valley Conservation Area. Taking out this fence will remove barriers to wildlife in the area and help us restore the last and largest seasonal wetland in Santa Clara Valley! Sign-ups are limited to ensure adequate social distancing.


Warm Weather Tips for a Fun and Safe Summer in Nature!

Trail kiosk at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve with trail and golden hills

Longer days and warmer weather make summer one of the best times of year to enjoy the outdoors! 

Before heading outside this season, review our warm weather outdoor tips to help you have safe and enjoyable experiences in nature all summer long.

Here are just a few:

  • Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and breathable clothing.
  • Carry extra water. Drinking water is not available in the preserves. Take frequent sips (even if you don’t feel thirsty).
  • Bring snacks/drinks with electrolytes to replenish salt lost through sweating.
  • Check conditions before you go. Due to red flag warnings, trails may close due to high fire danger creating unsafe conditions. Check our website or Facebook page for notices about trail closures.
  • Protect and respect our wildlife by leaving pets at home. Pets are not allowed at any Open Space Authority preserves, and for their safety should never be left in the car while hiking.
  • Before heading out, tell family or friends where you are going and when you expect to return. Cell coverage is unreliable in the preserves.

Summer Safety Tips

Who Am I? Answer

Blazing Star wildflower - SD - 05-06-2014

I am the Lindley's blazing star wildflower! Another name for me is evening star, because my blossoms open late in the afternoon and evening. I grow well along rocky outcroppings, such as along the trails in Sierra Vista and Rancho Cañada del Oro open space preserves. As a late season wildflower, you are likely to spot me from May through June.

SVIS - Blazing Star - J.Pederson - 04-13-19 - 2


Photo Credits

Rainbow - Agustin Gunawan
Shappell - Stephen Joseph
Sierra Vista Grasslands - David Mauk, Authority Staff
Alisha Maniglia - Authority archives
Blazing Star - S.D., Authority Volunteer
Coyote Ridge Sunrise - David Mauk, Authority Staff
North Coyote Valley - Jordan Plotsky
Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve Trailhead - Derek Neumann, Authority Staff

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |