Not rendering correctly? View this email as a web page here.


October 2021

The Fall Crawl

tarantulas mating play

It’s tarantula mating season – just in time for the season of all things spooky! Did you know...tarantulas' eyes are on top of their bodies, but they hunt things below them by sensing vibrations and moisture?

Click below to learn more about these fascinating creatures, which just might make these creepy-crawlies seem a bit less creepy.

Read More

Seven Reasons to Watch Our Discovering Coyote Valley Webinar Series

Graphic: Discovering Coyote Valley over green landscape

Didn’t get a chance to watch our three-part Discovering Coyote Valley webinar series live? It’s not too late to join in on the fun and learn about the past, present, and future of this landscape.

Click below to learn why you should watch the recordings and get involved in planning Coyote Valley for perpetuity.

Read More

Urban Open Space Corner:
JUNTOS Initiative

Child hula hooping at parkIn December 2020, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) received a $100,000 grant from the Open Space Authority’s Urban Grant Program for their project, the JUNTOS Initiative. This initiative, supported by partnerships between healthcare providers and park and environmental organizations, is focused on making the outdoors more inclusive and accessible to the community. As October celebrates Binational Health Month, the SCCPHD has some outdoor events on the horizon.

The JUNTOS Initiative - Juntos meaning “together” in Spanish - will support the community by providing free local opportunities for children and their families to explore nature, promote environmental stewardship and urban agriculture, and address social inequities that prevent people from accessing the outdoors.

With the grant from the Authority’s Urban Grant Program, and in partnership with the City of San José, Veggielution, Santa Clara County Parks, Santa Clara County Public Health teams, Anthem Blue Cross, and providers at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, this program will offer three components: Quarterly Park Activities, Capitanes del Bosque (a youth volunteer program), and Promotores (a parent leadership program). These components are designed to provide access to the health benefits of nature, as well as foster environmental leadership in participants.

“Our goal is to provide as many different types of outdoor activities and experiences as possible to our participants,” said Olivia Nuñez, Health Planning Specialist at SCCPHD. “We are excited to see families and children enjoying nature and having new opportunities to explore the outdoors and become community leaders. With our new youth and parent leadership components, it's so special to see the bonds that form between families and with the pediatricians at park activities."

The JUNTOS Initiative is planned to last three years – the first year involving logistical planning and quarterly park activities, and in the second year, implementing the Promotores and Capitanes Del Bosque components. JUNTOS is set to begin with the quarterly park activities this October, and will kick-off with a showcase of the program during Binational Health Week.

The Open Space Authority is proud to support programs like JUNTOS that promote the health benefits of nature and expand equitable access to them.

Read the full article here.

Community-focused Climate Resilience Project Receives $16 Million

Aerial view of Laguna Seca with San Jose in distanceIn September 2021, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the Authority) received multiple funding awards totaling over $16 million from the State of California for the protection of North Coyote Valley open space lands. $6 million in funding comes from an Urban Flood Protection grant from the California Natural Resources Agency, and $10 million has been allocated by the California Legislature in SB-170, the Budget Act of 2021.

The combined $16 million from the State will go towards the purchase of the 376-acre Laguna Seca property in North Coyote Valley from the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), which purchased the land in 2019. The lands comprise one of the Bay Area's last remaining undeveloped valley floors, including 300 acres of wetland, critical floodplain, and aquifer recharge areas.

“For over 40 years, the Coyote Valley has been called a last chance landscape, due to the ongoing threat of development that has hung over it. By permanently preserving these North Coyote Valley lands as open space, we are shifting away from sprawl development and towards investing in nature as infrastructure to help us combat climate change,” said Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager of the Open Space Authority.

The Authority plans to implement a landscape level wetland and riparian habitat restoration project in Coyote Valley to reduce the likelihood of severe downstream flooding in San José. This can help protect the City's most disadvantaged communities from repeated displacement and property damage due to flooding.

To help achieve this restoration vision, the Authority also received a $350,000 grant from the state’s Wildlife Conservation Board in August 2021 to study, invite input, and determine restoration design concepts for the Coyote Valley through an extensive master planning process. While the Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan has many goals, the primary goal is enhancing and restoring wildlife habitat, creating ecological connectivity, and protecting critical water resources to support water supply and enhance floodplains to increase climate resilience for surrounding communities.

The community-based Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan process will focus on interconnection, inclusion, and resilience, while designing with nature. During this process, communities from across Santa Clara Valley can learn about opportunities for future public access and education, wildlife connectivity, habitat protection and restoration for listed species, floodplain restoration, and how nature can help increase community resilience in the face of climate change.

Read the full article here.

The Equity Lens: October 2021

Child running across green field at parkThe Open Space Authority is committed to the values of inclusion and equity in every facet of our work. We recognize this is a life-long effort, without a beginning or an end. It includes short-term and long-term goals, and our first step is listening to the community and reflecting upon our own practices and systems of work. From here, we will reflect on the ways that we engage in larger systems and structures within our community, both positive and negative, to identify and inform meaningful actions and change.

While we are actively working to improve our practices and increase equitable access to nature, 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.

Who Am I?

Blurry image of tall trees

I am a native tree named for my huge, five-lobed leaves that are seven to 14 inches in diameter! If autumn temperatures get cold enough, my leaves turn yellow or reddish yellow before dropping off for the winter. My seeds provide food for rodents and birds, while elk and deer eat my leaves, twigs, and saplings. Who am I?

Open Space Bird Bonanza: Cast Your Vote!

Bird Bracket Full Final

Last spring, we had a blast sharing Open Space Flower Frenzy with you... Now get ready for BIRD BONANZA!

Did you know that fall is one of the best times of year for birdwatching? So, join us this month for a birding-themed bracket to discover which species is the true fan favorite – while learning about native California birds! Every week on the Open Space Authority's social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), we’ll host several face-offs between two birds, along with fun facts about each species. Vote for your favorite, and see which species soars to the next round!

At the end of the series, we’ll crown this year’s winner, the 2021 FEATHERED FAVORITE!

You do not need a Facebook account to participate. Check the bracket page below to cast your vote each round!

View the Bracket!

Creepy Crawlies

Earthworm in soil

Friday, October 22  |  10:00 a.m.
Zoom Webinar

Join Educational Program Coordinator Michelle for a virtual presentation that will dive deep into the soil for a closer look at decomposers. These creepy crawlies come in all shapes and sizes and play a vital role during the spooky fall season that helps prepare the way for the blossoms of spring. Learn about the fungus, bacteria, invertebrates, and more that keep our soils healthy!


New Web Page!


Are you passionate about public access, habitat restoration, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife protection at our preserves? We need your help! Over the next few years the Authority will call upon communities across Santa Clara Valley to share your hopes and dreams for the future of Coyote Valley. Visit our brand-new web page to learn how together we are planning a Coyote Valley for all.

Visit the new web page

Vacancies on the Citizens' Advisory Committee and Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee

Sunset over Sierra Vista

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

If you love nature and numbers, the Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee is 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

Green and yellow bigleaf maple leaves

I am Acer macrophyllum, the bigleaf maple, or Oregon maple! Bigleaf maples are the largest maple species in North America. They typically reach around 50-80 feet at maturity, although some can grow much taller. This tree is one of the Santa Clara Valley’s most colorful signs of fall. Find bigleaf maples on Open Space Authority preserves near streams and creeks, as they prefer rich, moist soils.

Photo Credits

Tarantula - Cait Hutnik
Coyote Valley - Derek Neumann

Hula hooping at park - Santa Clara County Public Health Department
Laguna Seca - Derek Neumann
Child running - Lanny Nguyen Photography
Bigleaf maple - Authority Archives
Earthworm - Authority Archives
Laguna Seca watercolor - Obi Kaufmann
Sierra Vista sunset - Annelyse Dok

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |