Announcing Our 2020 Nature’s Inspiration Honoree

Our 17th annual fundraiser, Nature’s Inspiration, is going to be different this year and we are ready for a celebration that lives up to its name.

On Sunday, September 27 we will be hosting an entirely new virtual version of Nature’s Inspiration that will capture the excitement and spirit of our traditional annual celebration while protecting the health and well-being of our community during this COVID-19 health crisis.

Our community and the local natural landscapes, farmlands, and parks we protect together are reasons to celebrate—even more so in this difficult time. We continue to be committed to celebrating those who have dedicated their lives to protecting the natural environment and connecting people to the outdoors.

We’ll enjoy musical performances from famed musicians including Neil Young, Ozomatli and Indigenous vocalist Calina Lawrence. Prominent local leaders will join us, including Muwekma Chairwoman Charlene Nijmeh, and our Master of Ceremonies County Supervisor Joe Simitian. Every sponsorship and $150 ticket purchase includes a delicious pie from Pie Ranch or The Giving Pies that you can enjoy from home during the event.

About Our Honoree: Valentin Lopez, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman

Our Nature’s Inspiration honoree, Valentin Lopez, has served as the highly respected Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band since 2003. He also serves as the Board President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust. He has dedicated himself to restoring Native American knowledge and ensuring Amah Mutsun history is accurately told.

“Chairman Lopez and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band have been crucial partners in our work to protect Juristac, a sacred Native American site and 6,400-acre major wildlife corridor in Santa Clara County, from a sand and gravel mine,” said Alice Kaufman, Legislative Advocacy Director. “Chairman Lopez has a deep and heartfelt commitment to the natural world, to the plants and animals and the wide-open spaces in this region. We’re honored to be partnering with them in this work.” 

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band is composed of approximately 600 people who are direct descendants of several Mutsun-speaking tribal groups dispersed to the San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz missions. The Amah Mutsun Land Trust, established in 2013, is the vehicle by which the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band is returning to the lands, knowledge, and practices of their ancestors. The Amah Mutsun Tribe’s vision is one that will ring true for many Green Foothills supporters: “a future where our people and all people may once again drink safely from clean and clear flowing waters; hunt from healthy herds of elk and deer; harvest salmon and abalone from resilient fisheries; behold and pray to a self-sustaining population of condors and eagles soaring the ridges and valleys; witness the sky darken with geese rising off our healthy lakes and wetlands; rest assured that those who have passed may rest in peace; and know our connection to land because we live connected to the land.” 

Every sponsorship and ticket sale will include an optional financial gift to the Amah Mutsun Land Trust’s Native Stewardship Corps intern program for tribal youth. Through this summer program, high school and college age tribal youth are provided healthy employment, working work side by side with their older cousins to study the Amah Mutsun language, culture, and ceremonial practives as well as traditional ethnobotany. It is a great way to introduce younger tribe members to the Land Trust while also providing exposure to a variety of career and academic paths.

We are honored to celebrate Chairman Lopez’s exemplary leadership as the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman and his dedication to bringing international awareness to the plight of Native Americans and advocacy for environmental stewardship of sacred land. Native Americans are a part of our diverse community and among the strongest, most powerful, and most effective allies for the environmental movement.

What You Can Do

I want to thank members of our community who have already pledged their Nature’s Inspiration’s sponsorship for this year. This is a time of economic hardship for many of us and Green Foothills will not be immune to that impact. The reality is that Nature’s Inspiration underwrites about 25% of Green Foothills’ annual operating budget and our organization depends on funds raised from this event.

The impact of (and reasons to support) Green Foothills is clear. We are making progress toward a vision of the region where wildlife thrive, everyone has natural beauty to enjoy, and communities live in balance with nature. Our work is more important than ever. Since 1962, over 183,000 acres have been permanently protected as a final outcome of our advocacy. In the past 5 years, Green Foothills has engaged in dozens of land use issues, including 11 successful ballot measures, resulting in more than 3,100 acres of open space, farmland, and natural resources protected or positively impacted in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Our calls to action in support of our advocacy positions led to the submission of over 6,000 comment letters and almost 9,000 petitions signatures by our supporters to decision makers. The graduation of 159 local civic leaders from our Community Advocates Leadership Academy broadened our network of change makers championing the natural environment as part of their work.

To sponsor this year’s Nature’s Inspiration, please fill out this pledge form. Tickets will be available for purchase in July.

We can’t wait to celebrate this unique experience with you virtually from the comfort of your home. Thank you for your support of Green Foothills annual celebration, Nature’s Inspiration!

Introducing Our Host Committee

I want to extend a special thanks to our Host Committee for their many contributions and willingness to connect with other community leaders who have the resources to help ensure our Nature’s Inspiration 2020 is a success.

Blanca, Jaime, Elisa Marina and Teresa Alvarado

Tamara Alvarado | Capulli Tonalehqueh Fire Keeper and Shortino Family Foundation Executive Director

Matt Burrows | Green Foothills Board Member

Joseph W. Cotchett | Attorney, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP (2019 Nature’s Inspiration Honoree) 

Trina Hineser | Land Trust of Santa Clara Valley Executive Director

Reed Holderman | Amah Mutsun Land Trust Board Member and Former Executive Director of Sempervirens Fund

David Loeb | Founder and former Executive Director of Bay Nature Institute (2015 Nature’s Inspiration Honoree) 

Margaret and Jamis MacNiven | Owners of Bucks Restaurant in Woodside 

Jeff Segall | Green Foothills Board Vice President, Joan Sherlock | Green Foothills Board President

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