Nature’s Inspiration

A photo of Juristac, a critical 6,500 wildlife corridor and sacred lands for the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. We are working to protect Juristac against a sand and gravel mine with Chairman Lopez, the Amah Mutsun, and the community.

On Sunday, September 27 we hosted our first virtual version of Nature’s Inspiration.  We honored the incredible Valentin Lopez, the highly respected Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band for his exemplary leadership of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band since 2003. We celebrated his tireless dedication to bringing international awareness to the experience of Indigenous peoples and advocating for sacred land, including Juristac in Santa Clara County.

We enjoyed musical performances from famed musicians Raul Pacheco and Ozomatli, Neil Young, and indigenous volcalist Calina Lawrence. Prominent local leaders joined us including Muwekma Ohlone Tribes of the San Francisco Bay Area Chairwoman Charlene Nijmeh and Vice Chairwoman Monica Arellano, and our Master of Ceremonies County Supervisor Joe Simitian. A portion of the event proceeds were donated to the Amah Mutsun Land Trust.

We look forward to celebrating with you again in 2021. Have someone who is deserving of the Nature’s Inspiration award? Be on the lookout for our invitation to nominate next year’s nominee for more details.

2020 Honoree: Valentin Lopez, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman

Photo by Richard Morgenstein

Valentin Lopez has served as Chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band since 2003, and the President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust since its inception. Chairman Lopez is a Native American Advisor to the University of California, Office of the President on issues related to repatriation. He is also a Native American Advisor to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

Chairman Lopez has dedicated himself to restoring tribal Indigenous knowledge and ensuring Amah Mutsun history is accurately told. Since 2017, we have worked in solidarity with Val and the Amah Mutsun tribe to protect Juristac, a sacred site and major wildlife corridor in Santa Clara County, from a sand and gravel mine.

“Chairman Lopez and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band have been crucial in the campaign 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.”

Read more about Chairman Valentin Lopez here.

5% of sponsorships and ticket sales will be donated to the Amah Mutsun Land Trust’s Native Stewardship Corps 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 ceremony 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 experience of Indigenous peoples and advocating for sacred land, including Juristac in Santa Clara County.


O’Brien Family Charitable Fund
Facebook, Inc.
Law Offices Of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy

Ruth and Ben Hammett
Laura Wells
Jim Wickett and Magdalena Yesil

Ranae DeSantis
Peter and Sue LaTourrette
Dean Morton
Lisa and Edward Munro
Nancy and Greg Serrurier
Zanker Recycling

Brandenburg Family Foundation
Franklin P. Johnson, Jr. and Catherine Johnson
Barbara Bessey
Martha Cohn
Kaia Eakin and Bryan Beck
Peter and Beverly Lipman
Susan Rosenberg
Diane Talbert and Rodger Rickard
Maxine Terner and Keith Weber
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
Peninsula Open Space Trust
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Anonymous (2)
Steve Abbors
Jessica Rose Agramonte and James Principato
Tamara Alvarado
The Alvarado Family
Marilyn and William Bauriedel
Steve Beck and Jane Baxter
Steve Betando
Stephen Boles
Craig Britton and Carleen Bruins
Matthew Burrows
Paul Davis and Jade Thuma
Maryann Moise Derwin, Portola Valley Mayor
Ralph Eschenback
Sarvenaz Fahimi
Mark and Lisa Fischer-Colbrie
Rob and Susan Flint
Larry and Penny Hassett
Jack and Rebecca Herman

Alice Kaufman and Scot Griffin
Linda and Sid Liebes
Margaret and Jamis MacNiven
Paul and Antje Newhagen
Nancy Reyering and Marty Walker
Katie Sanborn and Barbara Wright
Jeff Segall and Helen He
Margo Sensenbrenner
Lubab Sheet and Jonathan Davis
Peter and Diane Siemens
Joe Simitian, County Supervisor, and Mary Hughes
Lynn Stegner and Family
Carolyn Tognetti
Nancy and Bart Westcott
Ciddy Wordell
California Nativescapes, LLC
SRT Consultants
Valley Water

Anonymous (3)
Phil and Mary Bobel
Allan and Marilyn Brown
Phyllis M. Browning
Helen and Dan Chapman
Michelle Domocol
Edith and Jonathan Eddy
Linda and Jerome Elkind
Sandy Emerson
Ron Erskine
Megan Fluke
Anne and Steve Galli
Linda Gass and Rob Steiner
Herb and Norma Grench
Jerry Hearn and Rebecca Reynolds
Gary and Patricia Hedden
Senator Jerry Hill
Don Horsley, County Supervisor
Sudhanshu and Lori Jain
Sergio Jimenez, San Jose Councilmember
Arthur Keller
Larry Klein and Milbrey McLaughlin
Bill and Kathy Korbholz
David Loeb
Harold Luft
Andrea Mackenzie
Christopher Manning and Laura Salcido
Betsy Morgenthaler
Leslie and Hy Murveit
Jack and Virginia Nadeau

David Oppenheimer
Jane Packard
Mary and Ward Paine
Smita Patel
Raul Peralez, San Jose Councilmember
Emily Renzel
Adolph Rosekrans
Daniel and Helen Quinn
Curt Riffle and Karen Scussel
Robert and Elisabeth Rix
Lennie and Mike Roberts
Roberta Saxon
Janet and Victor Schachter
Kathryn Schmidt
Joan Sherlock
David Simon and Lynn Gordon
Sharon and Clinton Snyder
Jo-Ann and Rod Sockolov
Rene Spring, Morgan Hill Councilmember, and Mark Hoffman
Carolyn Straub and Steve McHenry
Taube Family
Charlie Tomberg
Timothy Tosta
George E. Tucker and Zoe Kersteen-Tucker
Don Weden
René Welti, ECHO Rails & Trails Swiss Alps Guided Tours
Mariquita West
Will and Michelle Wyman
OCI Environmental Justice
Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

Host Committee

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

Blanca, Jaime, Elisa Marina and Teresa Alvarado
Tamara Alvarado | Shortino Family Foundation Executive Director and Capulli Tonalehqueh Fire Keeper
Matt Burrows | Board Member, Green Foothills
Joseph W. Cotchett | Attorney, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP (2019 Nature’s Inspiration Honoree)
Trina Hineser | Executive Director, Land Trust of Santa Clara Valley
Reed Holderman | Amah Mutsun Land Trust Board Member
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
Joan Sherlock |  Board President, Green Foothills
Jeff Segall | Board Vice President, Green Foothills

Green Foothills has always stood for the things that matter most to me: protecting nature, making it available to all, and stopping inappropriate and poorly sited development. Life is better when there are natural places around to give us peace, inspiration, perspective, and yes, solace during troubled times. Green Foothills has a very long history of making sure these places continue to exist for everybody and I applaud them for their terrific work.

Reed Holderman

In my two decades as editor, then publisher, of Bay Nature magazine, I got to work with a wide variety of conservation organizations around the Bay Area. And I came away impressed with Green Foothills’ combination of effective advocacy on behalf of local open space and determination to participate in building a stronger and more diverse constituency for the local environment.

David Loeb

I support Green Foothills for the passion, courage and persistence they bring in protecting and defending our local lands and environment for future generations to come.  It is an honor to support this tremendous organization.

Joe Cotchett

I support and appreciate the mission and work of Green Foothills because they grasp the connection between protection of open space for native plants and animals and the protection of rights of indigenous people whose culture and spirituality is rooted in this land.

Elisa Marina Alvarado

I am grateful for the opportunities that Green Foothills opens up for sincere and organized acts of solidarity that collectively over time will result in change and movement. As a Chicana/Mexika mother and dancer, on the red road, GF inspires me to take action and center Mother Nature and First Peoples in this struggle to retain land as free and sacred.

Tamara Alvarado

It is my experience that Green Foothills is passionate about the preservation of open space.  Green Foothills has their finger on the pulse of key issues throughout the Bay Area and they support and collaborate with other organizations.

Trina Hineser

Honorary Hosts

Margaret Abe-Koga | Mountain View Mayor
Emily Beach | Burlingame Mayor
Larry Carr | Morgan Hill Councilmember
Christopher R. Clark | Mountain View Councilmember
Rick DeGolia | Atherton Mayor
Javed I. Ellahie | Monte Sereno Councilmember
Susan Ellenberg | Santa Clara County Supervisor
Carole Groom | San Mateo County Supervisor
Karen Holman | Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Director
Davina Hurt | Belmont Councilmember
Ellen Kamei | Mountain View Vice Mayor
Zoe Kersteen-Tucker | Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Director
Johnny Khamis | San Jose Councilmember
Yoriko Kishimoto | Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Director
Linda LeZotte | Santa Clara Valley Water District Director
Yvonne Martinez Beltran | Morgan Hill Mayor Pro Tempore
Lisa Matichak | Mountain View Councilmember
Ray Mueller | Menlo Park Councilmember
Kevin Mullin | California State Assemblymember
Bob Nuñez | Milpitas Vice Mayor
Dave Pine | San Mateo County Supervisor
Harvey Rarback | Half Moon Bay Councilmember
Nancy ReyeringPresident, San Mateo County Harbor District
Debbie Ruddock | Half Moon Bay Councilmember
Marico Sayoc | Los Gatos Councilmember
Joe Simitian | Santa Clara County Supervisor
Nancy Smith | Sunnyvale Vice Mayor
Rene Spring | Morgan Hill Councilmember
John L. Varela | Santa Clara Valley Water District Director
Bill Widmer | Atherton Councilmember

Past Honorees

Congresswoman Anna Eschoo

Joan Baez

Congresswoman Jackie Speier

Steve Abbors

Rue Mapp

Joseph W. Cotchett

Check Out Images from 2019!

Over 300 of our members and supporters joined us on September 22nd at Wickett Ranch to celebrate our 57-year legacy in honor of inspirational environmental advocate Joseph W. Cotchett. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2020!

Questions? For additional information about Nature’s Inspiration, please contact Justyne Schnupp (650.968.7243 x340, [email protected]).


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