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.

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 from 5-6:30pm we will be hosting an entirely new virtual version of Nature’s Inspiration will capture the excitement and spirit of our traditional annual celebration while protecting the health and wellbeing 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.

Join this community celebration and enjoy live musical performances from famed musicians including Grammy Award-winning Ozomatli, guest appearances by prominent local leaders, and with a sponsorship or $150 ticket purchase receive a delicious pie from Pescadero’s Pie Ranch or San Jose’s The Giving Pies. We are also offering entirely new sponsor benefits including a doorstop visit from a board or staff member to deliver a care package to help you enjoy the event from home.

Our Nature’s Inspiration honoree is Valentin Lopez, the highly respected Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. We celebrate Chairman Lopez’ exemplary leadership of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band since 2003. We applaud his tireless dedication to bringing international awareness to the plight of Indigenous peoples and advocacy for environmental stewardship of sacred land.

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 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 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 plight of Indigenous peoples and advocacy for environmental stewardship of sacred land. Indigenous peoples are a part of our diverse community and among the strongest, most powerful, and most effective allies for the environmental movement.

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


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

Jim Wickett and Magdalena Yesil
Laura Wells

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

Barbara Bessey
Martha Cohn
Kaia Eakin and Bryan Beck
Peter and Beverly Lipman
Susan Rosenberg
Diane Talbert and Rodger Rickard
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Jessica Rose Agramonte and James Principato
Steve Abbors
Tamara Alvarado
The Alvarado Family
Marilyn and William Bauriedel
Steve Betando
Craig Britton and Carleen Bruins
Matthew Burrows
Stephen Boles
Paul Davis and Jade Thuma
Jack and Rebecca Herman
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, Santa Clara County Supervisor, and Mary Hughes
Lynn Stegner
Carolyn Tognetti
Nancy & Bart Wescott
Ciddy Wordell
Valley Water

Phil and Mary Bobel
Phyllis M. Browning
Edith and Jonathan Eddy
Linda and Jerome Elkind
Ron Erskine
Megan Fluke
Anne & Steve Galli
Linda Gass and Rob Steiner
Herb and Norma Grench
Gary and Patricia Hedden
Don Horsley, San Mateo County Supervisor
Sudhanshu and Lori Jain
Sergio Jimenez, San Jose Councilmember
Arthur Keller
Christopher Manning and Laura Salcido
Larry Klein and Milbrey McLaughlin
Bill and Kathy Korbholz
Jerry Hearn and Rebecca Reynolds
David Loeb
Andrea Mackenzie
Betsy Morgenthaler
Leslie and Hy Murveit
Jack and Virginia Nadeau

David Oppenheimer
Mary and Ward Paine
Smita Patel
Daniel Quinn & Helen Quinn
Curt Riffle and Karen Scussel
Robert and Elisabeth Rix
David Simon and Lynn Gordon
David Simon & Lynn Gordon
Roberta Saxon
Janet and Victor Schachter
Joan Sherlock
Sharon and Clinton Snyder
Sharon Snyder
Carolyn Straub and Steve McHenry
Charlie Tomberg
George E. Tucker & Zoe Kersteen-Tucker
Don Weden
René Welti, ECHO Rails & Trails Swiss Alps Guided Tours
Mariquita West
Terry Watt and Mark Karwowski
Will Wyman & Michelle Wyman
Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
OCI Environmental Justice

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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