eagle in flight

Announcing the Winners of Our 2023 Photo Contest

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Green Foothills 2023 Photo Contest! Hundreds of you sent beautiful, inspiring, and dazzling images of local nature, with so many outstanding entries that it was hard for the judges to choose. Congratulations to Susan LeClair, Jamal Edwards, and Zhiyuan Xu – this year’s winners! A number of photographers also won Honorable Mentions, and they are listed below. Thank you to everyone who entered the contest for sharing your images with us—we are so grateful. The Winning Photos First place winner Susan LeClair submitted this majestic image of a bald eagle flying...

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Leadership Program graduates

Leadership Program Graduates 10th Cohort! Applications for 2024 Now Open!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Green Foothills Leadership Program, and we were excited to celebrate the graduation of our 10th cohort of program participants on August 12. We are also excited to announce that applications for 2024 are now open! Application forms are available in English and Spanish on our Leadership Program web page. This year’s class of 17 graduates produced some impressive final campaign projects. Here are some examples of this year’s project topics: Connecting Spanish-speaking San Jose residents to open space Providing equitable access to parks for all Santa Clara County residents Educating and connecting...

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farmland outside the Gilroy city limits

LAFCO Compromises on Protecting Gilroy Farmland

Should residential sprawl be allowed on farmland outside of Gilroy city limits? Santa Clara County’s Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) considered this on August 2, and ultimately voted to allow development to proceed on approximately half of the proposed site. Unfortunately, this compromise still impacts Gilroy’s climate resilience, residents’ safety, and taxpayers’ wallets throughout the county. Gilroy Proposal Violated LAFCO Policy on Sprawl LAFCOs are local agencies charged by state law with preventing sprawl, preserving open space and farmland, and ensuring orderly growth of cities and efficient delivery of services. Thus, when developers wanted to build a residential subdivision on...

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Lehigh quarry, aerial view

Lehigh to Demolish Cement Kiln

After 84 years, the cement kiln at Lehigh Quarry – the largest single source of air pollution in Santa Clara County – will now be shut down for good and demolished as a result of a legally binding agreement entered into with Santa Clara County. Lehigh has also withdrawn its earlier request to expand its mining activity, although the company still intends to continue processing its stockpiles of already-quarried rock. This marks a major step towards the ultimate goal of ending Lehigh’s operations entirely and restoring the quarry site to open space. Long History of Environmental Violations and Pollution Located...

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redwood forest

Sempervirens Fund and Green Foothills

Conservation organizations are stronger when we work together. That’s why Sempervirens Fund and Green Foothills have been stalwart partners for many years. As a land trust, Sempervirens Fund raises money to acquire and steward redwood forests and to make them available for the public to enjoy. Green Foothills is an advocacy organization that focuses on protecting the environment by galvanizing elected officials and the public. Green Foothills’ advocacy creates a groundswell of support for local nature, which results in more opportunities for Sempervirens Fund to acquire land. We are honored that Sara Barth, Executive Director of Sempervirens Fund, will be...

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rolling hills in Coyote Valley

Tell San Jose: Don’t Roll Back Coyote Valley’s Protection

Update: Thank you to the many people who participated in the City of San Jose community meeting on August 28. The city definitely heard from the public that Coyote Valley needs to be protected from development, including along the Monterey Road corridor. The city is continuing to gather community feedback on this issue and eventually the City Council will vote. We’ll keep you posted! Meanwhile if you haven’t emailed the city yet, you can still do so using the online form in the “What You Can Do” section of this article, below. On Monday, August 28 at 6:00 p.m., the...

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Julie headshot

Introducing Our New Executive Director

On October 1st I’ll become Green Foothills’ new Executive Director. Having had the privilege of serving this organization for 12 years—7 years as Legislative Advocate and 5 years as Director of Impact—it is an honor to start a new chapter in Green Foothills’ history. With a talented team, a committed board, a growing donor base, and a diverse and broad set of partners working to protect local nature, we are primed for the work ahead. I’m excited about the future. As incoming Executive Director, I bring to bear deep experience with our Advocacy and Leadership programs to guide Green Foothills...

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Passing the Torch

Passing the Torch

“You can’t stop saving Coyote Valley!” was my youngest daughter’s response when they heard about my decision to step down as Executive Director of Green Foothills. These words embody the spirit that has driven me throughout my tenure and highlight how much Green Foothills means to me and my family. After ten years, I believe it’s time for fresh perspectives to propel our organization forward. As our board chair Ian Bain mentioned in his email last week, my last day will be September 30. I am looking forward to recharging, taking time for myself, and exploring opportunities as a nonprofit...

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Green Foothills staff and board standing beneath tall trees

Announcement: Leadership Change at Green Foothills

  I have several announcements to share on behalf of our Board of Directors. After ten years as Executive Director, Megan Fluke will be stepping down from her role effective September 30, 2023. We are deeply grateful for the positive impact Megan has had on the organization and the community it serves. I met Megan even before she was hired as Executive Director in 2013. Year by year I watched Green Foothills deepen its impact and achieve major advocacy victories from the San Mateo County coast to the bay shoreline and extending down into the hillsides and farmland of Santa...

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Coast Redwood forest

Species Spotlight: Coast Redwood

If you are seeking an experience of quiet contemplation of nature, there’s no better place than a grove of coast redwoods. If you are lucky enough to find one that is off the beaten path, the first thing you might notice is that you seem to be treading more softly and lightly, as your footsteps are cushioned by redwood leaves and forest duff. Looking up, the bright sun is now filtered through many layers of forest branches and a cool breeze is heralding late-afternoon fog. Breathing deeply, you savor the distinctive mild spicy-earthy fragrance of warm redwoods, which will likely...

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