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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Botanical Gardens & Arboreta, Environment, Environmental Beautification, Parks & Playgrounds

Mission: Guadalupe River Park Conservancy provide community leadership for the development and active use of San Jose’s Central Park through education, advocacy and stewardship.

Results: Highlights from 2008: • Led over 3,000 K-5 students, mostly from nature deficient, low-income areas, on environmental education field trips. • Coordinated over 10,000 volunteer hours in the Visitor & Education Center, Heritage Rose Garden, Historic Orchard, and Courtyard Garden. • Received certification as a Green Business. • Opened the first community garden in California to use recycled water. • Coordinated Pumpkins in the Park, which drew over 10,000 people.

Target demographics: children of all ages, urban open space enthusiasts, gardeners, trail users (walkers, runners, bicyclists, skaters), downtown San Jose residents, birders and other nature lovers

Direct beneficiaries per year: 25,000

Geographic areas served: South Bay

Programs: Park Development: The Friends are currently managing a contract ($75,000) for the City of San Jose to develop Design Guidelines and an Implementation Strategy for further development in Guadalupe Gardens. This process includes engaging a landscape architecture firm, conducting community meetings to gather input, and developing a report that will become an amendment to the approved master plan. A second capitol project is the design and construction of a one-acre community garden, the first in California to be irrigated with recycled water. This garden will be open to all residents of San Jose who wish to rent a plot to grow vegetables, but will probably be used chiefly by residents of downtown highrises and other neighbors of the park. Education & Outreach: Friends of GRPG offers educational programs for adults and children in Santa Clara County, including interpretive tours of the River Park & Gardens and classes on composting, gardening, river ecology and related topics. Field trips, with curriculum linked to the California State Educational Standards, are available for school groups Pre-K through 12th grade. A full calendar of after-school programs for children address many subject areas and are available at nominal cost. New programs include outdoor exercise and yoga classes taught by professional instructors and using the park as a "gym". The newest project, funded by a grant from Intel, is development of a Geocaching program funded by a grant from Intel. Geocaching can best be described as a high-tech treasure hunt. Participants use hand-held GPS units to find hidden caches in the park. Caches can be designed to educate and inform. Geocaching has the added benefit of getting participants out into the park for exercise and discovery. Volunteer Management: The Guadalupe River Park, and the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, Historic Orchard, and Recycled Water Demonstration Garden in Guadalupe Gardens, are all maintained, in part, by volunteers coordinated by Friends of GRPG. Corporate and community work days are encouraged.The Friends recorded almost 10,000 volunteer hours donated to the park in the past year.

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The GRPC does a great job with teaching people about, and preserving some of California's unique river side ecosystems. They have created a collaborative relationship with San Jose city staff and are playing a key part in making a part of San Jose that was forgotten under highway construction, more livable, useful and beautiful.

Donor

Rating: 4

these guys are doing great work. this river is worth saving. they're opening up recreational opportunities for the community and adding value to the area.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience at Guadalupe River Park was walking the trails through the park with some friends. I was delighted by the huge rose garden and being a rose lover, decided to volunteer. I've done this for a few years now and I find the volunteers and staff are so friendly and welcoming - a great group of folks. I've also biked the trails which keep improving. A true gem in the middle of a large city!

Claire12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Guadalupe River Park is one of the most exciting things that I think is happening in downtown San Jose. It provides beautiful pathway for a walking/jogging/biking trail through the downtown area. It is the perfect spot for community festivals (we've participated in several) and gives the community a nice place to get some exercise and fresh air. Recent 'children at play' sculptures add to other interesting pieces of public art in the park including a pond of rocks w/names showing our diverse heritage, and tile work. It also includes athletic areas, a heritage orchard and rose garden (to preserve some of our history) and even community vegetable gardens, etc. It is a combination of MANY exciting things for many different people - truly a gem of the community. So glad the park is here and that it is getting better and better for more for community use. Thumbs-up for sure!!!

batmg

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at the Heritage Rose Garden, many GRPC events and served on the board of this wonderful organization. Run on a shoestring with amazing employees and volunteers, the Conservancy works hard to promote the park and its features to children, bike riders, walkers, gardeners, exercisers, students, and many others who enjoy this ribbon of green through the middle of San Jose. The Conservancy also works hard to promote completion of the park's master plan with the city, donors and volunteers.

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For such a small organization, the Friends really put on a big show - the classes and summer camps offer great lessons to children about nature, the adult lectures are useful and inspiring, and Spring in Guadalupe Gardens and Pumpkins in the Park events get the public into the park and involved in fun activities. I've been involved with the Park for over ten years and step by step, GRPG is evolving into a great city center park for everyone.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My children have been participating in the GRPC Homeschooling classes for 6 months now. Every week I am amazed how the staff is able to educate, entertain, and enlighten so many children of different ages and backgrounds. My girls look forward to these classes and always have something new to tell me. I think it one of Silicon Valley's best kept secrets!

Norma A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a fortunate and blessed neighbor to the right of the conservancy, I get to see the bus loads of children as they exit the bus and ready themselves for an amazing experience in Guadalupe park. We are in the top 10 of the largest cities in the United States it is hard to believe but many children do not get to experience the outdoor world the economy is rough in this area for the many poor families in the area this will be these childrens closest experience to the outdoors. I for one am greatful and I salute and thank you all. I will close by saying that after work I take a walk through the park and I am left with wonder and joy just like the children. Norma~

2

Donor

Rating: 4

I love the walk along the river and if you stop at the GRPC office you can meet Patch--a very friendly rabbitt!

Previous Stories
15

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Guadalupe River Park and Gardens- We have enjoyed attending events at the GRPG and have been amazed to learn how much the folks do with such a small staff! The organization should receive a pat on the back for the efficient use of resources. Great management!

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A small, but mighty organization, Friends of Guadalupe River Park & Gardens is an example of how a small group of people can have major impacts. Apart from the fact that there are only three full time employees, this organization seeks to bring advocacy and awareness about issues surrounding the environment and public planning. Each year they host a number of events: Pumpkins in the Park brings young families out into the park for some autumn fun while inviting local organizations to provide information and activities about the river and local resources. In the Spring, garden enthusiasts and greenies alike come out for Spring in Guadalupe where they can recycle e-waste, learn about composting, or purchase garden related items all while enjoying this gem of a park along the river. If your under the age of 12, you can join the fun with some great educational programs or discover the importance of keeping our local watersheds clean at the annual Water Wizard Festival. Aspiring to become a green business, the staff and volunteers are taking steps to minimize their impact on the environment, even if it means biking to work everyday for the bike to work challenge - and as many may know this can be life threatening on the streets of San Jose. This organization just goes to show you that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great programs - we especially liked the plane-spotting one. We still reference the sturdy portfolio of plane silhouettes. We also attended a very fun birthday party and walk that was staffed by the GRPG.