Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
Rating: 4.88 stars 16 reviews
Issues: Environment, Sports
Location: 438 Coleman Ave San Jose CA 95110 USA
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.
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8 people found this review helpful
As a park interpreter, I have seen the in's and out's of 5 different organizations. I have to say that the Friends of Guadalupe River Park is one of the best organizations I have ever seen. The feeling of being family, friends, and that of having mutual support is overwhelming. Everyone in this group works hard to support everyone else, all while fulfilling their mission. I've had the gift of seeing, first-hand, their children's programs and I am impressed. These guys are on a shoe string budget and yet the quality of their educational programs is amazing. This strikes me as a fun place to attend classes and an even better place to work. Their volunteer coordinator is exception at making her people feel appreciated and well guided without losing that friendliness and caring. IF you are looking for someplace to begin your park experience, this is it. If you are looking for someplace to take your class, or send your kids after school for some extra guidance in the sciences and nature, this is definitely the place. I was so impressed I bought gift certificates so my nieces could attend the after school program or summer camp. It's a perfect blend of urban downtown and the wildness of the Guadalupe River. Don't miss out.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
the excitement of the kids who are taking part in the programs and the enthusiastic response of the parents when the kids have lots of share about their experiences.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
create a television show to put on PBS each week to help teach kids how to find nature in their own downtowns.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
the way it feels like a family, personal, friendly, and welcoming. There are not stiff, stodgy, click-ish folks here.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
the warmest, funniest, and friendliest folks.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
bring kids in for all over the county, hire more teachers and support staff and offer even more of these exceptional programs to the folks who cannot afford to get out the the site. The do a great job of helping title one schools, but imagine what they could do if they had more money.
Ways to make it better...
some outside donors would step in and fund a couple of paid positions for extra helpers. Imagine what they could do if they had more staff!
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
donors who are being hit hard by the economy and can't give as much as they would like.
One thing I'd also say is that...
it's nice to see a group that genuinely and sincerely is doing something to make the down town area a better place. These folks are environmentally friendly and it shows in everything they do. They don't just talk it,the live it. It's nice to see the real deal.
Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?
Kiwanis Club of West San Jose
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