Botanical Gardens & Arboreta,
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.
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.