Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
Newsletter: January 2011

New Program for Homeschool Students!

The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy is proud to introduce our new Outdoor Environmental Science Program (OESP) for homeschool students! Each class covers a unique theme within the environmental sciences, and your child can sign up for an individual class, come to several classes to cover a unit, or attend all the classes to build an interdisciplinary understanding of nature and science. Here is a quick preview of our upcoming classes, always Wednesdays, always $10/child:

Wiggly, Squiggly Worms, January 19th
Junior Geocachers, February 16th
Rock Your World, March 16th
Flower Power, April 13th
Fishy Mysteries, May 11th

For more information about the OESP program, click here.


New Shopping Cart System
In our ongoing effort to improve customer service, we have added shopping cart functionality to our web site. Users can now sign up for mulitple classes, buy sun visor, renew their membership, etc....all in one transaction. Having said that. we don't mind if you still call us and sign up the old-fashioned way! 408-298-7657.


Orchard Update: January 2011

Winter continues to roll through our valley and through our orchard. While the wet and cold January weather may put an occasional damper on our spirits, winter is a very important season for the orchard.

  • Chilling Hours. Each tree needs to collect a certain amount of chilling hours (or hours with a temperature below 45ºC) to produce fruit next spring and summer.  In other words, there's no tasty fall harvest without a cold enough winter; no pain, no gain.
  • Soil Fungi. In addition to irrigating our trees for free, the winter rains have led to mushroom* growth throughout the orchard. I snapped a few photos of our lovely mushroom caps (shown below), which more>>>


Pruning Clinics in the Heritage Rose Garden!

Come learn pruning from the experts. South Bay Heritage Rose Group volunteers at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden will teach you to prune your roses. A short lecture will be followed by hands-on pruning. To participate, you must arrive at 9:00 am. No need to sign up, just make sure to get there by 9 am sharp or a bit earlier.

Wednesdays and Saturdays through
February 19, 2011, 9:00-12:00 am.

Taylor and Spring Streets
(On Taylor St, just West of Highway 87)
Parking available on Seymour St. (at Walnut)


New Bikes!



IRA Holders Can Still Make 2010 Charitable Distributions
Anyone aged 70½ or older can enjoy tax savings by making charitable gifts directly from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), thanks to a provision of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 that was signed into law last month. The act also allows charitable distributions made from an IRA in January 2011 to be declared as 2010 gifts, should you wish to do so.


Single-Use Bag Ban Ordinance

Good news! San Jose passed their own version of a trend sweeping the nation...banning plastic single use carry out bags. The ban will go into effect in 2012 and will force folks to choose between bringing their own reusable bags (the best option) or paying for paper bags during their check out process at the grocery store. We're excited to see how this new ordinance will benefit the Guadalupe River.


Watchable Wildlife on the Guadalupe River
with Ranger Pam

Herons and Egrets – What’s the Difference?
So, what’s the difference between a heron and an egret? Actually, there isn’t any real difference. All of the herons and egrets found on the Guadalupe River belong to the Family Ardeidae – wading birds with long necks, long legs and long sharp bills that hunt near water.


Meet the Board: Jeff Lawson
Jeff Lawson is a shareholder and director of the Silicon Valley Law Group. He heads the firm’s environmental practice. He has considerable experience in the areas of: commercial litigation; environmental litigation; and water rate litigation. His environmental practice includes: compliance, defense of enforcement actions; real property site assessments; cleanups under Federal and State Superfund statutes; due diligence; development of contaminated sites; water rights; the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); the Clean Air Act; the Clean Water Act; Proposition 65; risk assessments; underground storage tanks; and environmental insurance. He has represented clients in state and federal court and before federal, state and local environmental regulatory and political entities involving a variety of land use, permitting and enforcement matters. He also serves as a mediator in environmental and commercial disputes. He is a retired California Air National Guard Brigadier General.


Meet volunteer Sharon Frieson
Sharon moved to California in 1969.  She worked at Varian Inc. for 33 years as a systems analyst. In August 2008, Sharon found the Heritage Rose Garden while walking on the trail with some friends and joined the volunteer team that month.  Since then, she has come regularly to help with the maintenance of the roses. Sharon mentioned that she likes to come to the gardens because everyone is very nice.  She also volunteers weekly at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley.  During her spare time, she enjoys gardening, traveling, walking and biking. We are very glad that Sharon found the Heritage Rose Garden and stopped to smell – and tend – the roses. 

Upcoming Events ~ Kids

Around the World
Friday, January 7th, 2011
3:30 to 5:00pm
$10/members, $15/non-members

Japan, Costa Rica, India, Mexico, Taiwan, Russia and Ireland! Did you know that San Jose has a Sister City located in each of these countries? Join the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy to celebrate over fifty years of cultural partnerships and learn why we have a special relationship with seven different cities located around the world. Learn about each city and draw your favorite Sister City flag to take home. Take a walk (weather permitting) and visit Pune, India’s Sister City Seating Area, just one of seven Sister City sites located in the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens!


Plant a Pizza!
Friday, January 28th
3:30pm to 5:00pm
$10/members, $15/non-members

When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie, that’s AMORE! What makes pizza taste so good? Freshly grown ingredients of course! Join the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy as we learn about where those yummy ingredients come from. Plant basil, oregano, and other pizza ingredients to take home your very own pizza herb garden! Grind wheat and sample fresh ingredients as we make mini pizzas for a delicious afternoon snack. Mmmm…an after-school class has never tasted so good!


Upcoming Events ~ Adults

Dormant Fruit Tree Pruning
Saturday, January 22nd
9:30 to 11:30am
$10/members, $15/non-members

While waiting for the weather to get warm enough for planting, why not sign up for a pruning workshop in the Historic Orchard with Sean McGrail, Pruning Specialist. Tools, techniques and basic pruning concepts are taught, and you will get to practice what you’ve learned and support the Historic Orchard by actually helping to prune different varieties of fruit trees. The Historic Orchard is a 3.3-acre site planted in 1994 to showcase the varieties of fruit trees that once made the Santa Clara Valley famous as “The Valley of Heart’s Delight”. The orchard contains over 250 fruit trees, including cherries, apricots, prunes, apples, and more. It is maintained by dedicated volunteers.


Renovating your Landscape
2 Saturdays, February 5th and 12th
10:00 to 1:30pm
$35/members, $45/non-memb

Do you ever come home, look around and wish you could re-landscape, just start all over again? Somehow the vision and the way it looks now have become too much work, money or time for the dream? Join Guadalupe River Park Conservancy and Roberta Barnes to learn how to evaluate and rework you landscape to bring beauty to your home and be more in tune with our Mediterranean climate and local ecology. In this 2 class series, you will understand how to get the most from your irrigation system, improve your soil, control weeds and pests and care for your lawn and options to reduce or replace it. Pruning basics and renovation pruning will also be covered.  Learning about tough plants that thrive in our climate, along with tips to help home gardeners make good plant choices.

Bon Appétit! Talk Culinary Herbs with Joan Cloutier

Saturday, February 26th
10:00am to 12:00pm
$10/members, $15/non-members

Have you ever wondered what makes a slice of pizza taste so great? The secret ingredient is herbs! Fresh basil, oregano, and parsley are a few of the many delicious herbs that bring our pizza and the rest of our food to life! Join the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy to learn how to grow your own culinary herbs in an apartment or backyard garden. Special guest speaker, Master Gardener, Joan Cloutier, will teach you how to incorporate herbs into your vegetable garden or ornamental area, how herbs can be grown in all seasons, how herbs can be combined in the same pots as flowers, and many more exciting lessons that will allow you to jumpstart your very own culinary herb garden! Although we’re concentrating on culinary herbs, even the advanced herb grower will learn something new!


Sustainable Vegetable Gardening
Wednesdays from March 2nd
through April 6th

7:00 to 9:00pm
$60/members, $70/non-members
Instructor: Ann Northrup


Composting Classes
Wednesdays, April 13, June 1
July 6, August 3
6 to 8 pm



In the Photo Gallery

GRPG FlickR Group

Nine birdwatchers braved a stormy Sunday on December 19th to volunteer for Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Armed with ponchos, umbrellas, and binoculars, the birdwatchers walked the area of Guadalupe River Park & Gardens located between Coleman and Hedding for three hours. Despite the rain, many species of birds were still active, and both amateur birdwatchers and experienced bird enthusiasts had a great time. The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy leads a Christmas Bird Count every December; e-mail for more information.


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Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
438 Coleman Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 298-7657
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