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NEWSLETTER: November 2018

In this issue:

Giving Thanks

Our heartfelt thanks go out to the sponsors, partners, supporters, contributors, and volunteers who made Pumpkins in the Park a great success! Save the Date for next year - October 12, 2019!

We are particularly thankful that Cortese Brothers Farms supplied our pumpkin patch again!

Event Sponsors - Bay FM/Mix 106, City of San Jose, Cortese Brothers Farms, First 5, Google, HGA, Martinelli's, NBC Bay Area/Telemundo, Watershed Watch

Event Supporters - Office of Councilmember Raul Peralez, Sheryl Hinshaw, and Marguerite Lee

We also appreciate these generous partners whose support underwrites all our events and programs - Able Services, Acosta Sheet Metal Manufacturing, Adobe, Air Systems, Mike & Christy Akatiff, Arm, Armanino, Terry & Carol Austen, Blach Construction, Boston Properties, BrightView, Heritage Bank of Commerce, Intel, Lewis & Tibbits, One Pearl Place, PG&E, Francois & Beth Rodigari, Samaritan Medical Center, San Jose Water Company, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Sharks Foundation, Sharks Sports & Entertainment, Silicon Valley Law Group, A Slice of New York, John Michael Sobrato, Swenson, Vulcan Construction, West Valley Construction

Gardens vs Commercial Use

San Jose's Planning Department issued a project number for the Office of Economic Development/Airport proposal to convert nearly 12 acres of gardens to commercial use. The matter will go to City Council next fall, but we are working to get the proposal withdrawn due to the unprecedented conversion from public to commercial use and the violation of planning principals in the 2040 General Plan.

Click here for our letter and supporting documentation.

Click here to contact Mayor Liccardo.

PlayGarden Updates

After 575,000+ visitors, the Rotary PlayGarden resilient surfacing was showing signs of wear, so we coordinated with the City of San Jose and Playgrounds Unlimited to re-pour the area around the rotating net and patch several areas around the playground. We hope you enjoy the refreshed look!

Historic Orchard Restoration

West Valley College Park Management students helped us remove over 20 diseased and/or expired cherry trees from the Historic Orchard. While we're sad to see the trees go, many were 20+ years old and at the end of their fruitful lives. Their removal is a big step in enabling us to restore the cherry section with new plantings and make irrigation improvements as we prepare the orchard for the next 20 years.

Volunteer Corner

Ernst & Young helped us with seasonal upkeep in the Historic Orchard.

A hearty thanks to all the volunteer groups that toiled to make GRPG a more beautiful place this past September:

Bellarmine College Preparatory
Hope Services
Mission Bay
Morgan Autism Center
National Charity League Heritage Oaks & Willow Rose Chapters
South Bay Heritage Rose Group
UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County

And that is only the groups! We also appreciate the scores of individuals who come out weekly to make a difference. We logged 828 volunteer hours in September.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

  • Heritage Rose Garden Workdays
    Weds. and Sats. 8:30-11:30 am. More info.

  • Historic Orchard Workday
    Sat. Dec. 1st, 8:30-11:30 am. Sign up.
  • Rotary PlayGarden Maintenance Support
    Ongoing on Mondays. E-mail for more information.
  • Beginning Environmental Explorers (BEE) Education Aid
    We are on the hunt for a long-term, dedicated volunteer who enjoys engaging and teaching students ages 2 - 5 years old. An ideal BEE education aide will be a passionate and patient volunteer to complement our enthusiastic education team! Spanish-speaking aides preferred, but not required. Interested or have questions? E-mail


Meet Volunteer: Don
Don has been volunteering in our front office and at the Rotary PlayGarden for the past two months, greeting everyone with his warm smile. He enjoys his time here - the people, the atmosphere, the nature, and the beauty of the park. He's hoping to adopt a couple kittens from us, and we'd love for their fur-ever home to be with Don!

So many ways to give:
Adopt A Rose, General Donations,
Rotary PlayGarden,
The Donor Walkway, Memberships,
Endowment, Critter Donations

Upcoming Events

Annual Holiday Wreath Workshop

Saturday, December 1st
1:30 - 3:30 PM

Get ready for the holidays the old-fashioned way by making your own wreath!

UC Master Gardeners, led by Milli Wright, will show you how to look for unusual items that can be incorporated into the wreaths. After a basic design lesson, and examples of other clever projects, you will be ready to create your own personal gift for your home.

Click here to register.

Homeschool Programs

Sustainability Stewards

We are pleased to introduce our new Community Homeschool Investigators of the River Park (CHIRP) Program.

Classes are held on Mondays (ages 5-8).

How 3 R's Can Change the World
November 19

Becoming an Eco Warrior
November 26

Click here to register.

Super Guadalupe River Run

Saturday, February 2nd
9:00 AM

Join us on Groundhog Day - Saturday Feb. 2 - to see if you can outrun your shadow!

Registration is now open for the 10K/5K/Kids' Fun Run. Register early and save!

Click here to register.

Giving Tuesday

Save the Date! We're participating in the seventh annual Giving Tuesday on November 27th.

Click here to learn more.

Kitten Corner

We are fostering six new kittens and three teen moms. If interested in providing a furever home, please email

Legacy Giving

If you are over 70 1/2 years old and have an IRA account, you can make a tax-free charitable donation of up to $100,000 until December 31.

The advantage is that the transferred amount does not count as taxable income but does count toward your required minimum distribution. Please note, to qualify as an IRA Charitable Rollover, the distribution must go directly from your IRA custodian to the charity.

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