Connecting our communities to nature

The Santa Clara Valley region is rich in beautiful natural landscapes and a great diversity of wildlife, plants, and habitats. Our region is also fortunate to be rich in human diversity - including culture, language, interests, and abilities, among many others.

increasing open space access

The Authority serves over 1.4 million residents in the cities of Campbell, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, and Santa Clara and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. We embrace the diversity of this region, and strive to provide access to nature for all of our constituents. We recognize that there is significant disparity in our region when it comes to wealth distribution, environment burdens, linguistic isolation, and access to open spaces.
Through initiatives such as Understanding Our Community, the Urban Grant Programs, environmental education programs, and through extensive community engagement, we work to increase access to natural open spaces by removing barriers to open space access wherever we can, for the benefit of all our communities.

Understanding our Community

To better understand the residents and communities we serve and their unique needs, the Authority conducted a community assessment that provides a detailed picture of our jurisdiction. The Understanding Our Community report, received by the Authority Board of Directors in 2015, identifies barriers that prevent some residents from going outdoors to enjoy nature and receive its many health benefits.

The Authority uses the data contained within the report to inform our Urban Grant Programs, guide our Environmental Education programs to the areas of greatest need, and prioritize and inform all of our Community Engagement activities, such as events, community meetings, and outreach.

An important aspect of the Authority's commitment to providing access to all our constituents is that our preserves, events, and programs are always free to the public.

Download the Report

Key Findings from the Understanding Our Community Report

  1. The Authority’s jurisdiction includes roughly 1.4 million people that is ethnically diverse, with residents being 33% Asian, 31% White, and 30% of Hispanic/Latino origin.
  2. There are six neighborhoods defined as Deep Engagement Communities that experience greater environmental burdens and barriers to access of nature.
  3. The most frequently cited community open space needs include better trail and park connectivity, and more urban community gardens.
  4. Various barriers restricting access to nature include lack of nearby open space and natural areas, lack of transportation, financial burdens, and a concern for safety.


Investing in Nature

The Understanding Our Community report informs the Authority's implementation of its Urban Grant Programs, that invest in urban projects and neighborhoods that will have the greatest impact in providing access to nature.

Urban Success

Environmental Education

Learn more about our educational programming and materials that helps connect local students and children with nature.