Friends of Santa Teresa Park Zoom Meeting, 6/3/21


    • Attendees: Mike Boulland, Kitty Monahan, Greg Koopman, Joan Murphy, Marilyn August, Steve Crockett, Woody Collins, Ron Horii. First-time visitor: Ed Von Runnen. Greg Koopman is in Hawaii. He'll be back in 1 1/2 weeks. Ed lives across from Santa Teresa Park on Heaton Moor. He picks up litter and volunteers for Mid-Pen and OSA. He works with San Jose's anti-litter program.
    • This was an online Zoom videoconference meeting. Mike sent out a meeting link for this Zoom meeting.  Here's the agenda for today's meeting.
    • Most of the trail crew and park staff are back from Disaster Service Worker (DSW) duty (helping out at vaccination clinics and other pandemic-related tasks).
    • We will have a work day at Santa Teresa Spring on Friday, 6/4/21, starting at 9:00 am, going to about 11:30. We'll meet at the chicken coop at the Bernal Ranch. We'll be trimming vines and brush and removing dirt from around the spring and shrine. We'll have sign-in sheets for those who have not yet signed the waivers in Samaritan. Bring tools, like clippers, loppers, and shovels. Bring your own gloves. Mike will bring buckets and a wheelbarrow.
    • Livescanning (fingerprinting), filling out conflict-of-interest disclosures, taking a sexual harrassment class, and signing waivers are required for long-term volunteers, depending on the type of volunteer work. They are not required for short-term or single-event volunteers, who can just sign waiver sheets at the event or on Samaritan.
    • Marilyn just got livescanned at the sheriff's office in San Martin. There's no waiting there, unlike downtown San Jose. It takes 2 weeks to get results, so it won't be in the system for Friday's work day event. That's OK. She can sign in on paper.
    • There's a Native American grinding rock near Bernal Road by the golf course. It also has inscriptions by the Bernal Family. Mike was going to show it to us after our work day, but it's surrounded by tall weeds and thistles this time of year. It might be better to go see this in the winter.
    • Ron Horii showed a slideshow: late spring wildflowers, worn out QR codes on the Nature Trail signs, graffiti on the rocks by the waterfall, unearthing of the time capsule by the Bear Tree Lot monument, dirt and vines around Santa Teresa Spring, conditions on the Norred Trail, and parking lot usage at the Pueblo Area.
    • Treasurer's report from Greg: we have $1902.70 in our account. There's no change from last month. Most of our funding comes from the Beautify San Jose Grant. Mike is working on a change request for moving funds around between different category items, since the grant has to cover 2 years, instead of 1.
    • The Open Space Authority has a Measure Q urban grant program to fund projects in environmental stewardship and restoration, parks, trails, public access, environmental education, and urban agriculture. 501c3 non-profits are eligible for the grant. (We are not a 501c3 non-profit yet, but we are working on it.) We can connect with the OSA for future programs that need funding.
    • There was some interest in seeing Little Uvas Creek Preserve. Saved By Nature did a recent program there. It's closed to the public, but we may be able to have a docent-led tour of it. Ron is has led tours there as an OSA docent. He'll look into it for some time in July. We need to pick a date. [We talked about July 10, but OSA has their volunteer appreciation event that day. Saved By Nature may have a bat viewing event at Little Uvas in July.]
    • Mike reported that Carolyn Schimandle, supervisor of interpretive programs at the Bernal Ranch, said that there will be a soft opening of the ranch house and barn next Saturday. Rob McDonnell, park interpreter assigned to the Bernal Ranch, is still deployed as a DSW. When he is released, he'll be able to staff the ranch house on Fridays and Saturdays. Jan Shriner will help. There's a new hire (as extra help) coming in a couple of weeks who can work on Sundays. Masks will be required at the ranch house and barn. Only members of 1 household at a time will be allowed in the buildings. The doors will be left open. Volunteers can't be working until the County says it's OK.
    • The construction of the new Curie Drive Trail started on June 1. The construction manager is Tom McLauchlan. Jeremy Farr is the park planner in charge of the plan. We can ask Jeremy to talk about the project at a future meeting.
    • Jason Gormon is responsible for maintenance of the historic area past Santa Teresa Spring. Jeremy Celaya is responsible for maintenance of the Bernal Ranch and Santa Teresa Spring. Bryan Lue is acting Senior Ranger for Hellyer, Martial Cottle, and Santa Teresa. 
    • Greg asked who to contact for park concerns. They can be brought to the attention of the Park Commission. They normally meet monthly in the County Building downtown, but since the pandemic, they meet bi-monthly on Zoom. Mike is automatically on the agenda to talk about Santa Teresa Park. That would be the best time to talk about Santa Teresa Park issues.
      • Greg is concerned about the power poles and wires that were left over from the now-gone microwave relay station by the start of the Rocky Ridge Trail. PG&E probably installed the power poles for the relay station. The customer can request to have them removed, but may have to pay for their removal. Who is the customer?
      • Greg is concerned about the trash cans on Coyote Peak that have no lids. The wind can pull trash out of trash cans and blow it around. 
    • Roxanne was concerned about the effect of charging parking fees at the Pueblo Area. She was afraid that families would stop coming to the park. Ron visited the Pueblo Area several times. Parking lot usage has dropped dramatically usage since they were resumed on April 5, and many parked cars do not have parking receipts. However, with the loosening of COVID restrictions, parking lot use has also gone down at other parks and preserves that do not charge for parking, so it's not clear whether the fees are the only cause of lower park use. Restoring parking fees coincided with relaxation of COVID19 restrictions, so people started to go back to normal activities. 
    • 17 County Parks charge for parking. Charging parking fees was ordered by the County Executive. The parking fees collected amount to $50K/year. The money goes to the County's general fund and not directly to the parks.
    • Mike wants to have a trail opening event for the new Curie Drive Trail. We can have a picnic, a ribbon-cutting, show the time capsule, and walk the trail. We can start at the ranch house and talk about the history of the ranch.Mike wants to setup a trail event committee. We need to find out when the project will be completed and whether the Parks Department plans to have some kind of ceremony. We can do something in conjunction with the department. We can't afford the insurance to put on our own public event, but we can have a private celebration. 
    • Mike made a slideshow for kids about baby turtles at Santa Teresa Spring. It was about how baby turtles saved other turtles during the drought. It can be used for a future program at the spring.
    • Possible future field trip: Black Diamond Mines near Pittsburgh. There's a new tunnel there. It's underground and cool, so it can be done in the summer.
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       Created 6/10/21 by Ronald Horii, secretary of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park
    Funding provided by a Beautify San Jose Grant