Archive for the ‘Our City Forest’ Category

Heart of the Park IV

2013 HOP Flyer

Some observations by Pat Pizzo

Pat Pizzo

Pat Pizzo

Some observations of the T.J. Martin, Guadalupe Oak Grove and J. Fontana Parks:

My name is Pat Pizzo and I spend some hours in these parks since 2010 as part of the Martin-Fontana Parks Association (MFPA) and I wish to share some observations.   These are my personal observations and do not necessarily reflect the views of MFPA or its executive board.

Our parks are connected; and events in one may influence events in the other.  That is why I have included Guadalupe Oak Grove Park.

For the rest of Pat’s comments click here.


Our City Forest reminds us that hot weather means thirsty trees!

The next week is supposed to be a scorcher, so be sure to keep hydrated and don’t forget about your trees too!  In the summer, the need for water increases, so be sure sure and check the soil at the base of the tree to make sure it has enough moisture.  This is especially important for trees under three years old.

For those looking to help water more than just your own trees, Our City Forest (OCF) is looking for watering volunteers during these hot summer months!  Get outside, have some fun in the sun, and make sure that San Jose’s trees get plenty to drink this summer!

For more information on watering, please call Julian at 408-998-7337 x 118, or email him at

Thanks to all our Earth Day Volunteers

A big thank you to our other group of volunteers who worked throughout Jeffrey Fontana Park pulling weeds, removing dead plants, picking up litter, and spreading mulch.

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Our Spring of 2013 Newsletter is here

Spring Newsletter

Click on Newsletter for pages 1 thru 4.

Councilmember Nancy Pyle’s Community Thank You

Per Councilmember Nancy Pyle’s latest newsletter, everyone is invited to an Open House style Community Thank You Celebration at the Almaden Community Center from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 13th with a more formal ceremony beginning at 5:45pm. We will serve hors d’oeuvres and enjoy musical selections from the San Jose Youth Symphony. If you are able to attend, please RSVP to or call 408-535-4979 for more information.

Nancy Pyle

Kathy Sutherland and Nancy Pyle

Here’s what Councilmember Nancy Pyle had to say about MFPA in her latest Newsletter:

“Years ago the TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks were created as part of an agreement between PG&E and the City of San José to provide the utility company with a right of way for their high-voltage transmission lines and Almaden Valley residents with two new parks. Conflict between the existing trees and the high voltage transmission lines in the parks erupted in early 2010 as PG&E became concerned that some existing trees were causing a safety hazard for their power lines and announced a proposal to remove 62 trees in 2010 and 78 in 2011. After many months of negotiations we were able to resolve the conflict and PG&E agreed to implement a multi-year plan that preserved the vast majority of the 140 trees originally planned for removal. In the end only thirteen of the most high-risk trees were cut and a cooperative partnership developed between the City, PG&E, Our City Forrest, the TJ Martin Neighborhood Association, the Martin-Fontana Parks Association and the San José Parks Foundation. These groups now work together to replant and reconfigure the landscape of the TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana parks and due to these efforts the parks are now more beautiful than ever!”

Andrew Oberhelman’s Eagle Scout Project completed

The finished project

Working with the Martin-Fontana Parks Association, Life Scout, Andrew Oberhelman, completed his Eagle Scout Project in Jeffrey Fontana Park.  It is located across from the Jeffrey Fontana Memorial Garden on the east side of McAbee Road.  and on planting day, Andrew was guided by David Poeschel, also of MFPA, who mentored the Scouts in planting CA Native plants and shrubs

Andrew selected native plants for his restoration project to provide a demonstration of their importance in water conservation in our environment. He raised nearly $300 in fundraisers and MFPA provided any other necessary funding. Louie, of the City Parks Dept., worked to renovate an existing non-operative irrigation system and had it working for the Nov. 10 planting date besides helping out with the planting.

A big thanks to the members of his scouting troop and parents, the city’s Parks Dept, Our City Forest, as well as MFPA mentors and volunteers who helped him complete his project.  Andrew also worked with the chair of MFPA’s Restoration and Improvement Committee, Pat Pizzo, who helped guide him with his plant selection.  On planting day, Andrew was guided by David Poeschel, also of MFPA, who mentored the Scouts in planting CA Native plants and shrubs.

Check out the nice story in the Almaden Times Weekly:  An Eagle Scout spreads his wings.

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HEART OF THE PARK III takes in over $2000 in donations

Vallie Sharpe-Geisler, with lots of help, reads out the winning numbers

Sunday, August 19 marked the third celebration of our nonprofit, dedicated to saving as many trees as possible from PG&E chainsaws, and improving areas of TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Park marked by earlier tree removals.

Nearly 100 neighbors turned out for cupcakes, coffee, and the big fundraiser raffle to raise funds for the 2013 projects.  The raffle was well attended, with several gift baskets and gift cards going to the participants.  This year, we cleared slightly over $2000 in donations, the best year we have ever had!  Several members signed up for new memberships and we had many renewals from past supporters.

The event began with the dedication of the Bench at Tree #13, and the celebration of saving the iconic tree doomed to be the thirteenth tree removed in spring, 2012.   We were delighted to thank Councilmember Nancy Pyle for the $2000 city grant we recently received for community beautification.

Councilmember Nancy Pyle

Participants enjoyed visiting the nonprofit tables of our park partners, viewing the displays of MFPA accomplishments over the last two years, and learning what projects are slated for completion in 2012, including the planting of Island C and the improvement of the McAbee frontage in Fontana Park.  The Glowing Ct. garden in TJ Martin Park will be improved, and three new trees will be planted.

Park partners

We thank our volunteers, supporters, and raffle sponsors for making this day a stellar event for MFPA, and have already begun plans for park improvements and tree replacements in 2013.  Meanwhile, we continue to negotiate with PG&E each winter to limit the tree removals.

See what the Almaden Times Weekly had to say about the event.

  Click here.

Earth Day planting of 18 trees and 7 Ceanothus Shrubs

This family is really getting into it!

I am sure many of you have already seen the results of the huge tree-planting effort by Martin-Fontana Parks Association and Our City Forest in Jeffrey Fontana Park.   Neighbors from all over the South Bay and OCF’s Tree Amigos, came to volunteer their time to plant 18 new trees and 7 shrubs.  This, combined with last month’s (March 31) planting of 16 trees in T.J. Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Park, will almost complete this Spring’s tree planting efforts.  One more effort, next week, on April 28th. The target this time is the garden area across from Glowing Court in T.J. Martin Park.   We will be planting some shrubs and 2 more trees.   We will meet at 9:00 AM at the Jeffrey Fontana Memorial Statue.  MFPA and San Jose Adopt-a-Park will welcome the largest work party ever seen in our parks to plant, spread mulch, clean out weedy areas, and make our parks sparkle!

Thirty six new trees in our two parks…. outstanding, yes?

When an organization does some outstanding work to improve the community, they need to be acknowledged.  The best way to acknowledge your support is to continue your membership and/or make a direct contribution to MFPA to continue these beneficial efforts.  You already know of the target $1,300 to put in a bench, in the shade, by Tree #13.  We are about half-way there.   Additionally, we plan to install an educational CA Native Plant garden in the western end of Jeffrey Fontana Park.  That will require funding.  So come on…. you may not have been able to swing a pick or to wheelbarrow mulch…. but you certainly can write that check!    It is effortless,  why not go to our donation link at the top right of our home page or you can mail it to us using this form and help support MFPA, because you certainly can see and enjoy the benefits it brings to the community!

Patrick P. Pizzo

More photos from Sat’s Earth Day planting

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