Posts Tagged ‘Our City Forest’

You Can Help

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Our City Forest is looking for volunteers to help water young trees at TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Park. Volunteers will be rewarded with the opportunity to learn more about the crucial, yet often overlooked, care needed to ensure the health and success of these young trees. Volunteers should be of, at least, high school age (with a consent form) or older, and anyone with a truck is highly encouraged to help out! These events usually take place each Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. until noon. Those interested should contact the Tree Care Volunteer Coordinator, Olivia Goguen: (408) 998-7337         ext. 105

Save a Christmas Tree


Donate your living Christmas tree to the Our City Forest nursery! Simply bring it by during open hours (Thursday – Saturdays 9 to Noon) or email to schedule a drop-off. They accept all shapes and sizes, the only requirement is the tree must be potted and healthy. Your donation is tax-deductible and donation receipts are available by request.

The nursery is located at Spring Street and Mc Kendrie Street in San Jose.  For a map 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

Our Spring of 2013 Newsletter is here

Spring Newsletter

Click on Newsletter for pages 1 thru 4.

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

Braving the Monsoon!

March 31 Tree Planting at TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks

Our City Forest volunteers and Tree Amigos joined with volunteers from MFPA last Saturday, digging 16 holes with pick and shovel, and planting 16 young trees.

The Daisy Brownie troop from Los Alamitos, their parents, and siblings also had their own little project.  With supervision from a trusty OCF Tree Amigo, they dug their hole, and planted what will someday become a majestic Coast Live Oak.  To celebrate the Girl Scouts 100th birthday this year, they adopted the tree and will participate in its care.

We want to thank Theresa Wellman, Johnny Khamis, Sunny and Pat Wagstaff, Larry Sasscer, Pat Pizzo, Vince Piazzisi, Dave Poeschel, Bob and Marge Heldt (our photographer), Mike Kalashian, Gail Hospidor, and Gary Wilson for braving the storm. We really appreciate your support.

The Daisy Brownie troop from Los Alamitos

These three little elves popped up in the woods to help us

MFPA has contracted with Our City Forest to plant and water these trees for a period of three years, until they have become established enough to survive on their own.

A big” THANK YOU” to all our volunteers who braved pouring rain, cold temperatures, and a monsoon-like 35 mile an hour wind to finish this project within two hours!

Digging in the rain

NEXT TREE PLANTING:  Saturday, April 21 @ 9 am – meet in Jeffrey Fontana Park at the corner of Meridian and Oakglen Way.

Thanks to Margie Heldt for the great photos.

Tree removal happening on Feb. the 21st

Holm Oak #25

The 2012 discussions between Martin-Fontana Parks Association and PG&E have successfully concluded.  On February 21st at 7:30 am, PG&E will be in the Jeffrey Fontana Park, west of the dog park, with Davey Tree Company. They will be removing tree #25, a Holm Oak directly under the high voltage center power lines.  This is a non-native species that has been crowding out more desirable native oak species in the park, and is a rapid growing variety which will pose a safety hazard in the near future. They will also be removing some of the random volunteer oaks at the southern boundary of the park across from Tree #13. They will be replaced with shrubs to maintain the screening provided by the oaks. MFPA believes that this was a very good outcome of the negotiations. It’s tough to lose a tree, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.

This year PG&E will also donate several replacement trees to plant in Fontana Park to mitigate the loss of tree #25. This April, MFPA will join with Our City Forest, Adopt-a-Park, PG&E, and the Parks Dept. in a major planting and enhancement of the parks to celebrate Arbor Day. Over 20 new 15 gallon sized trees will be planted as a part of this event.




On Saturday October 15th, approximately 100 eager volunteers showed up to help plant native shrubs in Jeffrey Fontana Park. (For more on the planting, see the article in the Almaden Times Weekly).

Under the direction of Dave Poeschel, (the gentleman on the far right in the green shirt), the bare dirt area from the children’s playground and east to Almaden Expressway was planted with 158 California native shrubs consisting of 10 different varieties.

Island A, under the leadership of Pat Pizzo, (the gentleman wearing the blue cap in the photo below), was planted with 13 different varieties of 21 California native shrubs.

Dropping by to offer her support was San Jose City Councilmember, Nancy Pyle.  She is the lady with the sunglasses standing just behind the kneeling gentlemen.  Starting from those standing from the left they are Ryan Huddlestun, Pat Pizzo (the leader and creator of “Island A”), Councilmember Nancy Pyle, Larry Sasscer, Leslie Reynolds, Vince Piazzisi, Pier Maggiani, unknown two ladies & gentleman.  The person kneeling is Chris Reed. (Does anybody know the names of the three people on the far right ?  If so please send their names to  Thanks.)

Volunteers consisted of:

  •  The Martin-Fontana Parks Association, who provided refreshments, volunteers, planting plans and all the funding.
  •  Our City Forest, who provided trained volunteers, expertise, and supervision of the planting process, as well as gloves and shovels.
  •  San Jose City’s Adopt-a-Park Program, who provided volunteers, tools for planting and weeded the Beautiful Day project previously planted by the South Hills Community Church last December.
  •  The Guadalupe Elementary School Scout Pack 340
  •  Presentation High School volunteers
  •  Pastor Greg Gates and his group of church volunteers
  •  And other hard working neighbors and community members.

The park plans were developed by the MFPA Restoration Committee and approved by PG&E, the Santa Clara Water District (SCVWD), San Jose Parks Maintenance Division, and the Board of Directors of the MFPA. 

We would like to thank everyone involved with this fall’s planting project. We hope as the years go by and the shrubs mature, folks will continue to take pride in their contribution to the project, whether through their MFPA membership dues or volunteer labor. We literally covered a lot a ground, but folks should know, that every effort was made to stretch MFPA funds so that many more future projects will also be possible.  The $2500 cost of these Fall projects were completely funded by your donations to the Martin-Fontana Parks Association.
California native shrubs were selected as the best solution to the constraints of summer drought conditions, PG&E height limits, city safety and maintenance concerns, and SCVWD guidelines. We hope everyone will come to appreciate the subtle beauty of California’s natural heritage.