Sustainability

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Welcome to the City of Santa Clara's Sustainability Speaker Series. These events are free and registration is encouraged to guarantee your spot. Topics covered will include environmental stewardship, energy and water conservation, and other important ways to encourage sustainable behaviors in our community.

Sustainability Speaker Series Schedule:

October 20, 2019 - Going Native in the Garden

Eddie Souza Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 

Lisa StrandWould you like to have a beautiful, water-wise garden that attracts birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators?  Would you like to work less in the garden and get more back in return? California natives are the plants for you. October, the start of our rainy season, is the perfect month to plant perennials, shrubs, and trees in your garden.  Learn how you can easily make a California native habitat garden a reality at your home.

About the speaker: 

Lisa Strand has been a UC Master Gardener since 2011, helping Santa Clara County gardeners learn techniques and troubleshoot garden-related problems. With a team of Master Gardeners, she developed and regularly teaches the county’s Beautiful Water Landscaping course. You can find her digging, weeding, and pruning in the Master Gardeners’ Native and Mediterranean-climate gardens in San Jose in addition to her backyard oak woodland garden.

October 22, 2019 - Solar Photovoltaic Systems For Your Home

Central Park Library, Margie Edinger Room - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Shelton HondaThis talk will provide an overview of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for residential buildings and things to consider as you determine if going solar is right for you. We will discuss the benefits, types of systems, the overall installation process, financing options, and economic factors. 

Registration is encouraged to reserve your spot. 

About the speaker: 

Shelton Honda is a Business Analyst for Silicon Valley Power (SVP) where he helps customers reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. He manages the Neighborhood Solar Program to provide community-funded grants to non-profit organizations to install solar systems.

 

November 6, 2019 - Our Urban Forest: Benefits, Barriers & Opportunities

Central Park Library, Margie Edinger Room - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 

Have you ever wondered what the urban forest can do for you? Come learn about the Santa Clara County Street Tree Program. During this talk, we will discuss why the urban forest is important, the benefits of having trees planted around our homes, how to choose the right tree for the right place, and how to get and care for a new street tree.

Registration is encouraged to reserve your spot

About the speaker:

Nancy Solorio is the Volunteer and Outreach Program Manager at Our City Forest. She helps Santa Clara County residents find appropriate trees for their homes and teach them best tree care practices. Nancy is passionate about community education. 


Past Workshops

August 15, 2018 - Adopting Zero Waste Behaviors

Community Recreation Center - Arts and Crafts Room
Meghan Kelly6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Are you interested in adopting a new zero waste habit, such as composting, refusing straws, or bringing your own takeout container to restaurants? Maybe you would like to encourage your family members or friends to do the same. This workshop will help you gain the knowledge and skills to turn your environmental behavior change goals into action. Through this workshop, participants will be able to recognize common “myths” of environmentally responsible behaviors, and learn how to use research-supported strategies to encourage zero waste actions. 

About the speaker:

Meghan Kelly is Principal of Green Motivate, where she assists environmental organizations in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs with a goal of behavior change and effective communication. Meghan specializes in research design and strategy, effective communication and messaging.

September 22, 2018 - California Native Plants for Your Landscape

Central Park Library, Margie Edinger Room - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
native garden1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

Learn the benefits of gardening with California native plants as well as design basics, installation, watering and some favorite reliable plant families.Come with questions!

Registration is not required. First come, first served as space is limited. Tickets do not guarantee entry to this event, but registering is a great way to get a reminder. 

About the speaker: This workshop will be taught by Master Gardener Allie Judy. 

September 23, 2018 -  Repair Café

Central Park Library - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
Picture of Laura Stec12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Back again this year! Do you have an old lamp that needs rewiring? Has your vacuum lost suction? Do you need a new zipper on your favorite pants? Is your computer on the fritz? Repair Café can help you. Don’t toss the item, bring it to the Library. The line will start at 11:30 am, first come first served.

 

Don’t have any repair needs? Don’t worry, come anyway and attend our D.I.Y. Sessions in the Margie Edinger Meeting Room:

  • 1:30 pm - How to do a DIY Home Energy Audit with SVP
  • 2:15 pm - Keeping Bees Around & More About Bees with Jason Graham
  • 3:00 pm - DIY Worm Bin Composting with a Master Composter

November 8, 2018 - Reducing your Foodprint

Central Park Library, Margie Edinger Room - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
Laura Stec 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

One of the most powerful effects you can have on the environment begins on your dinner plate. Join chef Laura Stec - author of Cool Cuisine, Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming, to learn how to lighten your load while electrifying your eats. Changing your diet is not about what you shouldn’t eat, it’s learning all the options and variations available to you. A small cooking will take place after the presentation. 

About the speaker:

Laura Stec is a chef, educator and author, specializing in events and products for healthy people and the planet. Her work has been featured at NPR, Martha Stewart, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and numerous local and national media sites. She is a private and corporate chef with Laura Stec – Innovative Cuisine and Culinary Health Educator for Kaiser Permanente and Bay-Area corporate wellness programs. You can learn more about Laura's work at www.laurastec.com

January 31, 2019 -  Improve the Comfort of Your Home & Save Energy

Central Park Library, Redwood Meeting Room - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
Herb Marshall6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

There are a number of low cost and no cost do it yourself projects that you can do to improve the comfort of your home and save money and energy. Learn how to identify air leaks, install weatherstripping, and more. Santa Clara residents who bring a current utility bill may receive a free weatherization kit valued at $25*.

*One per household. Customers who previously received a kit are ineligible. 

About the speaker: 

Herb Marshall is the Energy Conservation Coordinator at Silicon Valley Power. He has performed hundreds of home energy audits and is a certified Home Energy Rating System  (HERS) Rater.

March 2, 2019 -  Prep Your Spring Garden

Central Park Library, Redwood Meeting Room - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
Mint Pasakdee1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

Spring time is here and it can be overwhelming to prioritize what to do in your garden. This workshop will discuss ideas and topics on preparing soils, sowing seeds, getting transplants, fertilizing plants, pest controls, pruning perennials, mulching, and much more! Registration not required. 

About the speaker: 

Mint Pasakdee has been a certified Master Gardener since 2015. She works for the Santa Clara Unified School District as a farm educator teaching students about soil, plants, composting, pollinators, and nature. She is also a member of the Santa Clara community garden.  

 

March 16, 2019 -  Spring Garden Start-Up Demonstration

San Tomas & Monroe Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara, CA, 95051
Derek Bryant10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

The San Tomas & Monroe Neighborhood Community Garden opened  up late August, a little too late to grow the summer plants we all love: Cucumbers, tomatoes, squash , chili peppers and corn. March 15 marks the last chance of frost in Santa Clara County, which opens up a whole new class of vegetables and fruit that can be grown. The garden coordinator would like to invite you to help him plant new spring vegetables in the Teaching beds. He will be removing old plants, preparing the soil, and then plant spring/summer seeds and seedlings and will talk through every step to all in attendance. Tools and adult sized gloves are available. Please come in closed toed shoes and bring sun protection.

About the speaker:

Derek is an urban agriculture consultant and educator. Before becoming the City of Santa Clara’s first Garden Coordinator, he taught children and adults  the gift of growing their own food at home and at school. Derek is a Master Composter with the University of California Cooperative Extension and volunteers to teach adults how to feed the soil and divert waste through composting. 

March 31, 2019 -  Seed Share with One Seed One Community

San Tomas & Monroe Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara, CA, 95051
One seed one community1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

As gardeners begin to gear up for spring, a new type of sub-group is beginning to emerge – in comes the Seed Savers! All over the Bay Area, Seed Exchanges are sprouting up, and the City of Santa Clara will host our first one! One Seed, One community, a partner of Slow Food California, will be there to introduce us to the state-wide “group grow” program – a program established to grow and then save rare plant species. Members of the public are invited to bring their seedlings, plant cuttings, packages of seeds, and empty button bags to share and exchange the what, where’s, and when’s of planting a spring garden. Find out more about the special bean and groups behind it.

About the speaker:

Hillie is a longtime organic gardener and teacher in California's Silicon Valley and a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension. Working together with local seed libraries and other sustainability organizations, Hillie created Silicon Valley Grows! One Seed, One Community to give away and encourages the community to grow and save, a seed selected from the Ark of Taste each year.

April 9, 2019 - Intro to Urban Bicycling 

Ann Jasper

Police Department Community Room, 601 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95050

Has it been a while since you’ve ridden a bike or are you looking for a refresher? Come learn the basics of bicycling at our Intro to Urban Bicycling Workshop. The presentation will cover many of the basics: the rules of the road, route planning, etc. Please register to reserve a seat as space is limited.

**This workshop is being offered in preparation for Bike To Work Day on May 9, 2019**

About the speaker:

Ann is the Programs Director for Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition where she manages programs designed to help people view bicycling as a fun, healthy way to get from point A to B. Ann enjoys biking to work, shopping by bike and bike camping.

 

May 18, 2019 - Rain Capture Workshop

Teen Center - 2446 Cabrillo Avenue, Santa Clara
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

ashley

Join us for a crash course in water conservation and rain water capture. A special guest from Valley Water will talk about the sustainable features of San Tomas & Monroe Park and provide details on the County’s residential landscape rebate programs to save you money and keep our ground water clean. Free and open to all ages. For more information, please call 408-615-3743. 

About the speaker: 

Ashley Shannon is a Water Conservation Specialist III with Valley Water and manages their popular Landscape Rebate Program, among others. Ashley received an AS in Landscape Horticulture from Cabrillo College and worked as a landscape designer for 6 years before receiving a BS in Environmental Studies from San Jose State University.  Ashley has combined her background in horticulture with her passion for sustainability to develop educational and incentive programs to encourage water-wise landscaping.  Ashley is an avid home gardener as well and enjoys sharing her love of CA natives and vegetable gardening with her two young children.

 

May 18, 2019 - Incredible Edibles - Cucumber, Melons & Squash!

Mission Branch Library - 1098 Lexington Street

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

cuke vineIncredible Edibles: Cucumber, Melons & Squash!  Everything you wanted to know about growing cucurbits but were afraid to ask!

 

What causes bitterness in cucumbers? Do cantaloupes cross pollinate with other vine crops? Why are some squash referred to as "summer" squash, while others are called "winter" squash? Master Gardener, Janet Waagen, will answer these questions and many more, plus give great tips on planting, care, and when to harvest Cucurbits!

This program is facilitated by the Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County.

Registration is appreciated, but not required.

June 2, 2019 -  Let’s Talk about Citrus 

San Tomas & Monroe Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

orange tree

In the garden we have lemon, lime, mandarin, grapefruit and some rare citrus trees from around the world. This workshop will go over topics such as how to care for young trees, when to fertilize, how and when to prune, and how to treat disease and pests. Bring your questions, and your lemons, and talk about the sweet and sour of everything citrus. Free and open to all ages. 

Register for this event at Facebook.com/SantaClaraParksandRec

About the speaker:

Pamela Trounstine is a Master Gardener for Santa Clara County and an elementary teacher in San Jose. Her introduction to gardening came at an early age. Pamela's passions include soil and compost, vegetables, herbs and citrus, organic growing, California natives, irrigation, weeds and invasive plants.

June 9, 2019 - Parks for Pollinators - BioBlitz - Kickoff Meeting

San Tomas & Monroe Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 

This is an event where community members work with park staff to create a snapshot of the variety of wildlife that can be found locally. Participants will use an app called iNaturalist to take pictures of plants, insects and animals to see what wildlife is present in the park on this day and provide us with more information about pollinators, which are essential to our ecosystem. Please register to reserve your spot. 

To learn more about this project, please visit iNaturalist

June 9, 2019 - Second Sunday Garden Share

San Tomas & Monroe Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

community garden“I don’t want to share my garden secrets”, said no gardener ever! In fact, many experienced gardeners would agree the best thing about gardening is sharing our harvests, our seedlings, and our knowledge with each other. Starting in June, every second Sunday, the Eddie Souza Community Garden opens its gates to all novice and master gardeners everywhere in a cultural garden exchange. Each month we will highlight a topic to discuss, however all topics (and plants) are on the table! We hope you can bring seeds, seedlings, recipes, garden food, plant cuttings, or even questions to exchange with your neighbors. No one will be turned away for coming empty handed. The time of the exchange will vary due to the weather so please check the Community Garden Webpage for updates!

June 29, 2019 - Composting Workshop

San Tomas & Monroe Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Mint Pasakdee

Learn the art and science of home composting, both outside using a composting system or inside/outside using worms, and how to use the finished product in your yard or garden. Please arrive 10 minutes early to park and sign in. Registration is highly recommended to guarantee your seat. 

About the speaker: 

Mint Pasakdee has been a certified Master Composter since 2016. She works for the Santa Clara Unified School District as a farm educator teaching students about soil, plants, composting, pollinators, and nature. She is also a member of the Santa Clara community garden.

 

July 6, 2019 -How to Compost at Home: Do's & Don'ts

Central Park Library, Redwood Room - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

Mint Pasakdee

Making compost benefits our environment not only keeping organic waste (food waste and yard clippings) out of landfill. Compost also benefits your garden as a soil amendment and fertilizer. The long-term applications of compost result in having bountiful crops and improving water infiltration, which reduces water use in your garden). This workshop will teach you tips on how to maintain a backyard compost system and worm bin. 

About the speaker: 

Mint Pasakdee has been a certified Master Composter since 2016. She works for the Santa Clara Unified School District as a farm educator teaching students about soil, plants, composting, pollinators, and nature. She is also a member of the Santa Clara community garden.

 

July 14, 2019 - Second Sunday Garden Share Exchange

San Tomas & Monroe Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

community garden

“I don’t want to share my garden secrets”, said no gardener ever! In fact, many experienced gardeners would agree the best thing about gardening is sharing our harvests, our seedlings, and our knowledge with each other. Every second Sunday, the Eddie Souza Community Garden opens its gates to all novice and master gardeners everywhere in a cultural garden exchange. Each month we will highlight a topic to discuss, however all topics (and plants) are on the table! We hope you can bring seeds, seedlings, recipes, garden food, plant cuttings, or even questions to exchange with your neighbors. No one will be turned away for coming empty handed. The time of the exchange will vary due to the weather so please check the Community Garden Webpagefor updates!

July 25, 2019 - Improve your Soil with Biochar

Eddie Souza Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 

Biochar is growing in usage across segments of horticulture, agriculture, and landscape. Learn about biochar, its history and production, and explore the many ways biochar is used today. This lecture will focus on how biochar, like Cool Terra Organic, provides critical habitat for beneficial microbes and helps soils retain water while delaying nutrient leaching. Cool Terra improves soil structure in containers, native soils and raised beds, and can be used to improve rooting and establishment for a range of plant types. Cool Terra is a certified organic soil amendment that brings long-term carbon back into soils for increased carbon sequestration. Registration is encouraged. 

About the speaker: 

Andrea Melnychenko is a plant biologist who has been working in the horticultural field for 18 years. As an Account Manager for the Turf, Nursery and Ornamental divisions of Cool Planet on the West Coast, Andrea's work focuses on exploring new markets and innovative applications for biochar with a broad range of users in the green industry. 

 

August 17, 2019 - The Butterflies & The Bees with the Pollinator Posse

Eddie Souza Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Terry SmithMost gardening and landscaping practices are designed and maintained for the pleasure of humans while the needs of pollinators are ignored. However, the Eddie Souza Park and community garden was built to encourage growth for both humans and pollinators of all types and we invite you to discover what you can do to protect these precious bugs that grow our food and keep our flowers blooming. Bring your kids to learn about the science of pollination with puppets and demonstrations. Adults will learn how to create beautiful pollinator habitats and source healthy plants. Registration is encouraged. 

About the speaker: 

Terry Smith is a STEAM Education Specialist with a passion for teaching all ages about natural history. As co-founder of the Pollinator Posse, she appears at events and visits classrooms to spread the word about the life cycles of pollinators and the need to build habitat. Her home garden is designed to demonstrate how human edibles and natural habitat can blend into a beautiful whole and as an artist, she creates striking enlarged models of butterflies hand painted on silk.

September 3, 2019 - What you can do about Climate Change

Central Park Library, Margie Edinger Room - 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Sudhanshu_Jain_photo

In this workshop, you will learn the science behind climate change and then discuss impacts. This will be followed by a discussion about how a revenue neutral carbon price can reduce CO2 by half. Lastly, Sudhanshu Jain will share things that you can do to reduce your own carbon footprint. Registration is recommended to reserve your seat. 

About the speaker: 

Sudhanshu "Suds" Jain designed integrated circuits for Broadcom Corporation up until 2008, when he retired to become a "professional volunteer". As such, Suds helps to improve the science curriculum at his son's middle school, serves on the boards of Acterra.org and PlayingatLearning.org, and currently serves on the City of Santa Clara planning commission. 

September 28, 2019 - Harvest the Rain: Rebates for Santa Clara County

Eddie Souza Community Garden, 2380 Monroe Street, Santa Clara
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

ashley

Join us for a crash course in water conservation and rain water capture. A special guest from Valley Water will talk about the sustainable features of San Tomas & Monroe Park and provide details on the County’s residential landscape rebate programs to save you money and keep our ground water clean. The first 30 people who arrive will receive a goodie bag with a gardening trowel, water efficient hose nozzle, and a soil moisture meter. Reserve your spot today. 

About the speaker: 

Ashley Shannon is a Water Conservation Specialist III with Valley Water and manages their popular Landscape Rebate Program, among others. Ashley received an AS in Landscape Horticulture from Cabrillo College and worked as a landscape designer for 6 years before receiving a BS in Environmental Studies from San Jose State University.  Ashley has combined her background in horticulture with her passion for sustainability to develop educational and incentive programs to encourage water-wise landscaping. Ashley is an avid home gardener as well and enjoys sharing her love of CA natives and vegetable gardening with her two young children.

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