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Ulistac Natural Area

The last 40 acres of open space in the City of Santa Clara was preserved on January 20, 1997 and designated as the Ulistac Natural Area (UNA). Originally inhabited by the Ohlone Indians, then the Spanish missionaries, and later used as a pear orchard, a golf course, and finally a natural area, Ulistac has been through it all. The land was slated for development in the late 1980s, but the developer withdrew when real estate values dropped in 1990. The area was left untouched for seven years and during this time, plants began to grow back and wildlife began to return. Finally, due to pressure from People for Open Space and SCVAS, the city council voted to preserve the site.

Ulistac Natural Area
Ulistac Natural Area

The Ulistac Natural Area Restoration Project is completely community-driven. The goal of the project is to turn UNA into a reserve with examples of the many different habitats that were once readily found in the Santa Clara area. Participants are currently focusing on the restoration of six acres with four habitats: oak savannah, live oak woodland, deciduous oak woodland, and grassland. There is also a three-quarter acre bird and butterfly garden. When the rest of the park is restored, more oaks will be added as well as three more habitats: wetland, sycamore woodland, and riparian woodland.

Several groups are working on the restoration. A community action group, the Ulistac Natural Area Community Habitat Restoration Project (UNA-CHRP), coordinates volunteer activities with help from Santa Clara University Environmental Studies Institute (ESI); Wilcox High School in the Santa Clara Unified School District; and SCVAS. Funding has come from donations, grants, and Santa Clara County Open Space Authority.

Ulistac Natural Area Trail
Ulistac Natural Area Trail

Volunteers have logged thousands of hours to remove trash and to plant, mulch, weed, water, and maintain many tree seedlings and native plants. Santa Clara University is working closely with UNA-CHRP to develop educational materials related to the restoration, including a volunteer docent training manual and signs for the preserve. High school students are involved in the scientific monitoring of the restoration, including vegetation changes and soil and water quality.

How you can help!

• To help with the Ulistac Natural Area Community Habitat Restoration Project, email them at: ulistac@gmail.com

• You can help with this or other projects that interest you by becoming a Volunteer for Conservation. There are many ways that you can help from simply speaking out as part of our Conservation Action Alert Network to joining our Environmental Action Committee (EAC).

• Make a tax-deductible donation to support this and other local conservation efforts.

 

Updated June 2012

 

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