County Partners with Grassroots Ecology to Train Environmental Stewards


SAN JOSE – Santa Clara County is supporting Grassroots Ecology, a local environmental nonprofit, in educating and training young adults interested in pursuing a career in sustainable land management. The program is now in its third year.

The Board of Supervisors approved three-year funding in June 2019 for Grassroots Ecology, working in partnership with the San Jose Conservation Corps, to offer education and on-the-job training for young adults aged 17 ½ to 27. The partnership provides an opportunity for participants to learn about native plant species to improve biodiversity and attract pollinating insects, green infrastructure standards, and how to manage urban and natural lands more sustainably.

“Providing hands-on experience for young adults looking to enter the workforce helps them realize their potential,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian who proposed the County support. “Grassroots Ecology’s work with the San Jose Conservation Corps is a win-win for the community. Not only are these folk protecting our natural resources, they’re also educating and inspiring young adults to pursue green careers.”

Over the past two and a half years, Grassroots Ecology has provided 12 on-the-job training days to 90 San Jose Conservation Corps job training program participants, and educated more than 175 participants on why it’s important to support native species. Six additional training days are planned for the first half of 2022.

“The County's support makes it possible for young Corps members to work with us to improve habitat while building marketable job skills,” said Alex Von Feldt, Executive Director of Grassroots Ecology. “We are excited about equipping new generations with the skills they need to make sustainable land management not only an interest, but a viable career.”

Projects include Corps members working alongside City of Palo Alto staff to retrofit green stormwater infrastructure with water efficient irrigation and native plants that will support pollinators and other wildlife.

Members of Grassroots Ecology and San Jose Conservation Corps working in Palo Alto to install native plants.
Members of Grassroots Ecology and San Jose Conservation Corps working in Palo Alto to plant native plants.


On another project, Corps members helped to sustainably manage for fire by clearing out dead and invasive woody plants at Redwood Grove  a six-acre urban open space in Los Altos.

“Educating the next generation to be good land stewards is important in this climate,” said Simitian. “We need to make sure there are folks knowledgeable in creating and sustaining healthy ecosystems so future generations can enjoy our area’s natural environment.”

Grassroots Ecology is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for public lands and waters across Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. In collaboration with public landowners, governments, schools, corporations, and other nonprofits, Grassroots Ecology engages thousands of people in hands-on education and service each year to improve the local environment.

Learn more about Grassroots Ecology at



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