Turning Back the Clock in Silicon Valley

For the past decade a dedicated group of enviornmentalists have spent thousands of hours trying to make 40-acre patch of California look like, well, California

By Garvin Thomas
|  Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013  |  Updated 8:17 PM PDT
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A dedicated group of environmentalists have spent thousands of hours over the past decade trying to make a 40-acre patch of California look like California.

A dedicated group of environmentalists have spent thousands of hours over the past decade trying to make a 40-acre patch of California look like California.

In Silicon Valley there are many people who still remember, all too well, when the dot-com bubble burst in 2000.

There are few, however, who remember it as fondly as one group of South Bay environmentalists. What makes them smile are not the lost jobs or devastated portfolios, but rather a window of opportunity the crash created.

In the 1990's the City of Santa Clara's municipal golf course, Fairway Glen, closed for good. Developers had their eye on a 40-acre section of that land along the Guadalupe River to build housing for Silicon Valley's exploding workforce. When the economy crashed, so did that need.

The group, including long-time Santa Clara Unified science teacher Dennis Dowling, then swooped in and convinced the city to the set aside the land as the Ulistac Natural Area.

For the past twelve years they have spent thousands of hours trying to restore native California plants to the area, and weeding out the invaders. They are, in essence, trying to make a part of California look like California once again.

To see their progress, watch Garvin Thomas' story above.

If you'd like to visit Ulistac in person, they are celebrating their annual Wildflower Day this Saturday, April 6th. You can find more information about the natural area, including the address here.

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