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A 10-acre property with 2 existing houses is not a typical POST project. But we were thrilled when we were able to take this small property and support staff housing for a local nonprofit that complements POST’s work, Vida Verde.
I first met Vida Verde’s co-founders, Shawn and Laura Sears in 2012, and I was immediately inspired by their mission “to promote educational equity by providing free, overnight environmental learning experiences for students who don’t otherwise get the opportunity.” After serving together with Teach for America, they founded Vida Verde (which translates to “green life” in Spanish) in 2001 in order to share our region’s extraordinary open spaces with disadvantaged students.
Take a look and see for yourself how Vida Verde is changing the lives of today’s Bay Area youth:
As Vida Verde grew, they struggled with finding an affordable and stable way to house their amazing staff. In a case of perfect timing, POST was in the process of acquiring 318-acre Driscoll Orchards property on Highway 84 near San Gregorio right when Shawn and Laura approached us to explore a partnership.
While we transferred the majority of the property to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) to incorporate into La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve, MROSD was not interested in a 10-acre portion that contained 2 houses that were perfect for Vida Verde’s needs. In fact, these houses happened to be located directly across San Gregorio Creek from the location of their main operation.
Vida Verde didn’t have the money to buy these houses from POST. But we wanted to lend a hand, so we set up a rental agreement that allowed them to use the money they would have spent on rent to fix up the houses. Since that time, they completed a capital campaign to raise the money they needed to buy these houses, along with the money to purchase a nearby property and construct a new barn for their long-term operational home.
On August 1 of this year, we officially sold these two houses to Vida Verde at the same price we paid for them in 2012. Congrats, Shawn and Laura on this milestone!
As a POST staff member, it feels good to have played a small part in the success of Vida Verde. As someone who grew up in this area and is now raising young kids here, it means a lot to me that there is a group like Vida Verde working to ensure all of our region’s youth have exposure to the transformative power of nature.
10 acres – small size, large impact!
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.