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Green Spaces Alliance
108 E Mistletoe Ave
78212 San Antonio , TX
United States
29° 27' 11.2464" N, 98° 29' 19.7664" W
Texas US
Address 
Green Spaces Alliance
108 E Mistletoe Ave
San Antonio, TX, 78212
United States
Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas
General Information

The mission of Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas is to sustain the natural environment and enhance urban spaces through land conservation, community engagement and education.

Green Spaces serves the community by keeping South Texas green. With the help of board, members, staff, and corporate and community volunteers, Green Spaces:

• Preserves large parcels of land

• Fosters community gardens

• Educates the public

OPEN SPACE CONSERVATION — THE LAND TRUST

Over the past 15 years the City of San Antonio has conserved about 135,000 acres of land in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone (EARZ). Bexar Land Trust, dba Green Spaces Alliance (GSA), has assisted the City to protect over 50,000 of these acres — by deed or purchase of conservation easements. As the local land trust, GSA’s mission includes accepting easements on land outside the City's program — supporting a culture of conservation in our community. At present we hold conservation easements on three parcels — two in Bexar County and one in Kendall County. Numerous individuals and families have approached GSA to assist in conserving land and its ecological values for future generations, a critical role we cannot accept without necessary resources. GSA also has interest in optimizing endangered and threatened species habitat.  GSA also owns two conservation properties, one in Kendall County ("Lockett") and one in San Antonio ("Bulverde Oaks").   GSA has begun to build trails on Bulverde Oaks, with plans to expand trails and include educational features for the public.  Bulverde Oaks is also home to 11 hives of rescued honey bees.

COMMUNITY GARDENS

The community gardens program has nurtured over 40 gardens to date, with interest continuing to grow. The program provides start-up funding, mentoring, educational workshops, and other support to neighborhood groups, building community strength and social capital at every step.

Green Spaces Alliance’s Community-Supported Gardening Program started in 2005 as a series of discovery meetings with a wide range of community stakeholders. Those meetings revealed a strong need for additional publicly-accessible green spaces in the city. Stakeholders indicated an awareness of many vacant, underutilized, and unkempt lots and a desire for community gathering spaces where neighbors could come together to nurture the natural environment.

In 2006, the first three pilot gardens (two vegetable and one wildscape) were identified and the program was fully underway in January 2007. Since then, the program has fostered more than 50 community gardens throughout San Antonio.

Today, the program enriches the built environment and quality of life in San Antonio by engaging a broad range of stakeholders who eagerly rally to establish and maintain a diversity of urban green spaces. These green spaces catalyze community unity across generations and cultures, nurture holistic environmental awareness through service-learning, and contribute to individual health through physical activity, improved natural atmosphere, and quality nutrition. The program grows more than green spaces; it cultivates curiosity, motivation, generosity, and friendliness and raises the next generation to strive for more urban green spaces, access to fresh produce, and civic participation as standards, rather than exceptions.

The program’s involvement in local community-supported greenspace projects includes guiding neighborhood groups with community organizing; designing and constructing gardens; promoting local gardening practices; managing funding and budgets; providing tools; coordinating volunteers; and teaching the community about conservation, organics, permaculture, and recycling materials. The program staff members have developed a series of best practices and regionally appropriate techniques that they share freely with inquirers from across the country.

YOUTH EDUCATION

Since 2002, Green Spaces Alliance has introduced thousands of children to photography and the wonders of nature through the Picture Your World Youth Photography Program. Starting in September and ending in April, Green Spaces’ program instructor, a professional photographer, and a naturalist lead workshops that teach students the basics of photography and build their appreciation for the natural world. The workshops take place at beautiful outdoor sites throughout the San Antonio area, such as Government Canyon, Medina River Natural Area, Warbler Woods, and Friedrich Wilderness Park. Weekend workshops are held monthly on a Sunday afternoon and are open to all area youth ages 8-18. Green Spaces provides digital cameras to students who wish to borrow one, or participants may bring their own. Picture Your World provides a unique opportunity for youth to engage with nature, hone their observational skills and explore aspects of science and art while creating a visual memory of their day.

In addition to the weekend workshop programming, Picture Your World provides photography lessons and nature education outreach in our elementary program. Currently our Elementary Program services the fifth grade classes of two schools: Franklin Elementary (SAISD) and Henry B. Gonzalez (Edgewood ISD). Each year these elementary schools receive two opportunities, one in the fall and one in the spring to explore and photograph two different natural areas thus creating a broad and rich outdoor education experience.

n May, the program culminates with a nature photography competition. The competition is open to all area youth and applicants can submit up to three images per entry. Three local artists jury the competition and cash prizes are awarded in two age categories: 8-12 and 13-18. Applicants can submit up to three images and Green Spaces Alliance exhibits the winning and honorable mention photographs and honors participating students at an annual photo exhibit and awards ceremony. Entrants and winners in this and past competitions include those from the SAISD and Edgewood ISD Picture Your World Elementary Program along with photographers from others school districts, private institutions and homeschool students throughout Bexar County.

The images of our Texas wildlife and flora enthusiastically captured by our Picture Your World participants illustrate why Green Spaces Alliance is dedicated to conserving our natural environment and engaging a diverse community in the enjoyment of the outdoors.

PUBLIC EDUCATION

In addition to our gardening workshops and youth photography workshops, Green Spaces Alliance’s adult education efforts include collaborative programs on a wide range of land-conservation topics. GSA regularly attends conservation-oriented activities to provide information, answer questions, promote our mission, and make connections throughout the community. GSA staff participates in boards, panels, and committees related to our mission.