In 2000 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife purchased the property now designated the Cañada de los Osos Ecological Reserve (CDLO), east of Gilroy in southern Santa Clara County. The dual purposes for the purchase of the property were to protect and enhance wildlife habitat, and to provide a site for youth outdoor education. The Reserve's 5,800 acres of oak woodlands, grasslands and riparian habitat managed specifically for wildlife provide a unique opportunity to see and study nature and natural ecosystems of the central coast area of California. It is home to a rich suite of wildlife and native plant species, including game animals and special status birds, amphibians, and reptiles. The Reserve is close enough to the Silicon Valley to serve as an accessible outdoor classroom, but is remote enough to remain wild.
In a time when science programs are being eliminated from public school curriculum due to budget constraints, and in an area where urban and suburban youth often have few opportunities for outdoor activities, the Reserve serves an important role in providing a link to the natural world. The Reserve provides opportunities for youth participation in habitat improvement projects, such as developing water sources for wildlife, tree planting, and setting up a nursery for native plants. Youth hunters and anglers participate in hunting and fishing events on the Reserve, and educators use the Reserve as an outdoor laboratory for local school, scouting and college groups. New research projects and classes are coming on board through San Jose State University and Gavilan Community College. Some classes will be available to the community through San Jose State Field Studies in Natural History (contact Bob Clement at email@example.com). The Department of Fish and Wildlife's Hunter Education program also holds wildlife and hunter clinics at the Reserve on black-tailed deer and wild pigs. More information can be found on the California Hunter Education Program page on the CDFW website.
The Friends Cañada de los Osos Ecological Reserve is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization.