The Film Series

Silicon Valley of the Heart's Delight

A documentary series by Greg Kerekez, the title:“Silicon Valley of the Heart’s Delight” is a play on names associated with Santa Clara County: “Silicon Valley” combined with a historical term for the South Bay: “Valley of the Heart’s Delight.” Before the Age of Technology, our valley was filled with plentiful orchards, meandering creeks, and flowering hills. Many throughout history have commented on their Heart’s delight while reflecting on our Valley.

Consider this quote from famed botanist, John Muir, when entering the Santa Clara Valley, in July 1868. “With the Monte Diablo range on our left, those of Santa Cruz on our right; their union with the valley is by curves and slopes of inimitable beauty, and they were robed with the greenest grass and richest light I ever beheld, and colored and shaded with millions of flowers of every hue, chiefly of purple and golden yellow; and hundreds of crystal streams joined songs with the larks, filling all the valley with music like a sea, making it an Eden from end to end…”

Made for Television, this film series will showcase the amazing natural heritage and diversity of Silicon Valley, while addressing some critical issues currently facing the fragmented pieces of “Eden” that remain. Each episode will profile the citizens, organizations, and agencies; working to protect wildlife and wild lands of the Southern San Francisco Bay area.

Look forward to episodes titled “A Year with the Gray Fox”(profiling citizen scientist Bill Leikam), “Salmonids in the City”(citizen scientist Roger Castillo and Department of Fish and Wildlife Wardens), “Return of the California Golden Beaver”(Rick Lanman, Heidi Perryman, Urban Wildlife Research Project), “Burrows for Burrowing Owls”(Santa Clara Valley Audubon), “Nonprofits for our Lady Guadalupe” (Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, Friends of Los Gatos Creek, Ulistac Natural Area Restoration and Education Project), “Butterflies of Hummingbird Mountain and Coyote Ridge”(Santa Clara Open Space Authority and Mid-peninsula Open Space).

If you know a piece of Eden that should be showcased or would like to be involved in the project, contact Greg Kerekez: at

Here’s a preview of one episode from the series “A Year with the Gray Fox”

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San Jose Beaver Rescue

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Mama Beaver has been Rescued! Thank you to all who helped out: Wildlife Emergency Services from Moss Landing, City of San Jose Park Rangers, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, Urban Wildlife Research Project, Happy Hallow Zoo Staff, Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, Worth A Dam Martinez, and to family and friends who volunteered. What a great colaboration!!!!!

After 9 days of attempting to trap the Beaver with plastic stuck around her waist. Last night we ditched the trapping method and used a series of nets. Once Mama Beaver was on the river bank we pulled up a screen net behind her. Volunteers went in with 3 large hand nets and secured Mama Beaver to the ground. The plastic strap was quickly located and removed, she was then crated and taken to Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley for a check up. The Center examined her and found no wounds so with in the hour she was released back in to the water at Beavertown 🙂 Videos coming soon!

Here’s a great article and video on the beaver by Wildlife Emergency Services

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Red Fox-Vulpes vulpes

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One recent morning, while out just before sunrise, I encountered a curious Red Fox. It met my stare with a calm, lonesome look and seemed to enjoy my company. As I took portraits of the fox it rolled in the grass, licked the morning dew off a pipe, and scratched many itches. When it was time to head home the fox watched from the center of the trail as I left the area.

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Red Breasted Sap Sucker

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The Red Breasted Sap Sucker is a rare spot for birders in downtown San Jose, California. Signs of the Sap Sucker’s presence are rows of holes bored into tree trunks and branches. They partake of the trees sap by carving tiny reservoirs in the tree. The tree, in an attempt to heal its wound, releases sap which is easily accessible to many types of wildlife: hummingbirds, songbirds, squirrels, and insects all reap the benefit of the Sap Sucker’s hard work.

After 4 years of seeing signs of the Sap Sucker, February 15th, 2012, I spotted one just north of Coleman Avenue along the Guadalupe River. As I examined its’ territory I noticed big scarring on one of the main trunks utilized by the Sap Sucker. Late last year, brush and trees were cleared and the Sap Suckers territory grew smaller. Sap Suckers prefer old growth forests. With few remaining old growth trees and continuing urban development in the Santa Clara Valley, one doesn’t have to speculate as to why the Sap Sucker is infrequently spotted. Your best chances of spotting one, in the valley are the various preserves in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Guadalupe Oak Grove Park. Keep your head up for the rows of holes in Eucalyptus, Oak, Cottonwood, Willow, and Sycamores trees.

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Early Spring along the Guadalupe River

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The last week of March along the Guadalupe River in San Jose, CA was full of the common indications of Spring: heavy rain,  mating rituals, nest building, and chick rearing.  I observed a Mocking Bird collecting man made materials along the river bank. It then flew to a near by tree were it started weaving the fibers into an existing nest. The nest was made up of many other man made materials like plastic and cotton.  Another evening I came upon 3 Great Egrets and 2 Great Blue Herons hunting in a close proximity to each other, in the same grass field.  It was an exiting experience to be surrounded by the Greats. They were snapping up insects and frogs while cackling back and forth to one another. That evening, I also witnessed a pair of Red Shoulder Hawks canvasing the orchard together looking for rodents and resting periodically.

The trash piles along the Guadalupe River grew larger during the last week of March due to heavy rain storms.  Debris were found at six feet high, wrapped around trees. Large collections of trash, 20 feet in diameter, were visible from the trail.  The largest pile contained shampoo, household cleaner, medicine, spray paint, sports balls of every kind, propane tanks, a pallet, plastic bottles, motor oil bottles, and much more. We will have our work cut out for us at the Guadalupe River Clean Up on April 30, 2011. (see article below)

On the evening of March 30th, 2011 I spotted a pair of adult Kill Deer watching over two new born chicks.  As I approached, the mother pretended to be hurt to distract me from the chicks.  She began flopping around and calling loudly.  She would then fly a short distance away from the chicks to try to get me to follow. The father flattened himself on the ground and did not move a muscle.  The two chicks stayed close to father, but as I got closer the father joined in and began putting on his show.  As to not aggravate them further I got my shot and left the parents to tend their young.

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Guadalupe River Spring Cleanup: April 30, 2011

This April, join fellow citizens of San Jose in cleaning up the local waterway, the Guadalupe River. This event will be rewarding as well as educational. During the cleanup we will be surveying and identifying wildlife; as well as dissecting the trash piles to speculate where the trash comes from, how it affects the environment, and what we can do as citizens to improve the Guadalupe River’s condition.

The Guadalupe River flows through the Silicon Valley providing habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. The success of these species can be swayed by humanity’s impact, so it is crucial that we all take an active part in positively impacting the environment.

The Guadalupe River Spring Cleanup begins at 10:00am on April 30th. Parking is available at 533 Coleman Ave. in the Target shopping center (in front or behind the Target Garden Center).

Volunteer Check in will be across New Autumn St and will begin at 9:30am. All volunteers must check in before they begin cleaning.  The day will start with a volunteer orientation covering safety precautions and the day’s goals. Then, we will divide into groups with specified rolls. Volunteers of all ages are welcome, minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Come Prepared: Eat a hearty breakfast, bring gloves, a reusable water bottle to minimize waste (Target will provide water and cups), sunscreen, work clothes, and boots (the more waterproof the better). Also, if you have extra: 5 gallon buckets, trash bags, trash pokers, or gloves, please bring them as well.

Just The Facts:  Guadalupe River Cleanup April 30th @10am-3pm.   Parking at 533 Coleman Ave. Meet at the river access on New Autumn, Volunteer check-in table will be visible from the road.

Questions? Contact Greg Kerekes – email: Tel: (916) 217-5605

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Water Bottle 101

©2011 GK Imagery

Photograph taken       Jan 20, 2011.

Take their water, package it in poison, then sell it back to them. The World Water Market is currently grossing 7 billion dollars per year. Corporations have pumped municipal water supplies dry and are selling it back to us at a 1900% mark up. Pristine environments in small communities are being purchased and towns, once sustained by an abundance of water, are now seeing devastating effects on lake, river, wetland, and creek levels, which inevitably leads to struggling human, wildlife, and plant populations. Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning. The water bottles, with their “pure” image, are made from Polyethelyne terephthalate (PET estrogen synthetic), Pyrozoline (pesticide and carcinogen), and Diethylhydroxylamine (DEHA a carcinogen). In the communities where the bottles are manufactured, cancer, birth defects, and disease rates are immensely higher. Therefore, the air, earth, and water are being contaminated with carcinogens (cancer causing agents) by self serving corporations (Coke, Pepsi, Nestle, and many others) for the pleasure of your dollar. Once out in the world, the contamination continues. The plastic from the water bottles begin to degrade and leach the hazardous chemicals into our ground water. Not to mention, the ocean is becoming a sickening plastic soup. Profits are being made while we are living with toxic environments and bloodstreams. Strangely, the FDA has assigned but one person to the health and safety of bottled water. Even more shocking, bottled water companies are not required to make the results of their water tests public.

Cities around the U.S. test and retest their water multiple times a day in order to make sure it is safe enough for the public. We have the power to make the system of getting this life-giving staple to the people even safer by fostering the health of our waterways.

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Expect more, Get trashed

©2011 GKImagery

Photograph taken Jan 20, 2011

Paper or plastic? Neither! There is no need for the convenience embodied by that question. Oil and Trees, both valuable recourses, do not have to be harvested for the purpose of providing people with an unnecessary convenience. Briefly reusable and unsustainable, these bags have been polluting the earth for decades; paper grocery bags since 1852 and plastic ones since 1977. We have produced so many bags that they hang from trees, scare motorists on the freeway, and clog the waterways. San Jose, California recently passed a ban on some types of single use plastic bags, set to take effect in January 2012. Until then, thousands will continue to be passed out at liquor stores, grocery stores, and department stores.

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Chester Tree

Photograph taken Jan 20, 2011

Chips, a one minute salty snack packaged in a forever lasting plastic wrap. How can this be? Since the late 1950’s the amount of products packaged in plastic has exponentially risen every year. Chip and candy companies spend millions on convincing us with advertising, low expense, and taste bud trips, that their products have a necessary place in society. Yet, Obesity and Diabetes are on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, 24.8% of Californians are Obese and 8% are Diabetic.

The packaging for these products is made with Polyvinyl chloride, which causes cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, among other health problems. With this knowledge, one would think that there would be faster movement away from wasteful, harmful foods packaged in toxic film.

At the Guadalupe, the chip bag and candy wrappers are outrageous. After each rain storm, and consequential flood, the number of chip bags increases, while the amount of land and the physical health of the plants and animals, humans included, decreases.

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Serene Enamel

Photograph taken               Dec 14, 2010

An all to common sight at the Guadalupe River Parkway is the spray paint can. This can floated by as I was photographing a pair of Hooded Mergansers. The ducks were startled by the shinny spray can and retreated into the brush along the river bank. I turned my lens to the can and immediately began to wonder what chemicals this container could possibly be leaking into the water.

As I began to notice more and more spray cans in the river, I started collecting them. First, to get the harmful chemicals out of the water, and second, to demonstrate the substantial number of them one can find in a single strip of the river; between Coleman and Taylor.

When hiking the Guadalupe, one can sometimes smell the spray paint before coming upon it on the banks. I found that spray paint contains many harmful chemicals: Xylene, Toluene, Acetone. All are harmful to the brain and nervous system and they can be potentially fatal. The metal can oxidizes overtime, corroding the metal, causing leaks in the cans. The contents of all cans, including pesticides, home cleaner, and paint are flowing through the water, and thus, all who come in contact with it.

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