The Conejo Open Space Foundation was established in 1995 as a 501(c)(3) (nonprofit corporation) for public and charitable purposes. The primary purposes of COSF are to raise funds to promote and maintain the open space and multi-use trails of Conejo Valley, and to educate the citizens, especially the children, as to their roles as custodians and protectors of the open space and the environment.
COSF is entirely self-supporting and is funded through yearly individual, business, charter and corporate memberships, and through individual and corporate donations and grants. Funds received by COSF are highly leveraged through the extensive use of unpaid community volunteers and other in-kind donations. Members of the COSF Board of Directors donate their time and receive no monetary compensation for their services. Donations to the Conejo Open Space Foundation are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. To become a member or to make a donation, visit our Membership page.
Some of the programs, projects, and events supported by the Foundation are listed below:
A significant goal for the Conejo Open Space Foundation (COSF) is educating the public about the Conejo Valley's extensive trail system, and about the plants and animals living in the Conejo Open Space. Educational projects include:
- Trails Education Days
The Conejo Open Space Foundation supports the Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee (COSTAC) in coordinating an annual environmental education program for Conejo Valley fifth graders. Nearly 40,000 students have taken part in Trails Education Days since its inception in 1992. For more information, see the Trails Education Days page.
- Community Outreach
Foundation volunteers periodically set up information tables at local trailheads and at local events to hand out trail maps, and to provide education and information about the extensive open space in the Conejo Valley.
- On The Edge
COSF joins the National Park Service and On the Edge in a wildlife and community fair open to the public. The focus of the event is to teach us how to co-exist with our wild neighbors, and how to lessen our impact on the environment. We are all living "on the edge" where our wilderness and urban areas meet.
- Earth/Arbor Day
The Foundation hosts an information booth at the Conejo Valley's Annual Earth Day/Arbor Day festival. This event makes environmental education fun for the whole family.
- Career Fair
The Conejo Open Space Foundation participates in the annual Conejo Valley Unified School District's Career Fair, which is open to students of all ages. The Foundation provides information on environmental careers, and has been joined by environmental professionals including Park Rangers, a Land Use Planner for the City of Thousand Oaks, an urban anthropologist, and a cultural resource manager.
The Conejo Open Space Foundation supports and promotes many volunteer programs. In the past year, our volunteers donated nearly 6,000 hours to open space projects and programs. Working with other organizations and with residents of Thousand Oaks, the Foundation endeavors to ensure that the trails, canyons, and ridgelines will be preserved for future generations. Volunteer programs include the following:
- Trails Education Days
Scores of volunteers come together to help make this annual educational event a success for Conejo Valley Unified School District fifth graders. A student's day in the open space begins with a volunteer led nature hike, followed by animal demonstrations, trail safety and courtesy, and presentations by Park Rangers. For more information, see the Trails Education Days page.
- Trail Work
The Trail Work program is managed by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) and the Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee (COSTAC), and it is supported financially by the Conejo Open Space Foundation. Trailwork events include Spring Trail Work Day in March and the annual COSCA Trail Work Day in the fall. For more information, see the Trailwork page.
The Adopt-A-Trail program is designed to encourage local participation in the on-going maintenance and building of public trails and related improvements. Through the "adoption" of specific trails, or portions of trails, an individual, group, or organization agrees to be responsible for the maintenance and/or development of a trail or a trail segment located within the Conejo Open Space system. For more information, see the Adopt-A-Trail page.
- Trail Patrol
Trail Patrol is made up of volunteers including hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians, whose purpose is to provide additional information and safety for those who use the COSCA trails. They wear uniforms and ID badges, they are certified through a formal training program, and they are equipped with communication devices and first aid packs. For more information, see the Trail Patrol page.
- Trail Watch
Trail Watch volunteers are regular trail-users who report their observations to the Park Rangers after their outings in the Conejo Open Space. The Trail Watch reports include numbers of other trail-users endountered, wildlife sightings, rules violations, and anything unusual. In addition, volunteers may provide trail information to other visitors, re-supply trail map boxes, and pick up trash/debris along the trails. For more information, see the Trail Watch page.
- Resource Stewardship
This program offers volunteers the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of natural resource-related open space stewardship, management, and education projects such as non-native species control, invasive plant eradication, or the restoration of sensitive resource areas within COSCA’s open space system. For more information, see the Resource Stewardship page.
OPEN SPACE PROJECTS
Some other projects supported by the Conejo Open Space Foundation are:
- Conejo Open Space Trail Maps
The Foundation develops, prints, and distributes trail maps for the most heavily used COSCA areas. Each year, thousands of these free maps help trail users enjoy our open space and increase safety and awareness of the Conejo Open Space trail system.
- Open Space Information
The Foundation regularly publishes and distributes information about the Conejo Open Space, including a history of the Conejo Open Space, schedules of outings and events, environmental education material, and volunteer opportunities.
- Stream Cleanup
Volunteer work parties periodically remove trash and non-native plants from our waterways, thus improving wildlife habitat.
- COSF Website
Our website is a resource designed to educate and inform our community about the Conejo Open Space. It provides education and information about the Conejo Open Space, including trail maps, open space photos and videos, descriptions of plant and animal life, a listing of group outings, favorite hike routes, volunteer opportunities, contact information, and much, much more.