For keeping open space preserves safely accessible during shelter-at-home orders, Midpen received a medal for exemplary service from Supervisor Joe Simitian and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, and was recognized as a COVID-19 Community Champion by California State Senator Josh Becker.

Our Information Services and Technology staff also developed an health check application to help keep staff safe. For their work, the Municipal Information Systems Association of California awarded Midpen its 2020 Innovation Award.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, visitation to Midpen preserves increased 88 percent, and nearly doubled in popular preserves, highlighting the public’s need for a respite from sheltering at home. Dr. Curtis Chan, Deputy Health Officer for San Mateo County Public Health, hypothesized that future studies will show that equitable public access to nature saved lives during the pandemic. Dr. Nooshin Razani, Director of the Center for Nature and Health at UCSF, confirmed that two preliminary studies already show the more access a community has to green space, the lower its overall COVID rates.