Julie Hutcheson, a longtime Morgan Hill resident and environmental advocate for the South Bay, is the new executive director for Green Foothills.
Hutcheson has been on Green Foothills’ staff for more than 12 years and has taken an active role in leading the organization, most recently as Director of Impact.
“I’m honored to lead Green Foothills, which has been a local, vocal and extremely effective champion for local nature in the South Bay and on the Peninsula for more than 60 years,” Hutcheson said.
Hutcheson has lived in Morgan Hill for nearly 20 years and raised her son—who recently enlisted in the U.S. Marines—in the community.
As an environmental advocate, Hutcheson has been involved in a number of farmland and open space preservation efforts in South County and beyond—including Coyote Valley, the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan, Tilton Ranch and others. She was also instrumental in the City of Gilroy’s 2016 Measure H, which established an Urban Growth Boundary in that city.
Green Foothills is a nonprofit that is dedicated to the preservation of open space, farmland and natural resources in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Since 1962, Green Foothills has worked collaboratively to protect nearly 200,000 acres of nature and farmland from sprawl development, advocating on more than 900 land use issues and 60 ballot measures, says a press release from Green Foothills.
Hutcheson is also the co-author of two publications on agriculture in the Santa Clara Valley: “Small Farms, Big Potential: Growing a resilient local food system” (2020) and “Santa Clara County Food System Assessment” (2013). She holds an M.A. in Slavic Linguistics from the University of Virginia.
Moving forward, as executive director of Green Foothills, Hutcheson’s focus will include an increasingly challenging scope as urban sprawl and climate change threaten many of the region’s last undeveloped properties.
“We’re going to work to make sure that the San Mateo County coast is protected and managed appropriately in the face of rising sea levels—the Dunes Beach campaign is one example of our current projects on the coast,” Hutcheson said. “We’re going to throw considerable energy into preserving key wildlife corridors like Juristac in southern Santa Clara County so that wildlife can migrate between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range as the climate changes, and we’re partnering with local indigenous tribes to do that.”
Hutcheson added that Green Foothills appreciates the Morgan Hill City Council in recent years showing its support for the preservation of Juristac, which is also the ancestral home of the Amah Mutsun Tribe.
Hutcheson’s efforts as executive director will also encompass the creation of a more inclusive local conservation movement—in part through the Green Foothills Leadership Program, which the organization has recently expanded to include training for Spanish speakers, Hutcheson said.
Morgan Hill City Councilmember Rene Spring is one of many local officials who has been aware of Hutcheson’s advocacy work over the years.
“I have always been very impressed by Julie Hutcheson’s passion, dedication and support to protect our open space, agricultural land and all of Coyote Valley in the southern Santa Clara County (and) Morgan Hill area,” Spring said in a press release from Green Foothills. “Julie always does an amazing job advocating for the causes of Green Foothills, and does it with wit, intelligence and warmth, always respecting other people’s thoughts on various topics.”
As of Oct. 1, Hutcheson replaces former Green Foothills Executive Director Megan Fluke, who recently stepped down after 10 years leading the organization.