ACTERRA: Action for a Healthy Planet

Rating: 4.95 stars   77 reviews

Issues:

Location: 3921 E Bayshore Rd Palo Alto CA 94303 USA

Mission: Acterra brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet
Target demographics: improving the environment
Direct beneficiaries per year: over 6,000 volunteers getting engaged in hands-on and solutions oriented opportunities. Since they were created our programs prevented 2,800,000 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and over 9,900,000 gallons of water from being wasted.
Geographic areas served: Bay Area
Programs: Green@Home, which helps communities take action to reduce global warming by making their homes more energy efficient. Green@Home trains volunteers, provides home energy audits and creates awareness of sustainable living practices. The Stewardship Program, which provides opportunities for individuals and groups to learn about ecology, have fun, and participate in restoration work. The program is currently restoring sites throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo County. Plants for the restoration work are grown at our own native plant nursery. The Business Environmental Awards recognizes and celebrates Bay Area corporate environmental leaders. Any private or public business entity, division or facility located in Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara or Santa Cruz County is eligible to apply. Non-profit organizations are eligible if environmental work is not their central mission.
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More Info

EIN 23-7064937
650-962-9876
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra has many activities and tasks for improving the environment and promoting sustainability. The program that I like best is their green@home program. In this program Acterra sends trained volunteers to a house at the owner's request to perform a whole house energy audit. Then the volunteers suggests techniques, technology and lifestyle changes that can reduce the overall energy consumption of the household. So far thousands of such house calls have been made. It not only saves the owner of the house money by making those suggested changes but reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted. This is truly a program that works and makes a difference and to top it all it is completely free.

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Rating: 5 stars  

This extract from the ED's report tells it all:

During the past year, our Stewardship Program engaged over 6,000 volunteers, the majority young people, in habitat restoration projects up and down the Peninsula. They repaired creek banks, monitored water quality, removed invasive vegetation, installed native plants and trees, and in the process, learned about our native ecosystem and the importance of improving its health.

Our Green@Home program’s skilled volunteers helped hundreds of homeowners and renters make their homes much more energy efficient. Their collective efforts prevented nearly 3 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere while saving each resident hundreds of dollars and, even more importantly, making them more energy conscious.

In short, Acterra’s programs make a real difference, and it is critical that they do so! Climate change is already upon us, and it is crucial that all of us rapidly adopt environmentally sound behaviors. As a regional organization, we have consciously chosen to play a leadership role addressing climate change right here in Silicon Valley. Our hope is that what we do here will serve as a positive model for people in other regions to emulate.

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1 previous review
Rating: 4 stars  

Acterra came to our home and conducted a home energy audit. They gave us some great suggestions to reduce our energy usage. Inspected and adjusted our refrigerator and furnace settings. They also came armed with goodies such as low flow adapters for the faucets, CFL's and smart power strips. Not only that, they motivated us to do a better job conserving energy which were immediately reflected in lower utility bills. Thank you Acterra.

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

As a recipient of the Green @Home program i found the volunteer house call service to be excellent in getting my wife and I focussed on what we needed to better Green our Home. They not only told us what to do but led the way in spending several hours getting us started. Thank you Acterra.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra is an invaluable asset to Silicon Valley. From working with schools to replace grass with drought tolerant landscapes, to restoring native habitat, to helping us reduce energy and water usage through the Green at Home Program, to recognizing corporate environmental leaders through the its annual Business Environmental Awards, Acterra is working hard to protect the Bay Area's environment.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a college professor and the wide range of volunteer opportunities Acterra offers are great in providing my students with hands-on learning experiences. My students give me a lot of feedback on their positive experiences working with Acterra staff in terms of their enthusiasm and knowledge. I also volunteer with one of the projects and really enjoy the camaraderie and direct applicability to improving the environment

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I teach at Foothill College and have volunteered for the Stevens Creek monitoring project for years. I have sent many students to volunteer for course credit/assignments and have had lots of positive feedback regarding there experiences working on numerous restoration projects at multiple sitesincluding Blackberry Farm in Cupertino, Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto and Redwood Grove in Los Altos. I also bring classes to Stevens Creek to work with Joanne McFarlin on restoration and water quality monitoring. Acterra's best quality is its focus on teaching volunteers how to actively make a difference in their world.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

Actera is doing a fantastic job in a dual role of communicating important issues to the community and also taking direct action to improve our environment.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra has multiplied my impact with their excellent programs and knowledgeable staff.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

My interest in water conservation and native plants led me to Acterra. I attended a rain barrow installation workshop and was deeply impressed with their knowledge and dedication to the environment. Because of Acterra and their variety of events, I have learned not only about native plants and water conservation but also creek restoration, fish habitats, the importance of riparian zones, and creek water monitoring. I took on a leadership role in a local non-profit from my experience with Acterra. Their program model for restoration involves local community education. Much of my knowledge and experience of environmental issue was gained through Acterra's rich programs. Teaching our communities to be better stewards of our land will propels all of us to reach our environmental goals and reduce future problems with water and land use.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Role out satellite organizations throughout the area.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I enjoyed the past two summers with Acterra as part of a small group of college interns. My interest lies in habitat restoration, which is what attracted me the most to this non-profit; the chance to gain valuable hands-on experience in a variety of habitats. What really makes Acterra so successful, in my opinion, is the people. Each member of their staff comes from a different background, and were more than willing to patiently answer our questions. While their expertise lies in different fields, their goals are united -- and that energy was contagious. The women and men at Acterra are responsive, humble, fun to work with, and incredibly supportive.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

We co-sponsored a Zero-Net Energy Solar Homes Tour with Acterra for the second year and it was a great success. We had over 200 people register which was an increase over the previous year. Acterra has earned a great reputation with the local community, city departments and the press. So they were a real asset to the process. Acterra has a can do attitude and they are fun to work with. Thanks much!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra is an amazing force for then environment in the community. I particularly like there skill in engaging and training volunteers to do great work for the environment. I volunteered for the Green@Home program that trains volunteers to do energy audits and install simple energy saving devices for homeowners and renters. They not only engage the community at the end user level, but the volunteers are local as well. They also do a great job at collecting metrics and scientifically comparing outcomes to continuously improve the program. They also firmly believe in having fun as part of the experience. I also appreciate their EcoCalendar and newsletters that have many interesting local green events co-sponsored with other nonprofits.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

Acterra has been amazing with the breath and forward looking vision. I started with their Green@Home program volunteering to do free energy audits. They provided training and we worked in one city, now we are doing 5 cities and growing. And they followed up with people to measure how much energy/CO2 was saved. I volunteered at anther non profit the Clean Tech Open and discovered that Acterra had incubated it. So they don't have the feeling like they need to do everything. They can nurture something that can grow to be even bigger and better on it's own. Then I wanted to transition to a green career and they offer an environmental leadership course which helped transform my thinking and put me into the network for environmental change. And yet they still have things like walking tours in a local preserve. It's also important for them to keep things positive, not just focus on the negative environmental impacts. It's about what we can do to make a difference.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Reducing energy use and CO2. Fostering new environmental organizations. Creating communities of environmental leaders.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

They focus on positive actions and offer fun, practical activities to help.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Staff is great, warm and friendly as well as knowledgeable.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world. They have been asked by many people to replicate the environmental leadership program in different areas, but they don't have the funding. Also the Green@Home program could be dramatically expanded to more areas.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra has been a tremendous partner in our neighborhood creekside habitat restoration project. We began clearing non-native plants from the San Francisquito Creek corridor and planting native species in 2010. Acterra has provided plants, tools and volunteers. This year Acterra received a grant to put even more time and resources into the project, and we're looking forward to doubling our efforts. This fall we will likely plant more than 1,000 native plants, benefitting both wildlife and the esthetics of our neighborhood. Thank you for all your support, Acterra!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

Last December I helped launch the Silicon Valley chapter of 350.org, an organization focused on climate change. Debbie Mytels, of Acterra, has been very supportive in helping our fledgling organization establish itself. We have benefited from her expertise in organizing events and handling publicity. She has helped us with nuts and bolts challenges like finding meeting space. Acterra models a healthy cooperation among local environmental groups.
Shirley E.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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