ACTERRA: Action for a Healthy Planet

Rating: 4.95 stars   77 reviews

Issues: Environment, Water

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.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

EIN 23-7064937
650-962-9876
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I originally became involved with the Acterra stewardship project with my son, whose initial experience was through a school-sponsored program. We have been working with this project now for 3 years, and the changes in the redwood grove have been both subtle and dramatic. We appreciate the effort organized and managed by Acterra for projects that improve and sustain local habitats so that they may be enjoyed by current and future members of our town and surroundings. The Acterra staff, well represented by Junko Bryant, are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.

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?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

What drew me to Acterra originally was the organization's focus on the hard work of behavior change. Working with people, house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town, to enable more sustainable living, is the "deep work" that drives any social movement toward a tipping point. It's much harder than education or advocacy. I've been a board member for about six months, and am tremendously impressed by the hard work of the staff, the transparency of process, the willingness to adapt strategically to a changing (economic and political) environment, and the passion with which all involved fulfill their commitments to the organization and to being good stewards of the environment.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Acterra as a donor, volunteer and former board member since its inception. In my opinion, no other local environmental organization leverages the energy and expertise of volunteers on behalf of our environment as does Acterra. Its reach is very broad, both programatically and demographically, which affords citizens a range of opportunities to get involved in the helping to solve the environmental challenges that they see as being the most important. Most important to me, as a teacher recently retired, is how much focus there is on outreach to young people. This is particularly true of the stewardship programs which offer young people a chance to get out into nature and do something positive with their hands and their heads. The program landscape is structured to allow maximum flexibility to be able to respond to the most pressing problems that need our attention, while continuing to support such long range commitments such as the San Francisquito Watershed initiatives and the Arastradero Preserve Stewardship program. Over the last decade plus, Acterra has engage thousands of citizen-environmentalists in its efforts to effect change from the ground up, many of whom have become regular stalwarts of their various programs. In the current large scale political environment, in which progress towards resolving issues is snail-paced at best, grassroots efforts such as Acterra are where the responses to our severe environment challenges are actively being pursued. I am as proud of being a part of this fabulous organization as I am of being a grandparent whose grandchildren will benefit to no end from our efforts of today.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I really enjoy working with Acterra staff and volunteers in a nice park in my home town of Los Altos. It looks more beautiful at the end of every work day. And I a appreciate how much farther my city's dollars go when much of the work is done by volunteers who enjoy a friendly and useful work-out among the trees.

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?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am the Treasurer of a small local community group who's mission is to lead and educate the community in local sustainability matters. My group became a fiscal program of Acterra effective July 1, 2011. Acterra is continuously evolving and seeking ways to accomplish meaningful environmental goals to make our planet a healthier place for current and future generations. Acterra's focus is on making a difference at the local level versus raising funds just to grow at any cost. Acterra's stewardship and fiscal programs are a great example of synergistic efforts to make a difference in the community. Acterra's newsletters and educational seminars are also extremely valuable in educating the community and making our planet a better place to live.

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?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra is a local group with a long record of both taking direct action and empowering the action of individuals and other groups. Acterra keeps a native plant nursery and engages volunteers to remove invasive species and replace them with native plants. Acterra trains leaders in their year-long Be the Change course. They host numerous educational events around environmental issues and solutions. ( I just read about one on carbon offsets, today.) They train volunteers to help residents take simple actions to reduce their energy use and plan to reduce it further though their Green @ Home program. (I was a Green @ Home volunteer.) And now they focus on homes with high energy usage to make major energy reductions, resulting in an even larger impact. Acterra also supports the efforts of other local environemental groups, by co-sponsoring and publicizing their events through their e-newsletters and on-line calendar. (Our local group has benefited from such co-sponsorship. ) Acterra also serves as the umbrella organization for several local environmental groups that do not choose to become and independent non-profits, empowering local groups to continue useful work.

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?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra is an incredible leader, but it manages to stay personal and connected with the community. Acterra does this by inspiring and creating positive energy. The staff is wonderful!

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?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I'm a environmental nut and I love this organization - Acterra. After a great training, I'm able to visit a home and make recommendations concerning energy savings. It's a blast. Besides this Green-at-Home program, Acterra has other programs such as removing non-native plants in our parks. It's very hands on, which appeals to me. Not only can I help the environment, I can meet like-minded people, too.

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?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra is simply not your typical environmental organization. For example, they are the only organization that i know of that completes environmental/ energy efficiency audits of the home. And they really get into it, in measuring shower and sink water flow to determine the shower is efficient or not, (and recommendations for a replacement), measuring electricity use (and if you have incandescents vs LED lighting) for both big stuff and small including vampire loads. Where they helped us the most was with our relatively new fridge/freezer. The setting on the freezer was 2F (an acceptable "efficient" freezer temperature) But when the Acterra volunteer energy auditor measured the freezer it was actually -14F (much colder) - with a laugh, he asked if our ice cream coming out of the freezer was like a rock - it was! Obviously we were also wasting energy keeping stuff much colder than it needed to be. And we would have never found this out without Acterra. And as part of the audit they estimate how much upgrades (incremental or whole house) and work out a payback due to the energy savings. They also hold classes in native plants/ and have youth programs.

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

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

This is a wonderful organization that engages thousands of community members a year in environmental projects that support the community locally and globally. We need more non-profits like Acterra engaging the public in environmental solutions!

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?

2012

Was this review helpful?