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  

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

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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  

I've volunteered with Acterr's Green@home program for over two years now. From day 1 of the training I was very impressed with how much information we were being taught and how thorough the training was. The "hands on" experience learning tasks that we'd have to perform for residents was invaluable. (Especially the tricks for remembering which way plumbers tape goes on a low-flow aerator).

I really enjoy doing green@home "housecalls" for our local residents who are eager to learn ways to reduce their water, energy usage and carbon footprint. They are usually very appreciative of our efforts which makes for a very satisfying volunteer experience. And it warms my soul knowing I've helped make one more residence a little greener!

Everyone I've met affiliated with the organization and their supporters are warm, friendly and genuinely concerned for the environment. Like-minded individuals I want to be around!!!

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

Having my own Green@home "housecall" and reducing our energy and water usage in a rental!

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

Get them an "IT" person so that they could be even more effective with their valuable time.

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

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Learned new skills, meet new friends, and it seems that every housecall we learn something new, even from the residents!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

The passion and dedication of the folks who work at and volunteer for Acterra is amazing and the programs are well thought out and make use of proven behavior changing techniques. Their Be the Change leadership program was fantastic, and it has been a great experience to train with the Green@Home project and do some housecalls to improve energy efficiency and awareness.

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

improving energy efficiency in homes and training environmental leaders.

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

all the wonderful passionate super smart people I've met.

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

very smart and very dedicated and inspiring.

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

protect a lot of open space, work to create green collar jobs improving energy efficiency in buildings.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

Acterra is beautifying one of our bike paths near the historic El Palo Alto. They do a great job planting natives and keeping the weeds there at bay.

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

the beautiful native garden at El Palo Alto.

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

Learning about the native plants especially the overlooked grasses.

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

Arnie Thompson

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

save water in our thirsty chaparral community, by showing everyone how to xeriscape with native plants instead of watering lawns.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

High points for really acting locally, engaging schools and homeowners in work that can make a difference. The energy audit program which should lead to weatherizing and insulating projects is one of the single most important things an average citizen can do to save energy.

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

Pearson-Arastradero Preserve

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

Good communication and outreach into large corporate businesses that can influence Bay Area culture

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

Very professional and very focussed, especially a few individuals who are pursuing 'encore' careers.

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

Influence big infrastructure projects like passive solar construction and urban planning around transit centers

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

I recently became aware of a new program of Acterra's named ACTerra Green. As part of the effort to reduce our carbon footprint, Acterra is applying the latest learning in social marketing to motivate changes in behavior. ACTerra Green works at the community level, a school, church or workplace, and gives the entire community a challenge to reduce their energy usage. The individual effort is magnified by the power of the group, so each individual begins to believe they are really making a difference. Bravo Acterra!

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

Motivating individuals and groups to make the changes necessary to reduce their carbon footprint.

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

keep up the great work.

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

knowing I'm helping make a difference for something I really care about.

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

Really smart, imaginative thinkers.

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

Bring ACTerra Green to every community in the country.

Ways to make it better...

Acterra had more money to do more.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

money, money and money.

One thing I'd also say is that...

ACTerra should continue to invest in marketing its great track record and reputation.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

People may say that they wish to become involved locally but don't know where to begin. The Acterra EcoCalendar, a frequent listing of local environmental events ranging from movies and lectures to vigorous physical activities, provides a means for people of all ages and capabilities to participate in local environmental improvement. This is an easy way to discover how you may get involved in a way that suits you best. Find the Acterra EcoCalendar at http://www.acterra.org/calendar

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

bringing people out into the world of environmental action.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

I have worked for Acterra as a volunteer. The organization has vision, focus and a passion for the environment. They take thoughtful and intelligent steps to achieve their goals. Acterra's "green@home" program is one example of their vision of sustainability. Under the direction of trained volunteers, homeowners learn simple steps to reduce their overall consumption. Small steps, huge dividends.

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

constructive meetings that develop creative solutions to environmental issues.

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

try to raise more money for it.

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

that their enthusiasm is contagious.

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

sincere, smart and dedicated.

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

go nationally with various programs.

Ways to make it better...

I have only had positive experiences.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

raising funds in a down economy.

One thing I'd also say is that...

It's refreshing to work with people who are so passionate about what they do.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

Acterra has sponsored workdays to clean up our local creek (San Fransisquito Creek), and to improve creekside vegetation with removal of invasive non-native species and planting of native plants. The workdays have been well-organized and fun, with lots of participation. We count on Acterra to help our watershed. -- Julie Spickler Menlo Park, CA

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

Enthusiastic participants in creek clean-up; kids learning about the creek.

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

do pretty much what they're doing now.

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

getting to contribute directly to the improvement of the environment.

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

friendly, helpful, enthusiastic and encouraging.

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

get involved with more projects and reach more people to educate them about caring for our environment.

Ways to make it better...

Workdays were held on Saturdays later in the month.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

getting more people involved on a regular basis.

One thing I'd also say is that...

They're a great group!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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