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: improve the local environment to protect the entire planet
Direct beneficiaries per year: over 8,500 volunteers getting engaged in hands-on and solutions oriented opportunities. Since they were created our programs prevented 2M lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and over 10M gallons of water from being wasted.
Geographic areas served: Bay Area
Programs: Stewardship: Providing hands-on environmental education in urban ecology, water conservation, and habitat restoration. 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. Energy Program: Help communities take action to reduce global warming by making their homes more energy efficient. We trains volunteers, provides home energy audits and creates awareness of sustainable living practices.
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 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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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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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

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

As the City of Cupertino's Environmental Programs Manager I am very pleased with Acterra's role in creating public awareness, environmental stewards and in taking on restoration projects that positively impact the City and the extended community.
For many years, Acterra has provided hands-on opportunities for Cupertino residents to learn about creek pollution and how to do something to prevent it. Acterra staff regularly lead community volunteers in monitoring the quality of water in Stevens Creek and run an ongoing study of creek bugs to help determine aquatic habitat health. These citizen science programs not only provide helpful data, they serve to promote a sense of responsibility for and connectedness to our local habitats.
For the last several years, we at the City of Cupertino have depended on Acterra to assist, or take the lead on some of the City's most popular and beneficial programs: 1) Third-grade creek education field trips in partnership with the Cupertino Union School District (a study of bugs in the creeks to learn about aquatic habitat health and water quality); 2) Annual World Citizen Water Monitoring Challenge events to engage volunteers of all ages in the fun of learning to care for local creeks; 3) Coordinating ongoing volunteer days to remove non-native and invasive plants in connection with the City's restoration of Stevens Creek and; 4) Consistently hosting an audience-attracting booth and engaging the public at City events where the community may conveniently experience or acquire a taste for stewardship of our local creeks and other outdoor treasures. I am very grateful for Acterra's support and leadership in outdoor education. Thank you!
Cheri Donnelly
Environmental Programs Mgr.
Public Works Department
City of Cupertino
10300 Torre Ave.
408-777-3242
www.cupertino.org/environmental

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

Ensure that Acterra had the funding to expand and ensure the continuance of their programs which are valuable to the health and well-being of Cupertino’s community and provide rare educational opportunities for children and students of all ages in a fun, outdoor, hands-on experience that inspires a whole new love, appreciation and concern for our creeks and aquatic habitat.

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

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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

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

17 people found this review helpful

I have worked with Acterra as a writer and environmental activist for nearly ten years and am continually amazed and delighted by how the leaders maintain their integrity and emenance as an oasis of environmental sanity on the Peninsula.

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

maintaing successful community environmental activities.

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

dedicated and talented.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

Whenever any environmental issue is at hand everyone in the region looks to Acterra which is seen as our regional environmental. As someone working in East Palo Alto (a low income community next to wealthier Palo Alto where Acterra is based) I've appreciated the clear message that they want to be a factor for change in East Palo Alto, such as bringing home energy audits there.

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

being known as the environmental leader in the region

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

probably do very similar things as they are doing. I think they are right on in how they allocate their organizational resources.

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

their interest in quality of life issues such as employment efforts for low income youth of color

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

I have the utmost respect for Program Director Debbie Mytels

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

massively increase public involvement in efforts to work against global warming.

Ways to make it better...

As someone in another agency involved in a collaboration with Acterra I don't really see any issues to point out.

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

similar to other nonprofits - like of financial resources to make the maximum impact they could

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

The leadership of Acterra are career veterans of the environmental movement and bring unparalleled levels of experience

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

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

18 people found this review helpful

Acterra is a leader in it's field! They're innovative, imaginative, and incredibly resourceful and efficient. Their programs are diverse—ranging from home energy audits to habitat restoration with native plants. Acterra's "Be the Change" environmental leadership program has trained dozens of people to take action in their community. Every one of their programs has had a huge impact on the communities they serve.

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

our local communities. Its work has led to a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

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

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

meeting the fabulous, highly motivated, and energetic people involved.

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

devoted, friendly, and helpful.

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

spread its programs to other communities without having to depend on city funding.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to volunteer!!

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

resources (as with most nonprofits) and taking its carbon reduction programs to the next level.

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

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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