Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

ACTERRA: Action for a Healthy Planet

8,828 pageviews

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment

Mission: Acterra brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet.

Target demographics: Acterra is a San Francisco Bay Area 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Palo Alto that brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet. We focus on what you can do locally to address current environmental problems. In the face of daunting environmental challenges, our science-based approach instills hope while building community.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 500 individuals learn about environmental issues that face our planet and our region, and solutions that they can take part in to slow climate change and reduce their carbon footprint. We honored 9 organizations throughout the Bay Area for for their unique and important sustainability practices. From their stories, we can educate hundreds of local businesses on how to improve their own sustainability efforts.

Geographic areas served: Bay Area

Programs: Acterra's staff provides environmental education in the areas of energy and climate change, corporate sustainability, and advocacy to build an informed and empowered citizenry. Our programs include Energy and Climate, Business Partnerships for Sustainability, a Public Lecture Series, and an Environmental Library and Resource Center. Our programs engage people and companies in the Bay Area, with a focus on Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Our roots go back to 1970 with a long history of environmental education and action. Acterra and its predecessor organizations (Peninsula Conservation Center and Bay Area Action) developed innovative programs for wetlands preservation, residential and commercial recycling, green business practices, protection of old growth forests, environmentally responsible food choices, watershed management, habitat restoration, leadership development and residential energy conservation. Acterra now focuses its efforts on the most urgent issue of our time: climate change. We promote and support energy efficiency and renewable energy, transportation innovation, and sustainable business practices in our region. By popular demand, we are also expanding our public lecture series and community workshops.

Community Stories

94 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Acterra's volunteers are passionate, informed, and fun! I admire the organization's breadth of work, high impact outreach, and ability to talk about environmental issues in a way that is appealing to diverse audiences.

Comments ( 1 )

Acterra_membership Thank you very much! We are glad Acterra is able to provide a breadth of environmental work that has considerable reach and impact for a wide variety of audience across SIlicon Valley!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Acterra is an exceptional organization, comprised of dedicated and passionate staff, board members and volunteers who are truly committed to affecting positive change in the world through local action. They are leaders in their community and, in working with them on the planning of their annual Party for the Planet gala and attending their Business Environmental Awards, I was continually impressed by their ability to inspire and influence individuals, companies and other organizations to follow their lead and take positive, tangible action to affect powerful change.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I like to volunteer my time with Acterra as I highly value the work they do. They truly embody the spirit of local action that address global issues. Whether through education with their speaker series, or "hands on" activities such as their electric vehicle events, or acknowledging governmental agencies and businesses from small to large for their innovative and outstanding environmental programs, Acterra is focused in doing what they can to improve our world and I am glad to help them do it.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a member for many years, don't recall how many now. When I joined it was still called the Peninsula Conservation Foundation. I love Acterra because it keeps me informed on both local and national issue around the environment. I have attended many of their community events over the year and learned a great deal. I look forward to their lecture series which features excellent scientists, environmental entrepreneurs, thinkers, and community members. The most recent event I attended was in July to a group showing of "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" with a discussion group afterwards. The discussion group really added to my experience of the movie and I got to meet likeminded people who are inspired and help inspire me to take care of our planet!

Donor

Rating: 4

As a long-time donor to Acterra, I know that my contributions are put to work to create local solutions for a healthy planet. While thinking globally and acting locally, Acterra's science-based approach gives us hope while reinforcing community.

Acterra is now focused on the most urgent issue of our time: climate change. They do so by promoting and supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy, transportation innovation, and sustainable business practices in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I highly recommend Acterra!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a great community based environmental non-profit that is spreading the word locally about climate change and assisting people to reduce their carbon footprint. I participated in their Grren@Home which is part of their Energy & Climate program. This got my wife and I galvanized to successfully improve our carbon footprint of our home and cars. Also, their Business Environmental Awards are truly inspirational. https://www.acterra.org/bea

Client Served

Rating: 5

Acterra recently organized a viewing and discussion of a new film about Climate Change called "An Inconvenient Sequel." Their program both informed me and gave me a chance to interact with other interested people. Other programs they've done in the past have been excellent, too.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Acterra arranged for a very well attended preview showing of Al Gore's new movie in a local theater. Afterwards, close to 50 of the audience went to a local hotel bar where Acterra volunteers facilitated small group discussions related to the movie. For those of us in the climate movement, this was a great public educational experience and some networking at the after-show event has already resulted in some new connections for me. Thank you, Acterra.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Acterra for their first Ride and Drive event as part of National Drive Electric Week 2016. I've shown and offered test rides with my car at multiple NDEW events each year for 3 years now and was very impressed with Acterra's organization and how smooth and well run the event was, especially for a first time event! Their team did a great job.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've learned some really useful and practical things at two Acterra events this summer: a workshop about energy efficiency and a test drive event for EVs. The staff are very knowledgeable, and their commitment to environmental issues is contagious.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In one of the most innovative regions in the world, Acterra is helping to drive the most significant innovations for our shared future. Their Business Environmental Awards shine a light on breakthroughs in sustainability projects and practices in organizations of all sizes. As someone who works in technology, I find the stories and case studies of Acterra award winners as inspiring as any advance in technology. For individuals, Acterra's workshops and education programs provide a clear path for action. Acterra succeeds in creating a community of shared passion and purpose that leads to real change.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Acterra throughout high school and found the staff to be enthusiastic and knowledgable. Our workdays were productive and fun!

Donor

Rating: 5

Really did a great job on educating high schoolers and making a permanent difference in Arasterdero Regional Park.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Acterra is a truly outstanding organization that models the philosophy of "think globally and act locally." The staff and many volunteers are passionate, engaged and very effective and making things happen. Acterra's agenda encompasses some of the most important issues of the day, including climate change, water conservation and natural resources and habitat. I highly recommend getting involved with Acterra or supporting their work with a donation.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Acterra has been a tremendous asset to the peninsula area. The amount of work that a very small team does with its large set of volunteers for the environment is exceptional.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Acterra is a group that truly cares about making a difference in the environment and promoting better community engagement in awareness and protection. From honoring admirable companies' initiatives to group stewardship programs, Acterra is truly working hard to fulfill its mission. Plus its a team of wonderful and dynamic people!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Very helpful and have a lot of great information! I spoke to them about energy efficiency and the provided a lot of great resources.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

Acterra_membership 03/29/2016

Thank you! We appreciate your comment and happy to provide our community with resources on energy efficiency!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Helped me to learn a lot about California native plants and their impact on the ecosystem! Everyone is very knowledgeable, friendly, and incredibly helpful! Great community service opportunities.

Beth83

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an instructor at De Anza College and I have had the pleasure of working with Acterra for many years. Joanne McFarlin, a Senior Ecologist with Acterra, works tirelessly to ensure my students are provided with meaningful and inspiring experiences each year. Joanne leads field trips, teaches my students about stream health and water quality, and provides hands-on restoration experience through volunteer opportunities. She shows students in very tangible ways how an individual can make an impact on the environment through their choices and through community involvement.

Last spring (2014), we expanded our relationship with Acterra when Joanne invited us to partner with them in a restoration project at McClellan Ranch. Students in my class collected baseline data for the project, recording the incidence of invasive species of plants in the meadow at McClellan Ranch. To do this, Joanne and Barbara Banfield (Cupertino's City Naturalist) taught students how to perform point-intersect transects and to identify several species of plants. Honors students in my class compiled the data and wrote a report for Joanne to use in her official report. The data collected last spring will be compared to data collected by students in future classes so that changes in meadow species composition can be quantified as the restoration proceeds. I am extremely grateful to Joanne and Acterra for providing my students with the opportunity to do "real science" and to participate in the restoration of McClellan Ranch. Acterra provides my students with invaluable experiences, and I thank them very much.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a teacher at De Anza College and have worked with Acterra, specifically Joanne McFarlin, an Acterra ecologist, for a number of years. Each spring and summer, Joanne puts together an amazing experience for our biology students. She provides hands on experiences that include water quality monitoring, vegetation mapping and analysis, and habitat restoration. She teaches students how important the everyday choices we make are to protecting our environment. She is so passionate about empowering students that they can't help but be changed by the experience. Joanne also serves as an adviser to many students who do their research projects at McClellan Ranch or on Stevens Creek. She responds to their emailed questions, shows them how to use equipment and generally supports their efforts. Her help is one of the reasons students are able to complete research projects they are proud to present.

Our partnership with Acterra was especially rewarding last spring in part because Joanne agreed to meet with many of my students to work on restoring habitat at Blackberry Farm. Students volunteered to spend a Saturday doing this, and I asked for a little write-up about the experience. I was so impressed by what students had to say about the experience. They were emotional! They were passionate! They said they were working together in a community for a common good. It was much different than what I expected them to say about hours of manual labor in the hot sun. To illustrate this, here is an excerpt from one student essay: "The restoration workday at Blackberry Farm was led by Joanne McFarlin of the Acterra Stewardship Program. The organization of Acterra seeks to find ways to inspire and educate the communities in the Bay Area with the mission of creating healthier local environments. After spending the morning weeding out the hedge parsley with other classmates, I saw how meaningful the whole experience was. Not only did we do a nearly clean sweep of the invasive hedge parsley, I also saw a group of people united under the mission of Acterra: to create local solutions in creating a better environment. This experience showed me that it really is feasible to get a group of people together to tackle on some kind of problem, at least at the local level. That is how a movement really starts, after all, is when more and more people learn about a local cause. I really commend the people of Acterra for taking charge and inspiring the people in the Bay Area to be mindful of the environment and, whenever possible, to take matters into their own hands by volunteering or simply making better choices, such as recycling." Couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you Acterra and especially, thank you Joanne!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined Acterra relatively recently but have been very impressed with the dedication of the staff, volunteers, members and supporters of the organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For many years I have had the pleasure of working with Acterra, mostly as a volunteer pulling non-native plants and replanting with natives. Their organizational skills and environmental knowledge are impressive and make me feel my volunteer hours are very well spent. I also contribute in order to support Acterra's political and educational programs such as home energy audits and bans on plastic bags. We are lucky to have such an effective local organization that makes it so easy to participate.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Acterra is an amazing organization working to protect and restore the environment in the bay area. I have worked with them many times and every experience is a joy with volunteers and students. Their commitment and quality of service is testament to their dedication to environmental stewardship and is a critical asset for those living in the bay area. I cannot praise them more highly!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a high school science teacher and this will be the third year I've worked with Acterra to bring real, local science to my students. We have worked with the awesome folks at Acterra both in the field and in our classroom for at least a week each year having students sort and analyze data from local creeks. Students have contributed to real, useful research and found relevance to our ecology unit in both freshmen Biology and AP Environmental Science.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Acterra is one of the greatest Bay Area nonprofits I've had the opportunity to work with. The staff, especially the coordinators of the Green@Home program, are knowledgeable, kind, and helpful with every resident and client they interact with. The municipality I used to work with had a contract with Acterra, and their staff were always willing to go the extra mile to attend our events and work with our residents. Thanks to Acterra, I now have a much better understanding of the small easy actions I can take to save energy in my home, and better yet, I know how to spread the word in a productive, encouraging way. In my opinion, that is the most important aspect of the Green@home program-- increasing awareness about climate change and the small efforts we can make in our own homes to reduce our carbon footprints.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Acterra is one of the few organizations I know that is helping Palo Alto residents lower their carbon and energy footprint by being the resource that comes to your home and educations and makes recommendations for doing so. They are local and providing very specific services, rather than being all things to all people. They are also pulling non native plants from our beloved preserves. I've had a chance to work with them on this project. I appreciate the good work they do. One of their former directors helped me try to get a stop car idling project off the ground. She donated her precious time to my cause. That was tremendous.

This is what I know about the organization.

Ann_96

Client Served

Rating: 5

Acterra has been an invaluable resource for our high school:

Acterra has helped students at our high school get involved in all sorts of community service.

Acterra members have also helped lead field trips and taught students natural history and about environmental concerns.

They have recommended native plants that we used for campus landscaping.

One year Acterra volunteers trained all of our students to do home energy audits.

Acterra has helped with curriculum resources and other advice. They are a wonderful asset to the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Acterra is involved in several communities using many volunteers to do restoration in creeks and one for our town removing invasive weeds in and open space grassland. they're using students, church groups, and industry volunteers. They have pulled many cubic yards of obnoxious thorny weeds from an open space area which the nature conservancy help the town acquire long ago. this will allow native grasses and perennials to reappear. They are very responsible in reporting to the city exactly what they are doing, I am impressed.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 4

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.

Read more

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Gillian4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Clay B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Read more
Peter Drekmeier

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Felice K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoy helping do habitat restoration at the Arastradero Preserve. Acterra makes it easy to volunteer, and coordinated and employs people with deep knowledge and passion about the ecology of the area. I feel as if I can come when I have time, and I can always leave feeling I've done something that will help restore the native habitat in a local park.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a part of a class that interacted with Acterra volunteers in a school field trip. it was an environmental biology class and their volunteers were obviously super motivated and really passionate about the environment. They honestly made that field trip as well as the class unforgettable.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was amazing to learn all the invasive plants that are taking over the land for the native plants here! The directors explained everything well and answered any questions that any student had. Would definitely volunteer here again when i'm in the area!

Cheri D.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

mike@lanza.net

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I really enjoyed the two sessions I attended to plant trees in the banks of the San Francisquito Creek! Also, the person who was in charge of Acterra's creek programs was very generous with his time to come to my summer camp to explain the San Francisquito Creek to a big group of kids. Unfortunately, shortly after that, he was laid off, and now I don't know who to contact at Acterra about their creek work.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered on a Wednesday afternoon. The weather was great. I helped disperse the seeds of yarrow. Next, I removed tape from cardboard boxes. The group I volunteered with was big. I meet new and old friends. I like the experience of restoration habitat in a urban environment.

Tom C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Acterra both as a volunteer for the last 6 years and as a donor for the last 8 years. I have always been impressed with the expertise and good nature of the staff members and consider many of them to be good friends. I started as a volunteer with the Wednesday Weed Warrior program at Arastradero preserve in Palo Alto back when I was still working since it runs in the afternoon and fit well with my schedule. I have been retired for 3 years now, but the afternoons still work perfectly for me and I go out to do battle with the weeds every Wednesday. One of the things that I really enjoy is that after being a regular volunteer for so long I'm now considered one of the "lone rangers", long-time volunteers who work on their own whenever they wish in addition to the regularly scheduled programs. I spend another day out at Arastradero each week as a lone ranger where I can experiment with new techniques such as drilling out roots with an auger, and designing and building custom weeding tools with a perfect place to test them out under real world conditions. One tool is working so well that I am applying for a patent on it and am gearing up to put it into production. If that turns out to be profitable Acterra will certainly be the first on the list to benefit from it along with me.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I got involved with Acterra to help build a watershed sculpture under the direction of Acterra and Daniel McCormick, an environmental artist. Junko Bryant welcomed us and other volunteers to participate in a fun community project over Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday weekend. Since the community build in January, my husband and I have been going over to Redwood Grove to water the watershed sculpture about once/week while the willows get established and grow. We've really enjoyed getting to know Junko and meeting other people involved in Acterra and are very glad we can do our part to contribute to restoring and enhancing the Adobe Creek watershed in Redwood Grove. Thanks, Junk and thanks, Acterra for welcoming us and allowing us to contribute to this environmentally-sustainable project!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Acterra is unique in that it addresses local environmental issues locally. They have been in business, under different names, for many years and have accomplished an amazing number of things. Since Debbie Mytels took over as associate director, many new and wildly successful programs have been instituted, two of the most important being: "Green@Home," in which volunteers have done home energy audits in hundreds of homes in 5 different cities and "Be the Change," which has trained a couple of hundred people to be environmental change agents, either in their own businesses or by starting a project of their own. I have worked as a volunteer there in several different capacities and can't praise it enough because it gets the work done and is humane towards its staff and volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I originally joined Acterra because it was an environmental organization with a very local focus and I could see the results of my volunteer efforts in my community. Acterra approaches its work with scientific integrity and a healthy dose of fun - my volunteer time always feels worthwhile. Recently I had the opportunity to work closely with Acterra's Redwood Grove Stewardship program in Los Altos and the partnership exceeded my expectations. I've observed the transformation of the Redwood Grove since Acterra was brought in to manage the restoration and the changes have been dramatic. I worked with the Redwood Grove Director, Junko Bryant, to create a partnership between the Shaped by Water Exhibition at the Los Altos History Museum and Acterra to bring in artists Daniel McCormick and Mary O'Brien to create a living sculpture to restore a streambank at the Redwood Grove. The sculpture was made from live willow and other native riparian plants and was built with the help of community volunteers over the course of several weekends. Acterra helped find funding for the project, coordinated the signup and management of volunteers, gathered native plant materials and provided tools and facilities that enabled the entire project to run smoothly. Part of what truly exceeded my expectations were the excellent relationships Acterra had built with City of Los Altos staff which enabled this unusual project to move forward without delay - the city staff had developed a great deal of trust in the work that Acterra is doing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Cecile A.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization. Their Green@Home home energy audit was fantastic for my family- extremely professional engagement, easy and powerful opportunities for us to reduce our footprint on the earth and save money. We've also done several Acterra community service days at their open space preserves-- these were fantastic opportunities for my kids to learn about our local ecosystem and invasive species.

Previous Stories
20

Board Member

Rating: 5

Founded on the original Earth Day, Acterra has led with innovative local solutions to the toughest environmental challenges for two generations. Its first wave of successes created many of the most successful models of land restoration and sustainable business practices (recycling, EH&S, etc), which have been imported and adapted by many regions across the country. Its new wave of programs is focused on the hardest issue of our time: social engineering at the local level to accomplish rapid, meaningful carbon reductions across broad communities through natural social channels (churches, schools, neighborhoods, workplaces) and behavioral models (peer support, pressure, incremental commitment, etc). Its Green@Home, ActerraGreen, and related educational programs have proven their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness and are now being ramped up by many of the cities and organizations in the Bay Area!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Acterra provides our local community with hands-on skills and ways to change their personal habits to decrease their environmental footprint. Whether through carbon reduction programs or stewardship work, corporate awards, leadership training or fostering new non-profits, Acterra offers everyone a way to get and stay involved!

17

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in ACTerraGreen, Acterra's program for community efforts to fight Global Warming. The program was innovative and heard the voices of our school community. It felt fantastic to connect with others in trying to change our habits, and see the collective impact we could have on the planet. In an era of increasing "doomsday" messages where our children face the grim reality, this feeling of empowerment and action at the community level was amazing.

18

Client Served

Rating: 5

Acterra organized Palo Alto's Solar Homes Tour and did an excellent job with the event. They are closely integrated with our community with many programs to improve our local environment. I appreciate their focus on education.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

18 Holly Harris

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.