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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Earth Force, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Environment, Physical & Earth Sciences, Technology, Youth Development

Mission: Earth Force engages young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities now and in the future.

Results: Earth Force engages young people through their educators. In 2016, Earth Force trained and supported 395 educators in 215 schools to reach 28,999 young people. Our programs focus primarily on middle school students and their educators. Participating educators use our award winning Community Action and Problem-Solving Process that guides young people through a scientific progression of discovery and decision making to identify an environmental issue, determine the root cause of that problem, and then use community engagement strategies to bring about changes to local policy and practice to alleviate the problem. Earth Force combines mastery experiences and hands-on application to engage students in high quality applied learning experiences. Participating students are asked to apply learning from the classroom to problems they have discovered in their communities. This technique is a key element of learning to be problem solvers.

Target demographics: K-12 youth, educators

Direct beneficiaries per year: 28,999

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: We develop young people with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to solve tough environmental problems. Earth Force does this by providing educators with the training and support they need to create an engaging, hands-on classroom that empowers students to solve environmental problems. Earth Force has a long history of developing materials and preparing educators to facilitate youth-led action projects as a part of their science course. Educators have guided students as they have leveraged data collection and field experience to launch systemic efforts that protected local nature preserves, convinced school systems to install water bottle filling stations, and installed hundreds of small green infrastructure projects.

Community Stories

77 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

In a world increasingly driven by organizations or initiatives with stylistic visual "packaging", but often lacking in substance, Earth Force rises above the fray with high quality youth programs with long-term impact. Beyond the logos and graphics, which Earth Force does well, one quickly realizes the organization is about the people and community. Earth Force representatives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina have always been there for us as a partner in a regional education consortium. Phone calls like "Can you help us spread the word about summer camp?" to "Can you help gather a youth group for storm drain marking", are always answered with "Yes, we'll be glad to support the effort!" There are no territory issues, no egos, just the work, a spirit of collaboration, and the community goals. In the field of environmental stewardship, it becomes evident that change begins at the community-level, and often youth are the ripples in the pond that impact their families and communities. Earth Force programs reinforce the community ideal and aim at developing a long-term relationship, not just an episodic event, with youth.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Earth Force has been instrumental in creating an environment for service learning for children through various programs across the United States. Students study the concept of what makes a community and how to assist communities in their needs. They explore their local area, connect to various constituencies, and identify several projects that seem essential to the health and welfare of their community. As a group, these children, with the help of the Earth Force process, democratically decide what project is the most necessary. At this juncture they become educated on the issue, why it is an issue, and the reason there is such a need in this area. After looking at the issue, they explore various ways of mitigating the problem and put together data that explains what needs to be done and how this can be accomplished. The outcomes have been profoundly wonderful: (1) one group found there were higher amounts of lead in the drinking water of a community with the highest amounts in the poorer areas. They came up with a solution that pleased their local city council and mayor and helped eliminate in part, the issue. (2) A group of teachers who went through this process so they in turn could do this in their classrooms found five projects for energy savings at a U.S. Forest facility, Land Between the Lakes - Brandon Spring in TN/KY. The outcome was they had made recommendations to install LED lighting in one large building, the costs of which would be amortized in the first year; savings of 92,000 gallons of water by the replacement of top load washers to front loaders - as well as energy for pumping the water from the well, hot water, etc.; a new energy efficient stove that has saved on air conditioning and energy lost in the industrial kitchen since the old Viking stove took half of a day to melt butter. Earth Force bridges the gap between learning and service, between purposeful problem solving and Core Content, between school and community, between parents and students. Their work also has been successful in motivating children to contribute to their communities and to become engaged in working hard to be the "best that they can be." Undoubtedly Earth Force, their staff, their programs are indicators of a passionate approach to making education purposeful not only for children, but in the context of community. I have seen their work first-handed, and the outcomes with children and adults have been profoundly exceptional and successful.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Earth Force commitments to helping young people understand and appreciate our watershed is invaluable. Earth Force clearly recognize that laying a foundation for well informed natural resource leaders of the future we have to work as partners with the youth in our community today. Earth Force is a model organization in youth engagement!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a 6th grade Science teacher in Arlington, VA. Earth Force has made me a stronger steward of my environment, and thereby has made my students better environmental stewards. Earth Force has provided me the tools and the motivation to get 6th grade students eager to participate in an environmental real-life project. Earth Force has helped my students participate in stream clean-ups, micro-invertebrate study at the Four Mile Run near my school, and water chemistry analysis.

The Caring for our Watershed contest is a wonderful opportunity to ignite my students' passion, curiosity and eagerness to think of solutions to help protect our watersheds. Earth Force has enabled my students to develop skills that will help them become life-long learners and advocates for the environment.

I am grateful that this wonderful organization is available to share their knowledge and their resources with students and our community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a 6th Grade Science teacher at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, VA. Our Science students participate in a program with a community group called Earth Force that ties in with our state curriculum. Earth Force encourages students to evaluate the water quality in their local stream and create a Civic Action Project to help improve the overall health of the stream.

Every fall, my students take a trip to the Four Mile Run, the stream closest to our school. We work closely with Kurt Moser, Earth Force Director, to sample, test, and analyze water quality from the stream. We usually find that there are high amounts of Fecal Caliform Bacteria (F.C.B.) in the water. F.C.B. includes e Coli and is dangerous to human health. Kurt works with students and teachers to research causes of F.C.B. and current policies and practices relating to water quality.

After analyzing the data, students work in groups and create a Civic Action Project. Each project is designed to improve water quality in our local stream. The projects change each year because the students have different interests and strengths. Our students have built rain gardens, made formal presentations to the School and County Boards, taught younger students about what causes pollution in our streams, and have even created raps and videos that teach the importance of water quality.

We are so fortunate to work with Earth Force! We hope to continue this partnership for years to come.

Victoria Keish
6th Grade Science Teacher
Kenmore Middle School
Arlington, VA


2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Led by a group of creative innovators, Earth Force has supported students at George Washington Middle School (GWMS) located in Alexandria, VA in becoming active eco-citizens. My involvement with Earth Force began six years ago when I attended a training on using the Earth Force curriculum. Since first learning about the programs offered by Earth Force I have received consistent and positive support in implementing the programs that allow our students to solve real world problems in their community. The dedication of this non-profit has led to an improved community and an engaged youth that understand how to make positive change.

Earth Force has given our students the opportunities to showcase what they can do to make a difference and allows them to earn funds through the Caring for our Watershed Grant Competition. The past several years, our students at GWMS have earned nearly $4,000 toward making ecological improvement to their watershed. The student-led approach to the curriculum allows students to find and use their youth voice in a positive way. Additionally, partnerships that Earth Force maintains, allows our students to reach a global audience.

It is with their support and the teaching style I now use based on the Earth Force curriculum that I received the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators in 2013 from the White House Council on Environment Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The essential elements that Earth Force provides allows students to become actively involved in solving environmental issues. They provide grant funding through the Caring for our Watershed Competition, designing curriculum geared to teaching students to solve global issues, and showcasing student work to a global audience. With the tools that Earth Force supplies, teachers are equipped to actively engage students in finding innovative solutions to improve their watershed.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a participant in the Earth Force program for over 16 years, I can say with great confidence that Earth Force's Caring for Our Watershed program inspire students to take responsibility for their environment. My sixth graders learn that their opinions matter and that there are wonderful people who will assist them in their goal to solve a problem within their watershed.
Throughout the process, from identifying the problem to researching solutions and actually carrying out the solution, Earth Force supports the teachers and students. It may be through providing supplies and assistance when water testing or coming and listening to students verbalize their concerns and brainstorm ideas for solutions. Volunteers from the students area of interest come and help students' ideas become a concrete plan. The financial support makes it a reality.
My students are now stewards of their watershed because of Earth Force.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Earth Force is a wonderful organization that supports a great cause for the nation's most impressionable demographic - our youth. The organizational leaders and the individuals who support it through employment, board service, donations, and messaging merit high praise and appreciation. To develop an educational framework that promotes sustainability, accountability, and social/environmental responsibility is so impressive. The Earth Force process works and the message resonates. The next step is to expand the message and get more people involved through increased funding. Easy enough...

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

How do you spark interest in students and volunteers that lasts and makes them want to learn more, do more, help more, and become more engaged as citizens? Put simply, Earth Force.

Over the last decade, Earth Force has made serving and improving our community exciting, easy, and fulfilling. It sets itself apart by empowering youth voice and creating long-term solutions that make sense for our community. After the program, students have reflected with comments like “this project helped us show adults that kids our age can do more than just play video games,” and “now I want to pick up litter when I see it and help teach others why they should, too.”

Earth Force takes the guesswork and headache out of typical non-profit issues such as funding, media, and support so we can focus on connecting with youth and cultivating better business and community practices. We cannot say enough about this organization’s culture and professional, passionate team. Earth Force’s collaborative approach and program framework are an icon for non-profits and for the future of environmental education in North America.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I joined the Board of Directors four years ago, the organization was in a serious point of charting a more defined, and clear path for ourselves. That time of pressure and decision-making has become a maiden for ingenuity, efficiency, and growth. Today, the organization stands at its greatest since I have joined the organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Earth Force has been a wonderful partner of Groundwork Anacostia River DC. Because of their wonderful team and devoted environmental work, we've been able to connect with middle school students and encourage environmental leadership and stewardship.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Leslie Science & Nature Center has been working with Earthforce, Inc. for many years with the GM GREEN program. We have continually been impressed with their professionalism as well as their dedication to the environment and striving to be the leader in educating and engaging youth. I look forward to many more years of collaboration with Earthforce, Inc.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the leader of an effort to bring the environmental movement to the inner-city from an inner-city community based perspective, Earth Force has been the only major K-12 environmental organization that has heard what I have been attempting to get others like them to hear.

We in the inner-city only receive what is perceived as the caliber of programs that are needed. No one takes the time to see or ask if indeed this is what is needed, it is just taken for granted that what is being offered will work or prove to have benefits.

Not only did the executive director of Earth Force listen, and hear, she actually came to my city (Kansas City, Kansas) toured my communities for herself while I explained what I saw as being a need. Then she met with various key citywide stakeholders. After which she started working from her perspective to find a way to work within what I had described as our most needed areas.

From that effort came an after school program where a local environmental organization received funding from Earth Force & EPA, to teach 130 students in the science department inside a local high school within the low-income community.

The organization taught the students how to teach elementary students second semester how too actually use a scientific process to professionally test the water is a nearby lake.

At the end of the first semester, 10 of the 130 students were hired to teach one of 10 one day a week after school classes for 25 students from an elementary school that was located 2 block from the lake.
At the end of every class the student teacher, would receive $100 cash.

I could go on and on listing the benefits of this program, but needless to say, the dynamic of this program can clearly be seen by anyone who truly understand the kind of scientific education we need in our inner-cities. It was an example of a program that could easily be duplicated all over the country.

And it was a program that truly came from the bottom up, and not some program that was created, and given to the community as what it was felt they needed.

Earth Force had the ability and leadership to see what it was I was saying needed to be instilled in our communities as an initial STEM education approach. They also saw how a worthwhile program in some inner-city community center, could be complimentary to what was being taught in the public school systems.

As far as I am concerned, Earth Force is light years ahead of others who are involved in our STEM K-12 educational programs, as far as their understanding of a real inner-city perspective. They actually listen, and are willing to take a chance.

For that they receive my recommendation as one of the best environmental Non-Profits in America, and I have personally worked with a lot of them, in one way or another.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Earth Force is an organization that serves as an example to so many others. Their process seamlessly integrates STEM, individual skills development for youth, and community engagement. Participants gain essential skills they will be able to apply in any setting. Earth Force is well established with a great reputation, yet manages to stay current and innovative.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Earth Force has been an extraordinary partner in our work to better tap into the expertise and power of youth here in Denver. Without Earth Force the voice of youth is smaller, less exposed and heard by fewer.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be part of an organization that can mean so much to our youth by engaging them in a passion that can accompany them through the rest of their lives. The board and the organization is committed to make a difference and is constantly evolving from day-to-day to get its message to as many children as possible through the most efficient of platforms as possible.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Earth Force is an amazing organization with a mission that really hits home, I myself being a teenager. I am currently in Earth Force's pilot program "Friends of the Force," which trains Earth Force's perspective youth board members and I have to say that I really admire everything Earth Force has done. The people I have met through Earth Force, have really opened my eyes and helped me better voice my already existing opinions. All the people I have met are such strong, passionate, easygoing individuals, I find myself aspiring to be like them. Through Earth Force I have access to another side of Environmental Education and Youth Leadership. Earth Force is a truly amazing organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working as a youth member of Earth Force for about three months now, and it's been a phenomenal experience. They've provided me with personal guidance to pursue my passions in environmental activism, and allowed me to exceed what I thought was my fullest potential. We've faced an uphill battle at my high school in attempting to rebuild our recycling program from the ground up, but Earth Force is making it possible. I'm proud to work with them, and even more proud of the work I've done with them.

Deborah104

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a start up organization and new kid on block, Earth Force gets partnership. The staff and organization in general have been supportive and instrumental in our mission to support girls of color in STEM. In addition, the knowledge and depth about Water Shed learning and hands on implementation is excellent. I look forward to more collaborative work with the organization, and when it comes to water learning - Who Do You Call? Earth Force.

Deborah Fard
Dr. Justina Ford STEM Institute
Denver

Client Served

Rating: 5

Earth Force is a great organization that supports "water Education" here in Denver. I was fortunate to learn about them at the Project Wet conference in July held in Denver. My students last year were very excited to use the materials I was given by Earth Force. They were able to interface with city departments regarding storm drainage and created a way to educate the community about storm drainage, water conservation and water pollution This year, my new class of 5th graders are also excited about Earth Force and are looking forward to doing a community project as well. This type of learning experiences are remembered for a long time after. Thanks for being there

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Earth Force is a great organization here in Denver. They have an abundance of great resources for any non-profit in the Environmental Field (lessons, give-aways, trainings, helpers). They always attend our events and educate the public!