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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Environmental Volunteers, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Environment, Environmental Education, Philanthropy, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: To promote the understanding of and responsibility for the environment through hands-on science education.

Target demographics: inspire a love of science and nature.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 15,000 people.

Geographic areas served: San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties

Programs: 480 classroom programs and field trips each year, serving 10,000 local children in schools and 5,000 people of all ages at the EcoCenter in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

Community Stories

87 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

this organization is doing some amazing work. they have a variety of fun programs taught by people who are passionate about the environment and love working with kids. not only do they have in classroom sessions but they also have fun field trips! the staff and volunteers are really great. definitely worth checking out!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with the Environmental Volunteers efforts to keep their curriculum up to date with the Next Generation Science Standards and best practices for hands-on, minds-on inquiry based science. Because of these careful, well though out efforts, students have experiences both in the classroom and outdoors which aligns with what they are learning from their teachers. These experiences also enrich the instruction as the students are exposed to materials and lessons that would be hard for a classroom teacher to provide.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a docent with various groups for a number of years but have found my experience leading hikes and class room workshops with the Environmental Volunteers have been my most rewarding, due to the quality of my fellow volunteers and the breadth of the environmental science they offer K-6 classes. Much has to do with the extensive training that all of the volunteers must go through. From tide pool and baylands marine science to foothill ecology and earthquake geology, both in classroom and docent lead trail hikes, they offer some truly unique programs that support the elementary school's science curriculum.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My passion is introducing kids to the wonders of nature and the out of doors! EV's provides an extensive offering of in class and on the trail science kits to help teach a variety of environmental subjects that are not otherwise available to most schools. The classroom experiences are supplemented by the opportunity to experience real world field trips. The combination of learning about science, environmental stewardship and just plain having fun out in nature is extremely valuable in this world of nonstop on line connectivity! "This is the best field trip ever!!" from a city kid experiencing a mountain trail or a tide pool for the first time is about the ultimate reward for this volunteer!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am the Board Chair of an non-profit that was invited to attend the Silicon Valley Volunteer Fair organized by Environmental Volunteers on August 17th, 2019. I assisted at my organization table with another volunteer. Based on the event description we were hoping to meet some potential volunteers. Our expectations were far exceeded. We had two corporate representatives talk to us about potential volunteer days for their employees, as well as multiple highly qualified potential volunteers that expressed interest in us. In addition we had 22 people signup for our monthly newsletter which is very high relative to other events I have tabled at. I was personally thrilled with the quality and quantity of folks that stopped at our table.

The location was great and there was a good collection of other organizations attending .the event. When I arrived I was told exactly where to park and was given a map of organization tables that showed me exactly where to set up. Everything was well organized and efficient. Environmental Volunteers had staff and volunteers at their building onsite providing light snacks and drinks. So during a break from tabling, I was also offered a quick tour of their facility which was very interesting.

In summary, if this or a similar event was offered in the future, I would definitely prioritize it on my calendar, based on the great experience this year.

Jacqueline S.1

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned about this organization 10 years ago when I was interested in finding a more engaging way for my children's school to teach science. My husband and I are both scientists and have long supported science education. NOt just for the sake of creating more scientists, but because we believe a diversity of thought is important in today's world. This organization impressed me with its hands-on, inquiry-based, curriculum that focuses on the nature that surrounds the kids. The program is taught entirely by volunteers.
While the bay area is lucky to have many science education organizations such as the California Academy of Sciences and the Tech Museum in San Jose, this organization reaches the kids who are not likely to go to these museums because it is costly or something they and their family don't think of as cool.
I volunteered for this organization for a while, and the volunteer training is comprehensive and the organization supports its volunteers so they can be successful. The hands-on materials are well organized and regularly repaired. The teachers and kids are engaged and really appreciate both the in-class program as well as the corresponding field-trip.
This relatively small organization makes a huge impact. The team and board are extremely talented and engaged.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I retired from teaching 2 years ago I knew there was going to be two things I'd greatly miss--the children and discovering, learning and teaching about nature with them. When a good friend told me about the Environmental Volunteers program I knew it would be perfect for me in the way I wanted to volunteer in my community.
I'm excited as ever when the new school starts again! I teach hands-on kits in grades K-3 and lead field trips at the bay lands and surrounding foothills' parks. I 'teach and lead' but also continue to learn and discover with the children. Their curiosity and excitement is wonderful and energizing to experience. It always lifts my day!
EV has impressive training and a flexible schedule. The staff is the most supportive, knowledgable and fun group I've ever worked with. And the community of volunteers is an added plus. There's always opportunities for interesting and fun volunteer-staff activities and get togethers.
Now more than ever, it is so exciting to be a part of helping young people develop an understanding for the natural world around all of us and, most importantly, develop into the next caring generation of environmental stewards.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Environmental Volunteers gets me out of the house and enables me to give back to my community. I lead hikes in our local parks and open space and teach the EV kits in grades K-5 classrooms. I am able to share the outdoors and help students wonder about what’s there and appreciate it. It’s a wonderful feeling when you are in the classroom, and then see the same class outside and the students link the experiences together.

I do not have an education background and I’m not a earth science or ecology major. And that’s what’s so great about it. I am continuing to learn not only from the organization, but also their volunteers! The organization continues to evolve to the current teaching standards and revises their teaching accordingly.

I love the flexibility because it is different than other volunteer opportunities where you are scheduled for a specific time and day each week. Their online system lets me select the location, time and date, as well as subject I”m working with. It’s not always a perfect fit with my schedule, but there are plenty of opportunities available.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization - I'm proud to be an EV! The EV has many opportunities to volunteer, from the classroom to the EcoCenter to field trips. It's easy and fun, and the EV training is great!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization! I've been fortunate enough to serve on the staff, be a volunteer, and be a board member. The EV is so enriching for volunteers, but more importantly, so impactful for students, kids, and the community. I can't say enough great things about this amazing organization that has been making a difference in environmental education in our communities for over 47 years.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been and EV volunteer for 37 years. The organization continues to impress me with its mission, and the way it carries out that mission. Each day the EV pursues its goal of inspiring a love for science and nature with integrity, creativity, purpose and resolve. The programs improve each year, the staff is top notch and the volunteers are dedicated members of the EV community. The beneficiaries, of course, are our students - young and old. Each day we all learn from the EV to be better stewards of our precious environment and we lean a bunch of supporting science along the way. The EV receives my most ardent respect, admiration and endorsement.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Environmental Volunteers (EV) inspires students to become the next generation of environmental stewards. We do this by providing hands-on science education to over 10,000 local children and community members each year. Volunteers go into classrooms and engage students with hands-on learning materials and a thoughtfully developed curriculum. We also reach the community through programs at our EcoCenter.

I am one of those volunteers. For the past 36 years I have been involved with the EV in many different capacities. I have educated numerous students in natural science as a classroom volunteer. I served on the board of trustees for a total of 15 years at different times, including two stints as board chair. I currently serve on the development, nominating and education committees. I am part of a cadre of staff and volunteers who are in the process of revamping our entire curriculum, which has been an exciting and challenging experience.

I am inspired by the tremendous impact the EV has on people of all ages. Our volunteers, staff, board, students and whole EV family benefits from our activities:

• Providing hands-on science education
• Encouraging awareness of the interrelationships between people and nature
• Fostering an attitude of stewardship for the environment
• Providing knowledge and skills to children so they can make informed decisions about the environment.

We are introducing the natural world to students who have never spent time outdoors or stepped out of their communities. We are forming relationships that will last a lifetime. In educating the next generation of leaders and voters, the EV is helping me do my part to make a difference in the world.

The EV has provided an opportunity for me to use my love of learning, my passion for science education, my enthusiasm for helping improve the effectiveness of organizations and my zest for interacting with like-minded people to strive to make the world a better place. In my work as a volunteer I have provided a valuable resource to the EV, but I have received so much more than I have given.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity of going into the classroom with volunteers and seeing how wonderfully the volunteers interact with the students and how the students respond so positively. Also, I seen volunteers who've gone on hikes or explored the beach with kids who've never before seen the mountains or the beach -- and the kids come away with a new found appreciation for nature.

A very worthwhile organization, of which I'm proud to be a part.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

in two separate classroom sessions, I witnessed adult volunteers work with young students on various environmental education work sessions. The volunteers engaged with the students and the students were enthusiastic listeners and hands-on participants. It was heart warming to see how well environmental education can be provided and what valuable experiences can be given to students.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Environmental Volunteers has a fantastically dedicated and knowledgeable volunteer group and staff! It's amazing to see them in the class room opening the experiences of the students. And even more rewarding when the students learn in the field. The EVs have been educating and inspiring kids for 45 years (and always welcoming new volunteers).

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Environmental Volunteers does a wonderful job providing nature and environmental education and importantly experience to children in Silicon Valley. This is especially important in lower income areas (yes there are some) such as East Palo Alto. Some of these kids have little other opportunity to experience nature. The goal is to have children learn, love and respect nature and become stewards of our environment. The testimonials at our annual Wake up to Nature fund-raiser would confirm that we are being successful! it's a great organization, effectively and efficiently run with a very supportive volunteer corps.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Environmental Volunteers is a wonderful nonprofit that has been around for 46 years! It must be doing something right to have been around for so long. Science and environmental education is what they do. How they do it is by going into elementary school classrooms to augment the science and environmental learning that is taking place there. Volunteers bring 'kits', chosen by the teacher, into the classroom where students get to experience hands-on learning of particular science curricula. All of the kits and teaching modalities are based on the new science standards mandated by the State of California.
Volunteers also lead field trips in local parks and preserves to, again, give children hands-on experiences in nature in order enhance each child's understanding of the importance of our natural environment.
Other opportunities take place at the organization's headquarters, the EcoCenter, located in the Palo Alto Baylands where community events happen on a regular basis. Again the focus is on science and environmental education.

Donor

Rating: 5

I served as a board member for 6 years and am an ongoing donor. The EV is constantly reviewing their environmental education programs for kids to update and improve the materials and information. Now that the EV is in its Baylands home they use the gorgeous facility to inspire people in even more ways. I can learn about grey fox habits or enjoy an afternoon of opera surrounded by nature's beauty. The people who make up the heart and soul of the EV are down-to-earth wonderful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an elementary school teach, I had used EV programs in my classrooms. I had always been an advocate for involving young children more deeply in hands-on, basic science experiences — young kids eat this up. There is a great need to have these interests piqued early so they can begin to understand and see the beauty in the world around them and understand the basic stuff they will need to make intelligent decisions.

After retiring, the EVs seemed like a perfect place to continue carrying on something I loved. Now, looking back over more than 20 years of EV classroom visits & field trips, I know I could not have made a better choice.

Not to be overlooked is the wonderful community of many dedicated volunteers I have met, worked, and played with over these years. This has been a most remarkable, satisfying experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a child, I clearly remember the Environmental Volunteers (EV) coming to my school and doing a program with my class. The program involved creating a food web with a ball of yarn and finger puppets that represented each of the animals in the web. When the web was complete, the volunteer pulled on the web to show how each species is connect to and affects the rest. Today, I am a volunteer with the EV and do this same activity with students in local schools. I feel very fortunate to get the chance to connect kids to nature in the fun, engaging, and memorable ways that the EV provide.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The EV organization is what every nonprofit should strive to be - effective, well-run, of highest integrity and a beloved pillar in the communities it serves. I've been a volunteer docent and a supporter for years and am reminded at every point of coming in contact what a decent, dedicated group this is. I'm always delighted to tell people about the EV's and their tireless, critially important work in teaching kids about science, the environment and conservation -- something they simply do not get otherwise in school.

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter introduced us to EV. She was a 4th grade teacher at Oak Knoll School. Michelle's classes enjoyed bird watching among other experiences. The people of EV are committed to teaching children about their environment through field trips, classroom visits and many other outdoor opportunities. EV offers schools a wonderful means to enrich their own science programs.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Environmental Volunteers is an incredible organization that provides thousands of children every year with an incredible hands-on learning experience. I have never seen a kindergartener more engaged than when digging for microorganisms in bayland mud or a third grader when drilling holes in clam shells with an Ohlone pump drill. There is nothing more personally rewarding for me than inspiring a genuine passion for the natural world in young hearts and minds. In a perfect world, every child would enjoy the wonders that EV has to offer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Many years ago as a classroom teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed having the EV bring hands on activities for my students followed by a coordinated and meaningful field trip. Now as a retired science educator, I love the opportunity to be a volunteer myself sharing my enthusiasm for the natural world with children. Given that there is little time in the elementary classroom day for science, I believe that the EV experiences are so important for young learners. It’s especially valuable that the EV kits/lessons are coordinated to the California State Science Standards by grade level so that students glean a deeper understanding of what is in their curriculum.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer with EV for almost 20 years. I've stuck with it because I believe in the mission and I enjoy the experience. Although I am a native Californian, I have learned a lot about our environment from participating with EV. It has an excellent training program and offers wonderful enrichment activities to its volunteers. I like doing the hands-on activities with the children in their classrooms and I love taking them on hikes. I recommend EV to anyone who cares about the environment and is able to donate or volunteer.

Previous Stories
6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer docent with and donor to Environmental Volunteers (EV) for almost 15 years. Additionally, I was a member of its board of trustees for six years. I enjoy doing the hands-on natural science activities with the students in their classrooms and taking students on hikes. The EV organization supports me with training and enrichment activities, makes me feel appreciated and provides a structure for volunteering that works efficiently with my availability and interests.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Environmental Volunteers has a great training program for its volunteers... I learned so much about our local environment, and how to share it with kids that I felt confident and well-supported when I started leading field trips. The trips are fun, the kids full of surprises and (mostly) eager to learn. It's been a great experience for me.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization. Even people without either a teaching or a science background can help teachers in the local area provided critical nature and science education. The EV's training program is excellent. Not only do you get a chance to further nature and science education in the schools, but you also get the opportunity to learn about these subjects. As a retiree who has been a volunteer with the organization since 2007, I truly love the chance I have been given to learn about things I never had a chance to learn when I was in elementary school. The children so appreciate our efforts that it really makes you feel like you are making a difference. As a side benefit, the knowledge I have gained has helped me bring nature experiences to my own grandchildren.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been with Environmental Volunteers for two years. I am thoroughly enjoying the experience because I see how much the children Enjoy and Learn from our efforts. Plus, it's a pleasure working with children. I do a short ten minute or so introduction on the subject we will be teaching. All of the kits are a hands on experience for the children. For example, the younger kids love the marine skulls and bird skins. The older kids learn about earthquakes or energy and natural resources. The teachers choose which subjects and kits they want to have us present to their class. I feel we do a lot to support the children's learning experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Environmental Volunteers come to our school and give nature programs to the different grade levels. First graders receive education about birds. One center covers types of feathers, another types of eggs, and another types of beaks. The children are able to handle materials and learn specific information about animals operating in the food chain. When students are deprived of so much sensory education during these testing times, Environmental Volunteers bring back happiness and fun to education. Thank you!

Margot

Donor

Rating: 5

I have supported the EV as a donor, board member and volunteer for nearly 25 years and marveled at the way they have grown and responded to the changing needs of the environmental world and children with improved teaching and technology. The new Eco Center is very exciting and I am proud to be a supporter.

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15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served as a classroom docent for this fabulous nonprofit for almost ten years before returning to full time paid work. Teaching young children about the water cycle, tectonic plates or bird bills was very rewarding and helped to maintain my faith in the Socratic style of teaching. I then served on the board of trustees and discovered that the EV was also incredibly well-run as well as having passionate volunteers. Great place to put your time and your money.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization to join as a volunteer. The subject matter is interesting and the other volunteers are great people. Visiting classrooms is a blast as the kids are always enthusiastic. I was really impressed by the training and support for new volunteers.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an environmental education consultant, I worked with many nonprofit organizations in this field. Very few reach the caliber of the EVs on any, let alone every, count.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with EV for three years. It was amazing to see the children in the classroom light up when then understood the concept we were teaching to them. I suspect the hands-on learning will remain with them for a long time. Even if only a few of the students become environmentally aware, they will help make the world a better place.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined the EV organization a couple of years ago and try to spend one morning a month in the classroom. The children K-6 are amazing. They ask so many questions and learn by experience. Whether it's learning about earthquakes, birds or nature in their neighborhood they learn by doing. The organization has the tools to support learning by both adults who provide the service and also the children who are so inquisitive.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Scatman sez this about that: I have volunteered for the Ev for 23 years now as a service provider, field trip leader, board member, committee member and volunteer trainer. It is an extremely well run organization that provides hands-on environmental education to thousands of elementary school students yearly. I am proud to be a member of this group and hope to continue my activities with them for another decade or more.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an EV for many years. I find that the organization is extremely well run & very professional. Not only have I gains personally from my EV experiences but most important, the population receiving our services has gained & continues to gain tremendously. Words are inadequate to express the innumeral benefits from this group!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

EV came to teach my daughter's girls scout troop about local wildlife. Based on that hands-on experience we signed up for EV's summer camp. All these fun experiences support my children's appreciation for the habitats that are important for us to protect and preserve.

sandan@dslextreme.com

Client Served

Rating: 4

I have a friend who is an EV. She came to my after school program and shared her knowledge of pill bugs and snails. The kids loved it! I hope to be an EV myself after I retire! Keep up the good work!