The EV is an awesome organization! I joined in 1977, and have been a volunteer, former paid staff, former team member of volunteer education. My fellow volunteers are like extended family and we always feel appreciated. Connecting children to their environment is imperative so that they will want to sustain it, and will want to go out and enjoy it.
Working with the EV, I have visited school classrooms with hands-on science materials and followed up with field trips to a local area, such as the San Francisco Baylands or the foothills. We have tasted pickleweed and looked at animal scat to learn more about our natural surroundings. Volunteering with the EV for 30+ years, leading school trips, working in the office, and helping with fundraisers, has been an inspirational and fulfilling experience.
The training program to become an EV was extremely well organized an informational. Even as an avid naturalist I learned more about the bay area, and renewed my excitement for sharing this information with others. The classroom services generate interest and excitement in the kids, and the team of volunteers are reliable and generous with their time.
I participate with other volunteers in leading hands-on sessions designed to enrich elementary students' understanding of environmental and science related subjects, such as earthquakes and the carbon cycle. Many of the sessions are followed in subsequent days by field trips to sites that exemplify the subjects discussed, such as the baylands, earthquake fault zones and tidal zones. The organization provides outstanding support to volunteers, including training and monthly meetings with enrichment presentations. No expertise in science is expected (although welcome!); no experience in teaching is required -- just an appreciation of the environment and a desire to work with kids. Great opportunity; rewarding experience.
I started volunteering with EV at the end of February. It's a very rewarding experience. Our goal is to teach children about the environment. The teacher chooses which learning stations she wants to have taught. These stations supplement the science education she is teaching her children. I taught owl pellets on Monday. The children loved taking apart the pellets to find out what the owl had eaten. They were amazed at the owl facts. It was wonderful watching their facial expressions. The teacher told us that the class had behavior problems. She was amazed at how engaged they were with all the stations. I've only worked with a couple of kits. I had a hard time keeping the kindergarten kids engaged with the types of feathers kit. I did the bag of junk kit twice and added live things to it the second time. Those were the best items to teach with.
This organization leaves you with such upbeat feelings by sharing your knowledge of nature with elementary school kids and working with wonderful caring staff. this is the best non profit organization I have ever been associated with due to the kids, training, other volunteers and staff.
I am a retired Biologist, and EV gives me a chance to share my life learning while gaining much new skill and information to share. I just spent two days with 50 beautiful second graders and their outstanding teachers. Many of the children thanked me for teaching them about plants and said they know much more plants now. I could tell on our hike that they had retained much from the classroom experience. What joy!
While I love having my photography featured in the online store, the best experience is taking photos of the work in the classroom and on field trips. The kids are so absorbed in the class materials and so inquisitive in the field, and they are ably assisted by the excellent docents, who communicate their own enthusiasm and knowledge. My favorite line from a kindergarten student who was encouraged to use his five senses to observe the world:
This is one of the best organizations I've volunteered for. They provide great training. The staff is very friendly. It was a great learning experience.
Seeing and hearing young children connect with their environment and realize the importance of it is gratifying. It is fun to be that volunteer and to observe this. The EV reach over 10,000 students in the San Mateo and Santa Clara School Districts each year - with volunteer docents who help them discover things about the natural world around them. To help them appreciate and understand our world so that they will become better stewards of our environment. It is a great organization and I've been happy to be a member for over 12 years.