Environment

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”  – Wendell Berry


There are many environmental challenges in our region (and our world), including climate change, pollution and resource depletion. Thankfully, hundreds of nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area are working tirelessly to protect and restore our planet. If you want to help with these efforts, learn to live more sustainably or simply get out into nature, this is the chapter for you.


Get started

  • Learn about Village Harvest, a nonprofit that helps get fresh produce to people who need it the most. You can request that they come glean fruit from your trees or you can volunteer to pick fruit from private homes and local orchards. The bounty is donated  to local food banks.
  • Familiarize yourself with ocean-friendly seafood choices at Seafoodwatch.org.
  • Download the San Jose Urban Village Toolkit and find out how to improve your neighborhood.

Dig deeper

All in

  • Volunteer to be an Outdoor Education Leader at Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District to teach elementary students about good land stewardship.
  • Gather a group of friends for a day of planting trees with Our City Forest.
  • Become a garden mentor with Valley Verde, and help urban families learn to grow their own organic food. Spanish speakers are especially needed.
  • Rally a group of friends and family to grow the urban tree canopy with Canopy.

Nonprofits

Acterra: Action for a Healthy Planet
(650) 962-9876
Acterra brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet, including the Business Environmental Awards, energy and climate program and a public lecture series.

Asian Pacific Environmental Network
(510) 834-8920
APEN brings together a collective voice to develop an alternative agenda for environmental, social and economic justice. The organization’s work focuses on Asian immigrant and refugee communities.

Bicycle Exchange Silicon Valley
(650) 691-5989
Bicycle Exchange provides refurbished bicycles to underprivileged individuals. It reaches these individuals by  donating bicycles and helmets to more than a dozen social service organizations throughout Silicon Valley.

Canopy
(650) 964-6110
Canopy plants and cares for trees where people need them most. Their mission is to grow urban tree canopy in Midpeninsula communities for the benefit of all.

Coastal Watershed Council
(831) 464-9200
CWC preserves and protects coastal watersheds through community stewardship, education and monitoring.

Committee for Green Foothills
(650) 968-7243
The Committee for Green Foothills protects open space, farmland and natural resources in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties for the benefit of all through advocacy, education and grassroots action.

Crayon Initiative
The Crayon Initiative recycles used and unwanted crayons to preserve our environment and enrich the lives of hospitalized children through art and imagination.

Environmental Volunteers
(408) 244-2449
Environmental Volunteers promotes understanding of, and responsibility for, the environment through hands-on science education.

Filoli
(650) 364-8300
Filoli is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and stewardship of the Filoli Historic House & Garden for public education and enjoyment.

Friends of Stevens Creek Trail
(408) 255-5780
FSCT promotes community pride and involvement in the completion, enhancement, and enjoyment of the Stevens Creek Trail and Wildlife Corridor. They also give access to spaces for outdoor activities and time in nature.

Friends of the San Jose Rose Garden
This group is dedicated to maintaining the roses at the Historic San Jose Municipal Rose Garden.

Good Karma Bikes
(408) 291-0501
Good Karma Bikes transforms lives by supporting people with low cost or free bicycles so they can get to work.

Grassroots Ecology
(650) 419-9880
Grassroots Ecology leverages the power of volunteers to create healthy lands across Silicon Valley. They restore native plants to open spaces and neighborhoods, steward creeks and watersheds and provide hands-on nature education.

Greenbelt Alliance
(415) 543-6771
Greenbelt Alliance addresses a single challenge: how the Bay Area handles growth. They shape the rules that govern growth to protect the region’s open spaces and to ensure neighborhoods within our cities and towns are amazing places for everyone.

Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
(408) 298-7657
GRPC provides leadership for the development and use of the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens through education, advocacy and stewardship.

Hakone Foundation
(408) 741-4994
The Hakone Foundation manages the Hakone Estate and Gardens toward independence from public financing by encouraging membership contributions, managing rentals of the buildings and gardens, and sponsoring programs.

Happy Hollow Foundation
(408) 794-6400
Happy Hollow Foundation supports Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, which connects people to nature through play. It was the first amusement park and zoo in the country to be certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Hidden Villa
(650) 949-8650
Hidden Villa uses its organic farm, wilderness and community to teach and provide opportunities to learn about the environment and social justice. It also strives to give visitors a deeper connection to and appreciation for nature and food production.

Kitchen Table Advisors
Kitchen Table Advisors fuels the economic viability of sustainable small farms and ranches through practical business advising and trusted relationships.

Land Trust of Santa Clara Valley
(650) 799-9618
The Land Trust of Santa Clara Valley protects, promotes and enhances the habitats of fish, wildlife, plants or similar ecosystems, and preserves land for agricultural, recreation, education, historic preservation or open space.

Marine Mammal Center, The
(415) 289-7325
The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito is leading the field in ocean conservation through marine mammal rescue, veterinary medicine, science and education.

Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County
(408) 282-3105
Master Gardeners is a volunteer organization that works to extend research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management and sustainable landscape practices.

Middlebrook Center for Urban Sustainability, The
(408) 292-9993
The Middlebrook Center redefines how we utilize the land around us to provide the essential things we need to sustain our lives. It is a place of community so that others can witness, learn and share in a better way of living. 

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
(650) 691-1200
The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District  works to acquire and preserve a regional greenbelt of open space land in perpetuity, protect and restore the natural environment, and provide opportunities for ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education.

Nature Conservancy, The
(703) 841-5300
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

Open Space Authority Santa Clara Valley
(408) 224-7476
Open Space Authority preserves key portions of the natural environment in order to balance continuing urban growth.

Our City Forest
(408) 998-7337
Our City Forest cultivates a green and healthy Silicon Valley by engaging community members in the appreciation, protection, growth and maintenance of our urban ecosystem, especially our urban forest.

Peninsula Open Space Trust
(650) 854-7696
POST protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley.

SPUR San Jose
(408) 638-0083
SPUR brings people together to develop solutions to the big problems our cities face. It is a leading civic planning organization, respected for its independent and holistic approach to urban issues.

San Jose Community Gardens
(408) 793-4165
San Jose has 19 year-round community gardens that are managed by volunteers and offer opportunities for San Jose residents to have their own garden.

San Jose Parks Foundation 
(408) 893-7275
SJPF advocates for San Jose’s parks and trails, and the programs within them, by empowering residents and volunteers and securing private donations.

Santa Clara County Farm Bureau
(408) 776-1684
The SCC Farm Bureau is dedicated to promoting and preserving farming and ranching in Santa Clara Valley.

Save Our Shores
(831) 462-5660
Save Our Shores is a marine conservation organization that works to care for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy and citizen action.

Save Our Trails
Save Our Trails promotes trails in Santa Clara County for the benefit and enjoyment of all.

Sea Hugger
(650) 479-4047
Sea Hugger protects and heals the marine environment from plastic pollution. It works to educate the public to reduce plastic dependency, while focusing on protecting the marine environment, ensuring the intrinsic rights of aquatic life, and helping create sustainable coastal communities that are free of plastic pollution.  

Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter
(650) 390-8411
The Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club provides opportunities for people to develop leadership skills, give back to the community and help the environment.

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
(408) 287-7259
The Bicycle Coalition exists to promote increased cycling and to create a healthy community, environment and economy through bicycling for people who live, work or play in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
(408) 287-6707
SVTC is engaged in research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to promote human health and environmental justice in response to the rapid growth of the high-tech industry.

Sustainable Silicon Valley
(650) 318-3638
Sustainable Silicon Valley is a collaboration of companies, cities, counties, and research and educational institutions working to conserve resources and improve the environment. 

Taylor Street Farm
Taylor Street Farm educates youth, families and the community on where food comes from and how it is grown.


The Trash Punx
The Trash Punx is cleaning up our community, one piece of trash at a time. It’s hard to imagine that cleaning up litter would be fun, but Trash Punx makes the experience interesting and rewarding for children, teens and families.

Valle Verde
(408)-666-4794
Valley Verde provides low-income families with free organic gardening classes and materials.

Veggielution Community Farm
(408) 753-6705
Veggielution connects people from diverse backgrounds through food and farming to build community in East San Jose.

Village Harvest
888-378-4841
Village Harvest is a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides food for the hungry, preserves our heritage and skills, and promotes sustainable use of urban resources. It organizes backyard fruit harvesting, and provides education on fruit tree care, harvesting and food preservation.


​Walden West Foundation
The Walden West Foundation seeks to make Outdoor School programing as accessible as possible to Santa Clara County students both financially and logistically. Established in 1996, the Walden West Foundation has helped to develop and foster collaborative science partnerships with leading Silicon Valley companies and educational institutions. 

Youth Science Institute
(408) 356-4945
YSI works to inspire enthusiasm for science and a love of learning by offering hands-on, nature-based science education to children, families and the general public.

No Excuses


Compost. The City of San Jose has great workshops and discounted bins to help get you started.


Take a walk in nature.


Turn the TV and computer off one day a week.


Shop at a local farmer’s market.


Take light rail, BART or Caltrain.


Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Chapter Editor


This Field Guide chapter was edited by Evan Broccoli.


​Evan is a student at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose and will graduate in 2022.


When he is not editing the Field Guide, he likes to play lacrosse, run cross country and hang out with friends.


He enjoys community service because it makes him feel good to give back to the community and people in need.