The Field Guide to Community Service


“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.





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.

Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education

AEOE hopes to advance the impact of environmental and outdoor education in California. They envision a world where every young person lives in a healthy community with access to meaningful learning experiences outdoors.

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.

​Breathe California of the Bay Area

(408) 998-5865

Breathe California of the Bay Area fights lung disease in all forms. They envision a world that promotes healthy lungs and a healthy environment. They strive to educate people on the pollutants in our cities and educate the community on how to prevent air pollution.


(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.

Green Foothills

(650) 968-7243

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.

Elkhorn Slough Foundation

(831) 728-2822

The ESF works with the government and community to protect the beautiful slough. They conduct research and provide tours to better understand the region and provide education.

Endangered Species International

Endangered Species International is strongly committed to reversing the trend of human-induced species extinction, saving endangered animals, and preserving wild places. They have a passion for nature, respect for all life, and optimism for solving the species extinction crisis.

Environmental Volunteers

(408) 244-2449

Environmental Volunteers promotes understanding of, and responsibility for, the environment through hands-on science education.


(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.

Friends of the Urban Forest

(415) 561-6890

Friends of the Urban Forest helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco. Since 1981, FUF has brought communities together to plant more than 60,000 trees, totaling almost half of the city's street tree canopy.

Gamble Garden

(650) 329-1356

The Gamble Garden is located in Palo Alto and is home to the beautiful property of Elizabeth F. Gamble. This property was turned into a place of beauty and civic pride. As an organization, they hope to maintain and enhance the historic home and garden as an oasis of beauty and tranquility. They provide community resources for horticultural education and enjoyment.

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 strives to foster educational experiences that build connections and inspire a deeper appreciation and respect for nature, food and one another. They provide beautiful acres for hikes and picnics and also have animal reserves and gardens for relaxation and education.

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.

Living Classroom

Living Classroom works to make education come alive and to empower the next generation by growing environmental champions, inquisitive learners, and healthy eaters who know where their food comes from. They inspire children to learn about and to value the natural world through garden-based education.

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.

Marine Science Institute 

(650) 364-2760

Based in Redwood City, the Marine Science Institute strives to cultivate a responsibility for the natural environment and our human communities. They use a variety of interactive marine science programs that put people in direct contact with ocean life.

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.

Pacific Beach Coalition, The

The Pacific Beach Coalition works to preserve the ocean, coastal habitat and wildfire. They work with volunteers to end littering through advocacy, community building and citizen action.

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.

Santa Clara County FireSafe Council

(408) 975-9591

SCC FireSafe hopes to mobilize the people of Santa Clara County to protect their homes, communities and environment from wildfires. They provide education and project assistance for homeowners and landowners in communities that are vulnerable to wildfire.

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.

Save the Bay

(510) 463-6850

Save the Bay works to protect and restore the Bay for people and wildlife. They strive to unite the Bay Area to create a clean and healthy environment. 

Sea Change San Mateo County

As sea levels rise, Sea Change works to meet the challenge of climate change. They strive to preserve the safety and wellbeing of San Mateo County and safeguard the regions that will be most affected.

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


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


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.



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 run cross country, explore nature through camping and backpacking, cook gourmet meals 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.