At Environmental Volunteers, we inspire all ages to explore nature. Join us as a volunteer to lead programs in schools, organizations, and the EcoCenter in Palo Alto Baylands.


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

We achieve our mission through:

School Programs

We offer School Programs to K-6 classrooms in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Our hands-on curriculum meets State of California science education requirements. Our volunteers bring hands-on learning programs to over 10,000 students each year. In the classroom, our volunteers lead hands-on learning stations in small groups. On follow-up field trips, students discover natural science concepts through guided hikes to local nature preserves.


Our headquarters is the EcoCenter, a public nature center in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. At the EcoCenter, our friendly docents and staff provide public learning programs, exhibits, and activities for visitors of all ages.


The EV brings fun, hands-on education programs to youth-serving organizations in Silicon Valley, and provides group programs at the EcoCenter. We have worked with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, Catholic Charities Youth Club at St. Francis of Assisi, and more.


Through the Transportation Fund, the Environmental Volunteers provides affordable and easy-to-schedule transportation for low-income K-12 students in the San Francisco Bay Area who would not otherwise be able to access science and environmental education field trips.


Through our Sprout Up chapters, volunteer college students convey programs in local elementary schools to connect children with the earth, inspiring them to become stewards. Students take their programs lessons home and get their parents involved. Together we are planting the seeds for a more sustainable future, from the youngest members of society up.

Our Philosophy

Environmental Volunteers believes all children deserve to learn about the natural world through personal exploration, so they can become responsible stewards of the Earth. At the Environmental Volunteers we believe that what children appreciate and love, they will protect.

Our Story

In 1972, when awareness of threats to the San Francisco Bay ecosystem began to grow, a group of women concerned about preserving the estuary for future generations created a small, hands-on program for local children. The program included a field trip to the Bay so students could experience it, know it, enjoy it, and grow to take care of it. This was the birth of Environmental Volunteers. Since then, more than 519,000 children and adults have explored natural science learning with us!

Our Vision

That all people will learn about and be inspired by the natural world so that they become responsible stewards of the Earth. We achieve this by:

  • 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.

Our Values

We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to learn about nature, because the more people who connect with nature the more we all benefit. When more people have more meaningful experiences with nature, their quality of life, health and social well-being improve and in turn their communities become stronger and more sustainable. We believe that nature is for everyone. In line with our vision to inspire a love for science and nature, we hold close a set of values that guide our actions:

  • Passion: we believe that nature is awesome, everywhere and for all. We develop and empower future stewards of nature
  • Learning: we believe that learning and curiosity are at the core of what we do
  • Integrity: we operate with personal integrity & honesty, ensuring fiscal responsibility & transparency
  • Diversity and Equity: we strive to have our board, staff and volunteers represent the cultural backgrounds of the populations we serve.
  • Teamwork: we work together to achieve excellence in all we do; we are caring, collaborative and respectful.
  • Embracing Change: we courageously embrace change and innovate to fulfill our vision.

Founded in 1972


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’m always delighted to tell people about the EV’s critically important work in teaching kids about science, the environment and conservation – something students simply do not get otherwise in schools.

Maria Amundson, former volunteer