Growing by Numbers

by Allan Berkowitz, Executive Director
August 2013

Though the "lazy days" of summer are upon us, behind the scenes at the EV, we have been quite busy. There are several numbers I’d like to share because they tell a good part of the current EV story.

The first numbers are 43, 100, and 525. We are launching into our 43rd year of service. Soon, our 100+ wonderful volunteers will begin delivering the first of 525 school programs this coming school year. These numbers tell a very human story.

The talent, passion, and commitment of our 100 teaching volunteers provide most of our mission fulfillment as a nonprofit organization. Those 525 school programs allow thousands of students to learn science, bond with the natural world, and experience nature in ways they wouldn’t do without us.

Two more big numbers for the EV are 650,000 and 910,000.

Two years ago, the EV’s budget was $650,000. This fiscal year, our budget is $910,000. And yet, the operating costs of the new EcoCenter account for only a small portion of the increase. The EV’s budget has increased because of new programs we are offering and new educational displays and learning opportunities we are creating. We have significantly expanded our mission fulfillment and are thrilled to need a larger budget.

Consider these exciting new educational opportunities: Junior Nauralist, the EcoBox, Canoeing the Baylands, the East Palo Alto Initiatives, and Bilingual Nature Education.

  • Junior Naturalist: our after school club for 3rd-5th graders. This program is so popular with kids and funders it is scheduled to run well into next year.
  • Canoeing The Baylands: Funded through a grant from the Cosco Busan oil spill settlement fund, we now offer a marsh education program that takes place IN the marsh. While gently gliding through the channels, children and adults will learn about marsh flora and fauna, marine life, and water science.
  • EcoBox is an interpretive learning tool on the lower deck that shares educational audio about Bay ecology (in both English and Spanish). It's powered by a hand-crank and available to all, even when the EcoCenter isn't open (with appreciation to the Vera and Boris Bogart Foundation).
  • East Palo Alto Education Initiative, Part One: We are expanding our commitment to schools in East Palo Alto by adding programs at two additional schools. We are particularly excited to collaborate with our friends at Canopy. Each organization will deliver its programs to the same classrooms, increasing the impact and number of hours the students receive (and the students will participate in tree plantings and tree care under Canopy’s guidance).
  • East Palo Alto Education Initiative, Part Two: We received a grant to add a bilingual program staff position to our team. This position will develop a docent training program in Spanish; recruit bilingual docents; and develop bilingual education programs delivered through the EcoCenter.
  • And under development: new learning modules for the touchscreens including a topographical history of the Palo Alto Baylands, and a unit on weather and climatology.

So the calendar may suggest we’re in the lazy days of summer, but the productive output here at the EV suggests otherwise!

And here’s one more number: (650) 493-8000. It’s our telephone number and we’d love to hear from you. Questions? Suggestions? Concerns? Just want to come by and hang out on the deck? Please call us. Meeting your needs is our number one priority. Enjoy your summer!