Environmental Information Resources in the

San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond


A special THANKS! From Ms. Ash to class-mate Sarah Boyle @ San Jose State University for creating this page of information for the 9th Grade Change Project.





The natural resources of the San Francisco Bay Area are world-renowned.  Due to the continued growth in the region over the past several decades the environment is being taxed more than ever before.  Many local organizations are educating, motivating and encouraging responsible stewardship of the natural resources of this part of California.


This pathfinder will help Bay Area high school students locate information on the important environmental issues currently facing both the nation and their local communities, with an emphasis on providing relevant resources for students to evaluate different volunteer opportunities with Bay Area environmental organizations and conduct thorough and accurate research for environmental science school projects. 



Bay Area Environmental Information Resources for Teens

Bay Area Environmental Organizations


General Interest Websites - with a focus on local Bay Area environmental issues


Research Resources and Writing Tips for Teens


Helpful Searching Tips | Keywords & Subject Headings


Book Resources

Database Resource - Example

Resources | Internet Sources – Bay Area Environmental Information Resources for Teens

EarthTeam Links

EarthTeam is an organization that is bringing together students, teachers and youth oriented groups to act collaboratively in order to address the environmental needs of the Bay Area.  Within the website there are several links to youth environmental organizations, with local chapters, throughout the region such as Global Youth Action Network, Student Conservation Association, Teen Environmental Action Mentorship Program (TEAM) and many others.  If a teen is looking to get involved with an environmental group, they could found an endless number of opportunities on this website.


Bay Area Environmental Youth Quest

This organization is part of the Yosemite National Institute.  Once a year the institute sponsors a conference for Bay Area high school students with an emphasis on environmental on Bay Area environmental issues.  This is a good resource for students interested in seeing what opportunities there are for teens when it comes to environmental education.  The Youth Quest website lists high schools that have participated in these workshops and opens up the possibility of high school students networking with other schools and students interested in the same environmental issues.


Norcal Environmental Student Network

This student network group is part of the Secondary Environmental and Science Educators Institute.  This group sponsors educational conferences for high school students focusing on environmental issues.  Again, a good resource for discovering local groups with a focus on high school age students who wish to participate in workshops, field trips and unique certification opportunities in watershed and water monitoring.   One of the unique projects the group is involved with is the KWEST, Watershed and Estuary Support Team.  This team is working with the State Water Resources Control Board’s Clean Water Team in helping to monitor the Bay Area’s unique water resources.  A hands on project that has a direct impact on the local environment.


Internet Sources – Bay Area Environmental Organizations

Greenbelt Alliance

The Greenbelt Alliance, established in 1958 is primarily concerned with land conservation for the entire Bay Area region.  The website contains current articles from local newspapers as well as information on upcoming events, how to volunteer in your Bay Area county and an interesting “lands at risk” map.  A good resource for a student researching land use in the Bay Area due to the current and relevant information found on the site.


Save the Bay

The Save the Bay organization, founded in 1961, is an important advocate, lobbying body and public educator when it comes to local water issues.  There are many opportunities for becoming a volunteer through this organization; students are welcome to participate in the organizations efforts.  The organization offers out reach programs for schools and students.


Sierra Club – San Francisco Bay Chapter

The local San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Sierra Club, an environmental group founded in 1892, is one of the most recognized environmental groups in the nation.  The local chapter website offers many resources, from current issues effecting the Bay Area to interesting environmental statistics and access to a wide variety of articles discussing subjects as global warming, renewable energy sources and potential of hybrid vehicles in helping to reduce the emissions from automobiles.  This website is a good resource for exploring many of the environmental issues facing the nation as well as the Bay Area.


Resources | General Interest Websites - with a focus on the local Bay Area environmental organizations and issues


Bay Area Air Quality Management District Web Site

Coastal Geography

Cookbook of Innovations in Coastal Protection

Earth Island Institute: Innovative Action for the Environment

San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners

San Francisco Recycling Program Web Site

Surfride Foundation: San Francisco

USGS WRD: Water Quality of San Francisco Bay

Yerba Buena Chapter, California Native Plant Society


Resources | Research Resources and Writing Tips for Teens


Great resources which will lead user to other web sites for lots of materials on the environment







Environmental Literacy Council


Very comprehensive resource for students.  Well designed sit – full range of topics on the environment.






United States Environmental Protection Agency

High School Environmental Center


Your Neighborhood link – Local Data, Maps, Community Issues




Cabridge Rindge & Latin School Research Guide



Informative resource for high school students on how to conduct research in an organized and will thought out manner.  This site provides very practical  and systematic instructions on key research musts, note taking and writing of a comprehensive research paper.


Exploratorium of San Francisco – Environmental Science

This environmental science website is part of the larger Exploratorium museum website.  The museum, founded in 1969 in San Francisco, is dedicated to providing interactive exhibits in order for students to learn about science and the natural world around them.  The environmental science website provides the user with over twenty remarkable and useful internet resources all to do with the environment.  A helpful site for students who are just starting to use the internet as a true research tool, but have not yet become familiar with commercial databases.


Internet Public Library for Teens | Teen Space A+ Research and Writing: (http://www.ipl.org/div/aplus/)

This is a comprehensive site developed especially for teens by the Internet Public library, hosted by the University of Michigan’s School of Information.  The site consists of a guide to writing a research paper, how to do online searching and links to additional resources found on the internet.

Mesa Arizona Library Site for Teens

Although this library is in Arizona the website does an excellent job of explaining what databases are and which ones are most appropriate to use for high school students.  The addition of links to government environmental resources is also useful.

San Francisco Natural History Bibliography – California Academy of Sciences

This bibliographic resource is presented in a straightforward manner and easy to navigate.  The resources provided focus on the local Bay Area and cover subjects such as the bay tidal marshes and the effects of smog on the local environment.  Besides the bibliographic resource, the over-all Academy website is a wonderful science oriented resource with quite a bit of information written specifically for students of all ages.  High school students will find this site useful when starting out researching a project topic.

Save The Bay – The Bay Classroom

The Bay Classroom – excellent resource to learn about “Bay Basics” such as what is a slough, what is the delta, what are tides and currents and other environmental subject matter.   Enough information to inform students, but not too technical – good resource if interested in water issues throughout the bay area.



Helpful Searching Tips




The following keywords will be helpful when conducting searches using an online catalog, the internet or information database:


It is highly recommended that the Boolean technique of searching be used in this instance.


Boolean meaning: combing search words or terms using the following operators: “AND”, “OR”, “NOT”  and using quotes to group terms like air quality


Air pollution

Air quality

Bay Area

Community service

Environmental education

Environmental literature

Environmental organization

Environmental science

Environmental studies

Land use

Non-profit organizations

Open space


San Francisco Bay Area



Volunteer organization

Water quality

Water Pollution


Young adults

Youth programs



Subject Headings - Library of Congress Relevant when conducting database searches



See also subdivision "Study and Teaching," "Problems, Exercises, Etc.," "Activity Programs," or "Juvenile Literature" under subject headings of interest, such as "Botany," "Biology," Ecology," "Science," "Urban Ecology (Biology)" NATURAL RESOURCES--MANAGEMENT(Relevant)


See also subdivision "Environmental Aspects" under headings of particular interest, such as "Automobiles," "Hazardous Wastes," "Pesticides," "Pollution," "Sewage"




Book Resources


Mongillo, J. F. (2004).  Teen guides to environmental science.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004.


This volume is part of an eight part volume series on environmental science.  Comprehensive in scope and good resource for high school students investigating topics for a research paper or identifying a specific area where a student would like to direct their volunteer efforts.



Ryan, B. (1998).  Community service for teens: opportunities to volunteer. Chicago : Ferguson Pub. Co.


This book is part of an eight part series on community service and teens.  This particular volume discusses how one becomes involved in local community environmental issues.  The book contains interviews of teen volunteers and suggestions on where one might look to volunteer in the community.




Database Resources on General Environmental Topics



Thomson Gale InfoTrac | Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

An electronic resource specifically designed for high school students offering pro and con articles on a wide breadth of topics.


Facts on File | Science Online

This database provides information on science from all different aspects including terminology, scientific concepts, and the history of science through the years.


Thomson Gale InfoTrac | Student Resource Center

This database comprises a collection of images, essays and other articles on a variety of subjects of interest specifically targeting high school students.



Here are some examples of basic environmental terms that could be helpful for a student when beginning their research for a school project or research paper.


"Air pollution." Gale Encyclopedia of Science, 3rd ed. 6 vols. Gale, 2004. Student Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 10 December 2005 http://0-galenet.galegroup.com.mill1.sjlibrary.org:80/servlet/SRC


"Land use." Gale Encyclopedia of Science, 3rd ed. 6 vols. Gale, 2004. Student Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 10 December 2005 http://0-galenet.galegroup.com.mill1.sjlibrary.org:80/servlet/SRC


"Water conservation." Gale Encyclopedia of Science, 3rd ed. 6 vols. Gale, 2004. Student Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 10 December 2005 http://0-galenet.galegroup.com.mill1.sjlibrary.org:80/servlet/SRC