Keeping the Earth Green and Oceans Blue in the Golden State

April 13th, 2023

We celebrate being green year-round, but Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22nd to promote environmental awareness and encourage action that helps protect our planet. The San Francisco Bay Area, known for its beautiful parks, beautiful bay, and green initiatives, is a great place to volunteer and make a difference in your community, give back to the planet, and meet neighbors who share your passion for the environment. With a vibrant and diverse community, there are countless organizations and causes that could use your help.

Plants, Gardens and Farms

San Francisco Recreation & Parks

From planting to painting and everything in between, the parks of San Francisco have outdoor opportunities for those that want to keep our parks pristine for visitors and enjoy the fresh air. Park Beautification isn’t just about trash pickup, though. Help restore the habitats of native plants and animals by tending gardens at Golden Gate Park, or restore the Islais Creek and learn about the ecology of the canyon at Glen Canyon Park.

Get Started: This organization is perfect for the last-minute planner! They welcome drop-in volunteers on a one-time or ongoing basis, any day of the week. Check out their calendar of events to sign up.

Friends of the Urban Forest

Bring some extra green to your urban neighborhood. Volunteers with Friends of the Urban Forest are tackling climate change one tree at a time. Teams plant 5-7 trees at each event at various location throughout the city.

Get Started: No experience is necessary, just the desire to make a change on Saturday mornings. Check out their Upcoming Volunteer Events to sign up!

Farm to Grow – Oakland

If you’re passionate about helping Black and under-represented farmers, sign up for this Oakland organization. Farms to Grow, Inc Urban Garden Project is looking for volunteers that want to get their hands dirty to help prepare garden beds for spring. You’ll learn the benefits of cover crops, the difference between planting a seed and planting a transplant, see how to setup irrigation lines, all while having fun playing in the dirt. No experience necessary!

Get Started: The Urban Garden Project meets in Oakland every Sunday from 8:30am – 12:30pm.


City Beautification

Adopt-A-Street Program

You’ve heard of Adopt-A-Highway, but one street sounds much more manageable. Sign up with the city to keep a city sidewalk clean. They’ll provide the supplies – brooms, rakes, dustpans, trash bags, and more – and you dedicate to keep one block or side of the street clear of debris and litter.

Get Started: If you’d rather join a group, San Francisco Public Works has plenty of City Beautification and Cleanup opportunities throughout the city all season long.


Animal Rescue

San Francisco Animal Care & Control

SF Animal Care & Control takes in all animals in need, regardless of species, medical, or behavioral condition, and they can use your help! Sign up to help with cats or dogs, small animals, or even help with special projects to make an impact on animals that need attention and care.

Get Started: You’ll be working with live animals, so volunteers are required to commit to a scheduled weekly shift to ensure consistency for the animals’ health and well-being. Fill out the form on their website to begin your application.


Ocean Protection

San Francisco Baykeeper

Support SF Baykeeper any time, anywhere. Volunteers are always needed to pick up trash to prevent it from reaching the San Francisco Bay. Create a team and Baykeeper will guide you in your cleanup at the park, shoreline, or neighborhood of your choice.

Get Started: Gather friends and family at your convenience and choose your favorite spot that needs extra attention for the annual Clean Bay Challenge.

Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider Foundation San Francisco hosts three weekend beach cleanups every month, with a special Earth Day Ocean Beach Cleanup event on April 22. Feel the sand between your toes and sunshine on your face while you help beautify our San Francisco beaches.

Get Started: Sign up (by yourself or with friends) for this Earth Day event on Saturday, April 22 at 10am.


Climate Action – Behind the Scenes

350 Bay Area

If you prefer to keep your hands clean, there are volunteer opportunities for you, too! 350 Bay Area has volunteer teams for those that prefer writing, outreach, digital organizing, or even creating art. Sign up to get involved, and see all the different ways you can help make a difference from the sidelines.

Get Started: Times and dates vary, but the Volunteer Onboarding Meeting to learn about 350 Bay Area is on the last Tuesday of every month from 5-6pm. RSVP for this month’s meeting on April 25.


Whether you’re available to volunteer for just a few hours or are ready to commit to a long-term project, there is something for everyone in this dynamic and socially conscious region. Explore some of the best ways to volunteer in the San Francisco Bay Area and how to get involved in making a difference in your community.

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