25 Year Anniversary Message

from Mandi Billinge
Executive Director and Founder of KIDS for the BAY


What has KIDS for the BAY accomplished in the past 25 Years? October 2017 marks the 25 Year Anniversary of KIDS for the BAY delivering cutting edge environmental education programs to thousands of students each year! It is exciting to reflect on our work and the many people we have impacted.

81,688 elementary school students have become empowered, Inspired Environmentalists. In their KIDS for the BAY programs our students have significantly improved our environment through education and action. They have:

  • taught their entire school communities how to practice the Five Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot and Refuse) by leading schoolwide Assemblies;
  • grown plants from seedlings and planted them along urban creeks to help restore these vital habitats;
  • taught their families how to reduce the intake of toxins when preparing and eating bay fish; and
  • cleaned up thousands of gallons of trash from school neighborhoods, creek, bay and ocean habitats.

“I realized I CAN make a difference in the world! I can help animals and stop pollution from spreading across the great, awesome world we share.”
— Nick, Third Grade Student, Fairmont Elementary School, El Cerrito

3,363 partner teachers have increased their confidence in teaching hands-on environmental science both in the classroom and in the outdoors as a result of KIDS for the BAY’s professional development programs. Many teachers, like Elaine Newman, a third grade teacher from Wilson Elementary School in Richmond, have also developed a new enthusiasm for teaching hands-on science:

“That was a fantastic lesson! That’s exactly how science is supposed to be taught. If we could teach science like that more, there would be more students growing up and becoming involved in science.”
— Elaine Newman, Third Grade Teacher, Wilson Elementary School, Richmond

Many teachers have also discovered the value of teaching about the local environment and community to help make learning interesting and accessible for all students:

“It was a very powerful program. It was also a great opportunity for families to participate. It inspired me to work harder to include community resources and find opportunities to make science lessons relevant by tying them to community and environmental issues.”
— Kristen Lono, Third Grade Teacher, Berkeley Arts Magnet School, Berkeley

KIDS for the BAY staff over the years have developed their skills and expertise in environmental education and gone on to develop exciting careers in various fields. Our alumni include:

  • Jocelyn Manuel, a school principal;
  • Kimberly Aguilar, a Spanish bilingual second grade teacher;
  • Francis Mendoza, an East Bay Regional Parks District Naturalist;
  • Deborah Zierten, the Education Manager for Save The Redwoods League; and
  • many more alumni with high impact positions in the fields of education and the environment.

“My experience working at KIDS for the BAY had a tremendous impact on my teaching, my professional development and, most importantly, on my care for our environment!”
— Jocelyn Manuel, Principal, Saint Bede’s School, Hayward

To celebrate our 25 Year Anniversary, KIDS for the BAY is launching our Stories of Impact: personal stories from people significantly impacted by our work. This includes our school students, our partner teachers and school principals, campers from the KftB Summer Camp, parents and past staff. Our work has been made possible by all of these partners and by our generous funders and donors, and we are so thankful for the successes of the past 25 years!

What will KIDS for the BAY achieve in the next 25 Years? We will stay focused on our mission, which continues to be crucial to solving the environmental and educational equity challenges of our time. We will deliver engaging environmental education programs to 80,000 new school students primarily in low-income, urban schools. We will partner with 3,000 new teachers to increase their confidence in teaching hands-on environmental science education. We will help to develop multicultural leaders in the field of environmental education who value diversity, equity and inclusion for all children. We will continue to work towards a cleaner, healthier San Francisco Bay watershed environment for all communities.

What do you wish for KIDS for the BAY for the next 25 Years? We would love to hear from you – please look out for our online survey!

THANK YOU to the KIDS for the BAY community, for everything you do to help inspire our young environmentalists!