Our Upcoming Events
Adopt a Storm Drain
Clear the Drain Before the Rain
Hundreds of volunteers across Oakland have adopted storm drains to help their neighborhoods prepare for rainstorms. It doesn't take much to keep a storm drain clear. A little volunteer effort goes a long way in helping Public Works maintain over 7,500 storm drains to reduce flooding and prevent pollution of our waterways. When you sign up to Adopt a Drain, you become eligible for City tools and supplies, and will receive the City's rain alert notifications.
Sign up at www.AdoptaDrainOakland.com.
Outreach Resources for Adopt a Drain:
Adopt a Spot
Through the Oakland Adopt a Spot program, individuals, neighborhood groups, civic organizations and businesses can play an active and ongoing role in cleaning, greening and beautifying parks, creeks, shorelines, storm drains, streets, trails, medians and other public spaces. Volunteers have adopted hundreds of sites around Oakland. Public Works supports these efforts with tool lending, debris collection services and technical assistance.
Activities can include:
- Planting/pruning/weeding (with pre-approval from Public Works staff)
- Beautification of litter containers and utility boxes with mosaics and murals
- Litter pick-up
- Graffiti removal
- Keeping storm drains free of debris
See what it's like to be a member of the Oakland Adopt a Spot program. Check out this video featuring a few of our adopters doing amazing work:
Interested in joining the hundreds of residents, businesses and community groups who are already participating? Please review the Adopt a Spot Application Packet for a detailed program description and application. You can also contact an Adopt a Spot coordinator at (510) 238-7630 or via email@example.com.
Downloadable volunteer forms and materials are linked below:
- Adopt a Spot Application Packet (Fillable PDF), español, 中文
- Volunteer Opportunities Flyer; español; 中文
- Volunteer Guidelines, español, 中文
- Volunteer Interest Form* (online)
- Group Waiver; español, 中文
- Individual Waiver; español, 中文
- Injury Reporting Form; español, 中文
- Tool Request Form
- Tool Maintenance Guide
- Photo Documentation Tips
- Donation Request Letter Template
- Donation "Thank You" Letter Template
*Please note: this online form does not work on Internet Explorer. Please use a different web browser to access this form.
Litter Container Mosaics & Murals
Oakland volunteers add beauty and character to the streets by adopting and adorning city-owned litter containers with tile mosaics and painted murals. See http://oaklandwiki.org/Mosaic_Tile_Trash_Cans for examples of some of these projects.
If you would like to adopt a litter container or paint a mural on a utility box or other public space, please complete the Adopt a Spot form and the Litter Container Rules form. Send these back with a description or drawing of the art to be installed. Once your application is approved you can begin work on the project. Here is a video that shows you how it's done http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCL4I7shWx8.
Report Volunteer Hours
Help us keep record of volunteer contributions and accomplishments through our new easy to use Track it Forward program. First time users can register at www.trackitforward.com/site/adopt-spot. Once you have an account, you can log and manage hours online, or via the free smartphone app (search for “Track it Forward” or “OurVolts” in the app store). We’ll use these reports to better share the story of Oakland volunteers and recognize your contributions. Track it Forward also provides you with a record of your volunteering and a way to view other volunteer reports. Volunteer coordinators can also track on behalf of their groups. Tutorial videos are available here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or assistance.
City-wide Cleanup & Beautification Events
Public Works coordinates two city-wide volunteer events each year involving thousands of participants. Come join the fun!
- Earth Day is typically held the third Saturday in April. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 23, 2016!
- Creek to Bay Day is held the third Saturday in September. Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 17, 2016!
Ongoing Community Cleanups
One-Time Community Cleanups
We also support One-Time Community Cleanups. If you would like to host one, please contact us at email@example.com or (510) 238-7630. We may be able to provide you with tools, post-event debris collection services, and other logistical support.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
Clean Lake Initiative
Are you passionate about Lake Merritt? Oakland's Clean Lake Initiative supports volunteer cleanup, maintenance, monitoring and education at the Lake. For information on how you can participate in these efforts, please contact the Lake Merritt Institute at (510) 238-2290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Oakland Beautiful and the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation are active local organizations that also promote and support volunteer efforts at Oakland's parks, creeks, streets and other public places.
County, Regional & State Property
Some of Oakland's public spaces are owned and managed by other government entities. Please visit the following websites for volunteer opportunities offered by these organizations:
- Alameda County Adopt-A-Creek/Adopt-A-Spot (county-owned land and flood control channels)
- Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway (highway overpasses, underpasses, on-ramps and off-ramps)
- East Bay Regional Parks District (regional parks, trails, botanical gardens and shorelines)
Volunteer at Lakeside Park Gardens
The Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt are looking for interested, qualified people to join their Volunteer Leadership Team! Find out more about these positions at http://gardensatlakemerritt.org/volunteer-opportunities.
Volunteer in the Sausal Creek Watershed
Friends of Sausal Creek has regular volunteer opportunities in the Sausal Creek Watershed, including cleanups, habitat restoration, plant propagation in their native plant nursery in Joaquin Miller Park, and other events. Click here to see their calendar of events and find out more information.
News & Events
Follow us on the Sustainable Oakland Facebook page for information on volunteer events, news on sustainability, going green and more!
Oakland Earth Day is Saturday, April 23, 2016
In 2015, over 3,400 volunteers pitched in more than 15,000 hours at ninety sites across Oakland. Volunteers removed more than 170 cubic yards of trash and more than 500 cubic yards of weeds and green waste. In total over the trash and green waste removed is enough to fill more than 4,000 thirty five gallon garbage cans! Register and find more information at www.oaklandearthday.org.
Oakland Creek to Bay Day is Saturday, September 17, 2016
In 2015, over 1,200 volunteers removed 16,000 pounds of trash and 150 cubic yards of invasive weeds from Oakland's creeks, shoreline, and streets. Statewide, 53,555 volunteers prevented 548,450 pounds of trash from entering inland waterways and oceans. Learn more and register at www.oaklandcreektobay.org.
Oakland Adopt a Spot Program receives the Northern California APWA 2013 Sustainability Practices Award
The Adopt a Spot Program received the 2013 Sustainability Practices Award from the Northern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association. This award is given to "individuals, teams or organization that have made an outstanding contribution to promote sustainability in public works."
We thank the many individual volunteers, neighborhood groups, civic organizations and businesses who are cleaning, greening and beautifying adopted spots around Oakland (currently there are about 400). These efforts contribute to a cleaner, healthier, more beautiful, livable and sustainable City. Together, through Adopt a Spot, we're building community, raising environmental consciousness and participation, improving the quality of life in Oakland while also supporting broader regional and global environmental initiatives.
City of Oakland Public Works offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. We encourage individuals with all abilities to volunteer their time and efforts. Some volunteer opportunities may be located in areas without a designated path of travel and may require significant physical exertion. To discuss available volunteer opportunities and to request disability related accomodations, please contact the person listed as the main contact for the event or call (510) 238-3254 (TTY).