Headwaters Science Institute

Reviewed by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

$15,069 raised by 54 donors

100% complete

$15,000 Goal

About Headwaters:

Who We Are: 

We're a team of professional scientists, graduate students, parents, and caring community members dedicated to inspiring hands-on science education. Through personal experience in our own educational journeys, we know that experiential learning can change a student's academic future and life opportunities for the better.

Fostering Curiosity Through Science: 

We bring experiential science education to as many students as we can access and help their teachers implement our research-based learning. We tap into students’ natural curiosity by teaching them how to ask scientific questions, design research methods, problem solve, collect data, present their research, and author research papers. Through our programs, students learn to think critically and develop increased confidence in independent decision-making. These skills help them not only in future science classes, but as they move into the world. Our students are better prepared to access high-level science careers and more ready to become well-informed community contributors. 

Our Programs: 

1. School Programs: We customize school programs of various lengths to bring to schools, teaching students how to ask questions, plan and conduct research, and present their findings. Programs often bring students out into the field, connecting them with the environment around them. 

2. Digital Research Experience: This semester-long extracurricular program allows high school students to design, create, and execute an original research project mentored by a professional scientist.

3. Lunch with a Scientist: A library of 30-45 minute science talks showcasing the research of various scientists. These presentations, delivered by STEM professionals, provide students the opportunity to learn about careers in science and the lives of professionals. These include a free investigation for teachers to incorporate into their curriculum as well.

4. Professional Development: We help teachers plan student-driven research in their classrooms, giving them tools to facilitate projects and . Teachers gain insight into teaching high-quality scientific inquiry projects in just three to five days. We provide virtual, in-person, and hybrid program options. 

5. Summer Camps and Field Days: We give students the opportunity to explore nature with a host of hands-on science camps and field days designed to couple fun with exploring the unique ecology of the site. We offer some sessions specifically for girls interested in STEM and students looking for an introduction to research.

Vision Statement:

Our vision is to create informed citizens who not only pursue science careers, but blossom when faced with opportunities to positively impact society through engagement, curiosity, and applications of the scientific method.


Headwaters Science Institute fosters curiosity through science. We engage students' natural curiosity, guiding them to design and perform experiments that answer their own questions through the scientific method. We aim to create informed citizens who not only pursue science careers but blossom when faced with opportunities to positively impact society.


Headwaters aims to provide experiential science learning to as many students as possible in the Sacramento area, but many schools cannot afford these programs without grants and donations. To keep our Lunch With A Scientist program free for students and teachers, we offer sponsorships for businesses, organizations, and individuals. We also need more scientific equipment and laptops for students to use during presentations.

We have a dedicated board of directors, but would benefit from 1-2 more members with a passion for education and experience in non-profit boards or business. We value diversity in our board members to ensure our programs are inclusive and equitable for all students.

Business Sponsor Levels:

Bronze ($1000): We’ll link your business or organization in the video description and mention it in the introduction.

Silver ($2500): In addition to a link in the video description and mention, we’ll include your logo in the thumbnail image.

Gold ($5,000): We’ll read an advertisement script that you provide or we write, in addition to your logo and link.

Equity Statement

Fostering equity and inclusion in science education requires meeting the unique needs of students from underrepresented groups by adapting programs and teaching styles to diverse cultures and strengths. The strength of our program model is that each student gets to work at their own pace and level on a project they choose.

We are also working hard to bring in a diverse group of mentors and scientists for our Lunch with a Scientist program. This allows more students to see themselves as scientists.

Get Involved

View our current participation opportunities.

Online Volunteering

Scientist Talk

record digitally with our staff

Ongoing opportunity

In-Person Volunteering

Volunteer at a School Program

Northern California or Reno, NV

Ongoing opportunity

Organization Data


Organization name

Headwaters Science Institute

other names


Tax id (EIN)


Mission Category


Operating Budget


Organization Need

Funding: Program, Board Members, In-Kind Donations, Funding: Unrestricted

Demographics Served

Youth & Children

Counties Served

Placer, Sacramento, Yolo

Equity Statement

Equity Statement


PO BOX 913

Service areas

Sacramento, CA, US

Placer, CA, US

Yolo, CA, US

El Dorado, CA, US



Social Media