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About Us

The Youth Science Institute (YSI) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization whose mission is "to inspire enthusiasm for science and a love of learning". We fulfill our mission by offering hands-on, nature-based, science education to children, families, and the general public. We offer School and Group Programs, Summer Science Camps, weekend Science Safaris, and annual community events. Many of our programs include live animals and nature hikes. Each year, we deliver inquiry-based life, physical, earth, and social science to nearly 30,000 pre-K to sixth-grade students. Since our founding in 1953, we have served hundreds of thousands of children.

YSI maintains three Science and Nature Centers, where we deliver our hands-on science and experiential environmental education programs: Alum Rock Park, San Jose, CA; Sanborn County Park, Saratoga, CA; and Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos, CA. Each Center has unique artifacts, collections, and resources that connect the public with nature while teaching science.
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Our Board of Directors:
Robin O'Hern, President

Dave Ziegler, Treasurer

Padmaja Nadkarni, Secretary

Shaylynn Graydon, Director

Shilpa Nagaraja, Director

Our Staff:
Erika Buck, Executive Director

Serena Flores, Program Manager

Alex Schord, Animal Curator

Allyson Dudzinski, Lead Science Education Instructor


Leigh Henderson

IRS Form 990: (Click to download PDF copy)
IRS Form 990 - 2014
IRS Form 990 - 2015
IRS Form 990 - 2016
IRS Form 990 - 2017
IRS Form 990 - 2018
IRS Form 990 - 2019
IRS Form 990 - 2020
IRS Form 990 - 2021

Financial Statements: (Click to download PDF copy)
Financial Statements - 2014
Financial Statements - 2015
Financial Statements - 2016
Financial Statements - 2017
Financial Statements - 2018
Financial Statements - 2019
Financial Statements - 2020
Financial Statements - 2021

YSI Policies:
Donor Privacy Policy
Records Retention and Destruction Policy
Whistleblower Policy
Whistleblower's Notice
Conflict of Interest Policy

YSI In The News:
The Mercury News