Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center
University of California
Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center

Welcome to Elkus Ranch: Environmental Education Through Hands-On Learning

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Ewes & lambs graze outside Barn 2

The mission of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) San Mateo/San Francisco and Elkus Ranch is to serve the diverse needs of residents through the creation, development, and extension of knowledge in agriculture, natural resources, and human resources. 

Located on the California coast near Half Moon Bay, Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center provides unique hands-on learning experiences for Bay Area children. The Conference Center is available for daytime retreats, meetings, and workshops. 

Staff from the University of California Cooperative Extension facilitate hands-on opportunities for children from preschool through high school to explore the processes of producing food and fiber in day and overnight ranch tours, nutrition programs, community service days and special events. Livestock, gardens, and acres of open space create unique learning experiences for children and their adult chaperones.  The ranch is specifically dedicated to providing these opportunities for children with special needs and all facilities are fully accessible.  

UC ANR's Elkus Ranch is an outdoor classroom for local youth

Each year, about 9,000 kids visit the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Elkus Ranch in Half Moon Bay for hands-on educational experiences in urban horticulture, nutrition, food safety, pest management, livestock management and food preservation, reported Sara Hayden in April 2018 issue of Half Moon Bay Magazine (the article begins on p. 16).

Hayden visited the ranch with photographer Jaime Soja when a group of preschoolers descended to explore the garden and meet the farm animals.

"They can taste and touch and smell things - feel the wool of a sheep or an egg, know where their food is from, where the clothing fiber comes from," said Kathi Baxter, UC Cooperative Extension environmental science educator at Elkus Ranch. "Ideally, kids would get the idea that space is necessary to grow food. We're hoping to plant that seed of stewardship here."

The Elkus family donated the 125-acre ranch in the 1970s as a gift for youth. The ranch's operating budget depends heavily on grants and donations. 

Elkus Ranch video created by Sarah Thorpe and used with permission. Thank you, Sarah!

Please Note: Though we love to share the ranch with visitors, reservations are required for all events and we are not open to the public on a daily basis. Please check our Upcoming Events for the next opportunity to visit or schedule a private tour for your group. Thank you!

Any photography or recordings created by UC Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center at all events are, and will remain the property of UCCE and UC Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center for educational and promotional use only.


Our Location

Who to Contact

Program Coordinator:
Leslie Jensen

Telephone: 650-712-3151
Email: elkusranch@ucanr.edu or lkjensen@ucanr.edu

Elkus Ranch grounds photo

Proud Member of the Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce

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Webmaster Email: elkusranch@ucanr.edu