EEA History

The Evanston Environmental Association (EEA) has a long and successful history of getting things done. Below is a timeline of the more noteworthy accomplishments in the EEA's history:  

  • In 2016, the EEA donated $43,000 to the City of Evanston to help finance a project to enlarge and improve the Ecology Center's classroom. The new classroom was dedicated as the Elizabeth A. Patterson classroom in March of that same year.
  • In 2015, the EEA started Livable Landscapes with the City of Evanston and Nature's Perspective to help residents manage stormwater with planting strategies, and started a new summer camp scholarship program for families in need of financial assistance. 
  • In 2012, the EEA and the Ecology Center began the annual Wild & Scenic film festival which features outstanding movie selections from the largest and most renowned environmental film festival in the U.S.
  • In that same year, the Evanston City Council approved a resolution that called for the EEA and the City to work in partnership on the implementation of a jointly created financial plan that was designed to achieve financial self reliance for the Ecology Center. The resolution also provided approval for the renovation of the Ecology Center's classroom.  
  • Also in 2012, the first Evanston Green Ball was co-presented by the EEA and the City of Evanston.  The event was a big success as a fund raiser for the Ecology Center and has become an annual "must attend" event for the environmental community of Evanston and surrounding cities. 
  • And late In 2012, two outstanding programs developed by Keep Evanston Beautiful (KEB) were integrated in to the Evanston Environmental Association - the Evanston Garden Walk and SAGE (Schools Are Gardening in Evanston).
  • In 2007, the EEA and the City of Evanston held the first Evanston Green Living Festival at the Ecology Center.  The green fest is now an annual event and was integrated into Evanston Streets Alive in 2015.
  • In the late 1990's, faced with increased interest in classes and programs and having nowhere to hold them, the EEA started developing plans for a major addition to the Ecology Center.  Ultimately, the $850,000 project, that was dedicated in 2004, was funded mostly by private donations and grants from the State of Illinois.
  • In 1990, Ecology Center programs were continuing to grow, but due to reduced funding, the classes, tours, and programs offered by the Ecology center at the Lighthouse were eliminated.  Environmental programs however did continue in the North and South fog houses, as well as in the Carlson greenhouse.
  • In 1986, a project to construct the Dr. Margery Carlson greenhouse was completed by the EEA, the Garden Club of Evanston, and the Highland Garden Club.
  • In 1982, the EEA helped facilitate the creation of a solar greenhouse at the Ecology Center, and in that same year, new Alternative Energy programs were begun at the Ecology Center.
  • In 1980, the City of Evanston and the EEA in partnership with the Junior League completed another lighthouse improvement project.
  • In 1976, the EEA was established as a non-profit  organization to support the Ecology Center's environmental education programs being offered at the Center, Ladd Arboretum and Lighthouse Nature Center. 
  • Also In 1976, the EEA completed a demonstration project at the Ecology Center to educate visitors on energy efficiency and alternative energy.  Additionally, the EEA commissioned a land use master plan and undertook significant improvements to the facilities at the lighthouse complex and arboretum.
  • The Evanston Ecology Center was dedicated on Arbor Day, 1974 as a facility where environmental classes could be conducted for the people of Evanston.

Historic Articles - the EEA and Ecology Center


Epoch B, 1978. This is an excellent article about Chicago communities that were pioneers in energy conservation. Evanston is highlighted towards the beginning of the article and some great background is provided on the early days of the Ecology Center, the EEA and Epoch B. 

Evanston 'igloo' center for teaching conservation

January 30, 1982. This article is on the Ecology Center and the various programs and projects that were taking place there back in the early 1980's. 



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