EEA Newsletter

February 2023 | Vol. 5

Check out these events!

2023 EEA Wild & Scenic Film Festival

presented by Northshore University Health System

Join us for a night of exceptional, award-winning environmentally inspired films. We handpicked these films from the national sponsor, SYRCL's, selection to curate a unique experience for Evanstonians and those in the surrounding areas. Space is limited, get your tickets before we sell out!

Event takes place Friday, March 3rd at Rotary International, One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201. Doors open at 6:30pm.

New or renewing EEA members get discounted tickets! Click here to join or renew your membership.


Please note: you must complete the transaction to join/renew before purchasing your tickets in order for the discount to apply.

What we can learn from Uruguay's climate reform...

Come to the Beth Emet Synagogue on March 1st to hear from Alejandro Trenchi and Jackson Mihm who work with the Caribbean Climate Change Project. They will be examining the impressive environmental steps taken by Uruguay, which helped it become a global leader in sustainability and ecological resiliency.


March 1st, 7:30pm-9pm

Beth Emet Free Synagogue

1224 Dempster St

Evanston, IL, 60202

Indoor Farmer's Market

Do you miss all the delicious jams, baked goods, and crafts available at Evanston's summer farmer's markets? Catch the Indoors Farmer's Market at the Ecology Center (2024 McCormick Blvd) on Saturdays, 8am-12pm. Dates listed below.

The last winter dates are listed below, click here for more information.

February 11th and 25th

March 11th and 25th

2022 Blueberry Awards

We are proud to invite you to the second annual Blueberry Awards, a celebration of the books that helped young readers connect with the environment in 2022.

This year's awards will be hosted at the Ecology Center (2024 McCormick Blvd, Evanston, IL, 60601) on March 23rd, 7-8:30pm. Register here.

Bird Buzz Native Plant Sale Goes Live March 3rd!

Sale goes live March 3rd

Pick up day:

June 3rd, 12:30 - 4:30

Ingraham Park/Civic Center

2100 Ridge Ave

Evanston, IL 60201

The early bird gets the worm!

We are excited to announce that the 3rd annual Bird Buzz Native Plant Sale will be going live on our website, Friday, March 3rd to purchase online. This year we will be pre-sorting the plants before pick up day so that the event will run smoothly and efficiently. We have revamped our stock based on the popularity of certain varieties and changed the pricing to better reflect the actual price of the plants.

This sale is intended to allow Evanstonians, friends and neighbors, access to a wider variety of local plants to benefit bees, butterflies, and the other pollinators that are critical for maintaining our local ecosystem. Help "re-wild" Evanston and our region. Mark your calendars for March 3rd so you can scoop up these wonderful natives before they sell out!

Q&A with Local Eco-Champion Libby Hill

Libby Hill (farthest right) and her Sunday volunteers at Perkins Woods.

Photo Credit: Al Cubbage

Q: What are some of the best things Evanstonians can do to support our native ecosystem?

A: Perkins Woods is what Northwest Evanston looked like before it was turned into a residential area. The plants that grow in Perkins are growing in the same clay soil as the neighborhood, so residents can learn what grows well in the woods and purchase some of the same plants for their own back yards. The best examples are the spring wildflowers that grow in the woods, and some of the summer plants like Great Blue Lobelia. One of the best things we can all do to support our native ecosystem is to plant native flowers and shrubs that support our local insects and migrating birds and replace at least some of our grass lawns.

Q: How did you get involved with Perkin’s Woods and the Forest Preserves of Cook County?

A: I was recommended to be the steward after asking permission to remove invasive garlic mustard along Ewing. I set up a neighborhood meeting and block party and we pulled out garlic mustard. After two years, volunteers expanded beyond the neighborhood. The work we do in the woods now has evolved over time as needs have changed. We've pretty much eradicated the garlic mustard, and learned how to control buckthorn, but we have had to deal with dying green ash trees because of the emerald ash borer. Ash trees were the prominent tree in the woods after the elms died.

Q: What are some things people can and can't do when visiting the woods?

A: We love to have kids in the woods, but recently we have had problems with kids building bike ramps in the woods and building huts from sticks. Dumping is also a problem along the parkway. Neighbors or landscapers dump leaves and grass cuttings in the woods, bringing invasive species that volunteers have to work to clear out. The woods are owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and it is actually illegal to remove anything from the woods or use it as a dumping ground, even for pumpkins! That's a Forest Preserve law. Almost everyone nowadays days keeps their dogs leashed and cleans up after them, which is great.

Q: How do you see the future of natural area stewardship?

A: We need younger people who are committed to volunteering in the woods. It is important to find young people who want to be involved, but even I did not get involved with the woods until I retired and had more time on my hands. People can learn an enormous amount about the natural world by volunteering in the woods and then, hopefully, get on a path to stewardship. The Forest Preserve has lots of training programs, from learning about plants to monitoring frogs. Stewards will come from those who take the opportunities to volunteer and learn. Co-stewarding with another person is a great way to make the responsibilities more manageable.

Chicken of the Woods (genus: Laetiporus) growing on a dead tree in Perkins

Q: What are some of the most memorable findings you’ve stumbled upon while botanizing in the woods?

A: Chicken of the Woods is a standout discovery! Really all the fungi we have attempted to identify with iNaturalist have been amazing finds. Once we cleared out invasive species and opened up the forest floor, plants we want seeded themselves and began to sprout up in all sorts of unexpected places.

Libby will be hosting the first ever burn day at Perkins Woods on February 12th! Volunteers will be joining together to burn buckthorn clippings and share coffee together. Contact Libby at if you are interested.

Bountiful Opportunities at the Foster Street Garden

Established in 2016, Foster Street Garden program is a collaboration between Family Focus Evanston and The Evanston Food Exchange. Children in this program learn about urban agriculture, entrepreneurship, and cooking. The Foster Street Garden is the main initiative of the Evanston Food Exchange. We run the garden from March to October and grow a variety of delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Our president, Chef Q Ibraheem, warmly brought in youth from the after-school and summer programs to teach them invaluable cooking and professional skills.

We welcomed Matt Ryan in 2021 to help us increase production. His contribution helped us distribute more than 1,400 pounds of food from the Foster garden into the community. 

Our partnership with other efforts to grow more food in Evanston has strengthened our resolve to offer locally grown food to more people in the Fifth Ward of Evanston. The new Free Farmstand between Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center and Family Focus drew in many from the community. 

Please come and visit! Bring your time and talent to bear on the many ways to volunteer

Foster Street Urban Agriculture Program

Evanston Food Exchange  

Anne Sills, Board Member & Director

P: 847.814.3779


Get involved with us!

We are still on the hunt for board members to enrich our board, bring new ideas to the table, and share their skills. Our most needed positions are the Marketing Lead and Secretary.

The Marketing Lead is a two-year position in charge of our social media presence and email blasts. The Secretary position is an executive position lasting three years and entails taking minutes at our monthly meetings and keeping the board organized. Click the links for more information.

We also need casual volunteers for all our events, especially the upcoming 2023 Wild and Scenic Film Festival and Plant Sale!

Email us at if any of these opportunities seem interesting to you!

The board with the MOST local honey you could ever eat, honey from the Ecology Center's Apiary! This honey was gifted to staff and volunteers.

Plant of the Month


Helenium autumnale

Image Credit: © 2007 Louis-M. Landry

Helenium autumnale, also known as Sneezeweed, is a member of the Aster family known for its golden, late blooming flowers. It caught its name sneezeweed based on its historical use as a snuff intended to cause sneezing to rid the body of ailments.

This yellow beauty blooms in autumn, allowing you to have a pop of color in the fall. It grows best in moist soils in partial to full sun. The plant produces a poisonous substance, used to protect itself from diseases and wandering herbivores, so be careful with this beauty around unguarded pets.

You can pre-order Sneezeweed for our plant sale starting 3/3!

Meet the Board: Julia Bunn

Julia Bunn became an Evanston resident in 2017. After attending EEA’s 2019 Breakfast with the Board, she saw an opportunity to re-establish native ecosystems in the city through working with this group that supports the Evanston Ecology Center and encourages environmental awareness in the community. In 2021, she recommended starting the first annual Bird Buzz Native Plant Sale.

Julia graduated with an art degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, her love of nature piqued by wildlife biology classes. In 2007 she completed the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Ornamental Plant Certificate as well as launching her Spirited Gardener design company. She soon realized that the use of native plants as decorations would be better served to re-wild our outdoor spaces, provide habitat for creatures great and small, and encourage the revitalization of our regional biodiversity.

Become an EEA Member Today!

Now is the perfect time to join the EEA as a member! Not only do you get free snowshoe rentals at the Ecology Center (Monday-Friday, 9am-2:30pm), you also get 20% discounts at the plant sale and Garden Walk. New and renewing members get discounted tickets to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival too!

When you join the Evanston Environmental Association, your fully tax-deductible gift supports the work of the Evanston Ecology Center and the activities of the EEA. Take advantage of EEA membership benefits and join today!


The Evanston Environmental Association wants to thank our generous donor, the Archer-Patterson Family Foundation, for their continued support.