EEA Newsletter

October 2022 | Vol.3

Check out these events this October!

Ecology Center Fall Speaker Series

Each month, we will learn about a different local topic that is relevant to Evanston and surrounding communities at the Ecology Center. On October 13th from 7-8 pm, the Citizens Utility Board will present on energy efficiency. Learn more about how energy infrastructure works, take home tips to reduce your energy use, and explore options for solar power programs that you can access.

To register for this or future events, please click here or call the Ecology Center at 847-448-8256

Did you know...?

Schools Are Gardening in Evanston!

Are you aware that the Evanston community is unique in having many edible gardens on their school grounds? With support from SAGE, a program of the EEA, with help from a multitude of dedicated school volunteers and the involvement of the wider community, these gardens have grown and expanded over 20 years.

On October 13th from 4-5pm, garden coordinator Camille Walker will lead a tour of their garden at Oakton School. Learn how students, teachers, and families are engaged in planting and harvesting of edibles, caring for the Earth, and sharing their bountiful harvest. See the impressive infrastructure, including raised beds, fruiting trees, and an irrigation system. The garden is located at the corner of Ridge Ave and Austin St. Parking can be found behind the school. We hope to see you there!

We’re Ovar It:

A Discussion about Earth-Friendly Menstrual Wellness

Join Go Green Wilmette on October 12 at 7pm for "We’re Ovar It," a webinar discussion about earth-friendly menstrual wellness. It’s time to address how period products affect the health of our bodies and the earth through a discussion and Q&A with activists and experts within the earth-friendly wellness space. Register here.

Wild and Scenic Views from James Park

We want to thank EVERYONE who joined us at the August screening of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival presented by NorthShore University Health System. We were blessed with calm skies and a beautiful sunset in Evanston’s own James Park for the outdoor screening on August 26th. Over 150 guests got to watch these inspiring films for free. We sincerely hope you enjoyed this event and we'll see you next year!

Everyone was cozied up as we settled in to watch some incredible films. Thanks Karen for the photograph!

Plant of the Month

Smooth Aster Symphyotrichum laeve

Smooth Aster is a gorgeous late-blooming flower, native to Illinois. You may run into this violet beauty along road-sides or in open fields, as the plant enjoys bathing in full sunlight. Not only is this flower pollinated by many bees and butterflies, it is a host for the larvae of the Pearl Crescent Butterfly!

Photo Credit: Katy Chayka,,

Meet the Board: Karen Taira

Karen was born and raised in Evanston and currently lives here with her family. Karen has worked with the EEA since 1996 when she was an employee of the Ecology Center. She is currently the EEA's board president and has been on the board since 2011.

Karen loves the natural world, and REALLY loves plants. She has a bachelor's degree in Biology from Loyola University and masters in Plant Biology and Conservation from Northwestern University. In her free time, Karen enjoys botanizing, birding, canoeing, and spoiling her dog.  

In the community...

Lucy Elam shared photos of her gorgeous garden located in south Evanston. Check out the beautiful Purple Coneflowers and Grey-headed Cone Flower blooms. What a great way to showcase native plants. I’m sure the bees and butterflies are loving her hard work!

Do you want to show off your unique native garden, composting set-up, or other environmentally-motivated project? Send an email to and you might get featured!

A Bird's Journey

Photo Credit: María Dabrowski

Twice a year, many native songbirds and raptors make a crazy trek between North and South America. Birds as small as tiny hummingbirds fly thousands of miles from their feeding grounds to their breeding grounds, relying on insects, berries, good habitat and fair weather to make it safely. They also need dark skies to orient themselves properly.

One of the biggest threats to birds during migration is windows. Seeing the reflection of trees or other buildings confuses them, and up to one billion birds die from window collisions in the US each year (American Bird Conservancy).

What can you do? Take these three steps. Turn off unnecessary lighting at night. If you have problematic windows, check out the American Bird Conservancy’s website for ways to make your glass bird-friendly. Finally, contact the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors if you find an injured or deceased bird and check out their website for more information. Dark skies are better for birds, reduce light pollution, save energy and allow us to see stars. What could be better?

Follow María Dabrowski on Instagram @GoGreenForTheOcean for more!

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