Local Environmental Groups

Audubon Chicago Region

With 200,000 acres of conservation land, the Chicago metropolitan area encompasses many of the finest and largest tracts of native tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, woodland and wetland left in the Midwest. Audubon Chicago Region saves wildlife and habitat, and to keep it safe permanently we are hard at work creating a local culture of conservation. Though a small staff is ready to step in where necessary, most of Audubon’s work is done by hundreds of volunteers. They include citizen scientists, land stewards, advocates, and more. Everyone is invited to help out.

Center for Neighborhood Technology

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) has been a leader in urban sustainable development since 1978. As a creative think-and-do-tank, we research, invent, and test strategies that use resources more efficiently and more equitably. CNT takes a solution-oriented approach that reflects a commitment to communities and nature. We use broad-based education and coalition building, public policy advocacy, creation of tools for transparency and accountability in public and private markets, and on-the-ground implementation of urban programs. Our work includes: transportation and community development, natural resources, energy, and climate. All of our work is focused on simultaneously improving the environment, strengthening the economy, and advancing community assets.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby — Evanston Chapter

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. CCL is proposing a Carbon Fee and Dividend policy, which will (1) place a steadily rising fee on the CO2 content of fossil fuels and (2) give all of the revenue from the carbon fee back to households. To generate the political will necessary for passage of this proposal, CCL trains and supports volunteers to engage elected officials, the media, and the public.

City of Evanston Environmental Board

One of the City’s boards and commissions, the Environment Board investigates environmental issues and develops policy recommendations for submission to the City Council, on matters related to Evanston and City operations including air, water, waste, transportation, energy efficiency, and public education. Its members are appointed by the Mayor.

City of Evanston Sustainability Office

The Evanston Office of Sustainability works with residents, businesses, City departments, and regional, state and national partners to develop and implement policies and initiatives that strengthen the environmental and economic sustainability of Evanston. The Office of Sustainability was created in May 2007, shortly after the City’s Strategic Plan identified environmental sustainability as one of three guiding values for Evanston. Focus areas for the Office include climate change, energy and buildings, transportation and air quality, waste reduction and recycling, and land and water.

Collective Resource

Collective Resource provides a door-to-door food scrap pick-up service, reducing landfill use through organic recycling and composting.


Eco-Reps organize activities and events, create tools and resources, and practice “sustainable living” themselves to raise awareness and mobilize the Northwestern University campus culture around sustainability. There are Eco-Reps for residential halls, colleges, greek chapters, and off-campus living.

Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) – Northwestern University

Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) mobilizes students through education, training, and practical action, building collaborative partnerships to meet the needs of current and future generations. ESW-NU builds leaders in sustainability by educating ourselves, educating our community, and committing to action-oriented projects. Through this model we have not only advanced sustainability on our campus and around the world, but we have inspired several Northwestern students to go on to careers in industry, policy, and organizations promoting sustainability.

ETHS Edible Acre Pilot Project

The Evanston Township High School Edible Acre Project is a school garden with 24 raised beds located on a lot across the street from the high school. It was designed in partnership with The Talking Farm to enhance student understanding of all aspects of organic food production. Horticulture students are responsible for the maintenance of the garden during the school year, and we employ youth to work in the garden during the summer months. Food grown in the garden is prepared and served in the ETHS cafeterias, donated to soup kitchens, or sold at a farmers market. Classes that have visited and/or contributed to the garden include: Health/PE, Culinary Arts, Geometry, Manufacturing, Graphic Arts, Digital Photography, Senior Studies, and Community Service.

ETHS Green Team

Green Team is Evanston Township High School’s student organization focusing on environmental issues. It is a great place to meet new people, have a fun time, and make a difference in your school. Green Team sponsors several events during the year that help make our high school a greener place to learn.

Evanston Backyard Chicken Committee

The Evanston Backyard Chicken Committee is a group of local citizens who are interested in keeping backyard chickens as a source for eggs.

Evanston Bike Club

The Evanston Bike Club is a recreational club serving northern Chicago and the northern suburbs. It schedules weekend and weekday rides, from short recreational rides to ultra-marathon events. Its annual fund-raising event, the North Shore Century, is held on the third Sunday in September.

Evanston Environmental Association (EEA)

The Evanston Environmental Association, formed in 1976, is a community-centered, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting conservation and preserving natural resources through education in Evanston and throughout the North Shore. Our objectives include fostering appreciation of natural resources and advancing prudent utilization of those resources in an urban environment. In pursuit of these objectives, the EEA promotes and demonstrates environmental awareness, serving people of all ages in cooperation with complementary groups and community agencies. The Ladd Arboretum and Ecology Center are the focal point of these activities, along with Lighthouse Landing; the Center is the home of the EEA.

Evanston Food Council

Evanston Food Council
The Council is a grassroots group working to ensure everyone’s access to a safe and diverse regional food supply and to foster awareness of healthy food choices. We advocate sustainable agricultural policies, support organic growing practices, and promote active urban-rural connections through our local food system. We have no formal structure or regular meetings. We respond to any like-minded initiatives in Evanston, northern Cook County, Chicago metro-area, Illinois, the Midwest, nationally. We specialize in public policy and civic engagement in building sustainable healthy farm and food systems that work for everyone, at every meal.

Evanston Garden Council

The Evanston Garden Council is an association of five local garden clubs.

Evanston Interreligious Sustainability Circle

The Evanston Interreligious Sustainability Circle was founded in 1999 by members of diverse religious congregations as an expression of their Care of Creation, with a commitment to make Evanston a more sustainable place. The Circle has sparked the formation of seven other sustainability groups. The Circle meets monthly on the second Sunday from 3-5 at the Friends Meeting House, 1010 Greenleaf. The Circle supports the greening of individual congregations and sponsors various community-wide events. Participation is welcomed.

Evanston North Shore Bird Club

The Evanston North Shore Bird Club, founded in 1919, is an organization devoted to wild birds and their habitats. It is committed to sharing this devotion with anyone interested in the natural world.

Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse

Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse is a nonprofit organization that promote reduction of waste in landfills through sustainable deconstruction and renovation building practices.

Evanston TreeKeepers

Evanston TreeKeepers is committed to caring for Evanston’s trees by raising awareness of the value of Evanston’s urban forest and promoting best practices in tree care among residents, local businesses, and organizations. The group organizes work days, family events, and other activities and welcomes anyone who is interested in getting involved. For information about upcoming meetings and events, visit the TreeKeepers’ Facebook page.

Garden Club of Evanston

The Garden Club of Evanston seeks to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening among amateurs, share the advantages of association through conferences and correspondence in this country and abroad, to aid in the protection of native plants and birds, and to encourage civic planting.

Global Engagement Summit – Northwestern University

The Global Engagement Summit (GES) is a training conference for students committed to global change. At GES, students learn from workshops led by leaders in the social change sector, network with like-minded peers from across the world, and develop the skills necessary to implement change-based projects. By connecting driven students with innovative thought leaders, GES strives to train students to cross borders and partner with new communities to produce responsible solutions to shared global problems.

Go Green Wilmette

Go Green Wilmette is a not-for profit organization dedicated to raising environmental awareness in the community and inspiring residents to take action to make Wilmette a more earth-friendly place to live. Our activities include: book discussions, film showings, and Green Teas focused on important environmental topics; community service (park planting and restoration); school garden programs; activities in conjunction with 350.org, Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Wilmette Bike Task Force, and others; advocacy for village ordinances (leaf blower restrictions, no idling, formation of the Wilmette Environmental & Energy Commission); development and distribution of a recycling guide; field trips; and our annual Going Green Matters Environmental Fair.

Green Cup – Northwestern University

Green Cup is a competition among Northwestern dorms, fraternities, and sororities to conserve the most energy and water. Prizes are awarded to the winning dorms with and without dining halls, and to the top sorority and fraternity. Green Cup takes place during the month of February. Weekly events offer entertainment, giveaways, and green living tips that will help participants win the competition. Smaller events, such as firesides and themed dinners, offer opportunities to learn about conservation practices and how they contribute to the bigger picture. Scoring for Green Cup is based entirely on reduction of water and electricity utilities.

Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) – Northwestern University

The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) was established in 2008 as an umbrella organization whose mission on behalf of the University is to catalyze new science, technology, learning and policy for sustainability and energy. ISEN meets these challenges through interdisciplinary and transformational education and research coupled with local and global outreach.

Kellogg Sustainable Business Club – Northwestern University

A student club at the Kellogg School of Management, the Sustainable Business Club (SBC) seeks to increase the Kellogg community’s awareness of environmentally sustainable opportunities and careers in business and to continually encourage, implement, and improve environmentally sustainable practices at Kellogg.

League of Women Voters of Evanston

The League of Women Voters of Evanston is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The Evanston League sponsors candidate debates, presents educational programs about current governmental issues, registers voters, and takes action on issues studied by League members. It is part of a grassroots organization working at the local, state, and national levels. A current action priority is global climate change, and the League has produced a Toolkit for Climate Action to support efforts to protect our planet.

Northwestern University Office of Sustainability

Northwestern is committed to taking appropriate steps to minimize our impact on the natural environment. These steps include specific policies, projects and broader initiatives, such as recycling services and providing environmental education. The Northwestern University Office of Sustainability works to disseminate this information and stimulate dialogue regarding sustainability at the university as well as collaborates with stakeholders within the institution to lower our carbon footprint. The office encourages its students to join one of the many sustainable groups on campus.

Roosevelt Institute – Northwestern University

The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network is a nonprofit, nonpartisan national network of campus-based student think tanks. Its members conduct policy research on the pressing political issues facing our world, from environmental protection to equality under the law to trade and taxes. Roosevelt connects the fruits of that research to the policy process, delivering sound, progressive proposals to policymakers and advocacy groups at all levels of government as it organizes, trains, and empowers the next generation of progressive leaders. In particular, the Center for Energy and the Environment as part of the Northwestern Chapter of the Roosevelt Institute strives to work on campus and in the local community to craft and implement policies promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness.

Sierra Club (Chicago Group)

The Chicago Group is the local representative of the Sierra Club, a nationwide environmental organization with 1.4 million members. Our group has 8,000 members in a territory stretching from Wilmette to Indiana. We work on environmental issues such as clean air, clean energy, habitat restoration, and Great Lakes issues. We are active in environmental politics, including election endorsements for good environmental candidates at all levels of government, and lobby regularly on local, state and national conservation issues. Sierra Club also offers a very active outings program, including hiking, biking, backpacking and more. Volunteers are always welcome.

Solar Car Team – Northwestern University

We are an undergraduate student organization at Northwestern University dedicated to enhancing the education of our members, supporting alternative energy though outreach events, and participating in solar car design competitions such as the North American Solar Challenge. Basically we design, build and race solar cars. The point is so that we have an opportunity to do real engineering while in school and to show other people what solar power and electric cars are capable of.

Students for Ecological and Environmental Development (SEED)

SEED’s mission is to pioneer, teach, and model environmental stewardship so as to inspire our future leaders to act in ways that protect and sustain our planet. SEED works to affect the state of the environment and to support progressive environmental movements at Northwestern University. Through event programming, service, and advocacy, SEED seeks to engage the entire Northwestern and Evanston communities to further sustainability.

Talking Farm

The Talking Farm is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to cultivate healthy, sustainable communities by supporting the production and appreciation of locally grown food. Our vision includes both a physical space to grow food for sale to the community, as well as the educational and knowledge-sharing activities that emerge from the operations of an urban, organic farm dedicated to establishing sustainable food security for the Evanston/Skokie community. Local agricultural programs are thriving in many cities all over the country–indeed, all over the world–because they offer enormous benefits to the local economy, the environment, and the health of our citizens.

Wild Roots – Northwestern University

Wild Roots is a student-directed garden which grows fresh produce for the Northwestern and Evanston communities using sustainable practices. Wild Roots serves the evolving educational and social needs of the Northwestern community by inspiring students to think critically about the food we eat and by starting conversations about sustainability, social justice, and our food system.