OOS 30-6 - From Chicago’s Urban Ecosystems to a Global Vision

Wednesday, August 10, 2011: 3:20 PM
14, Austin Convention Center
Kellen Marshall, Department of Biological Science M/C 066, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, Tiffany Simons Chan, Eden Place Nature Center, Chicago, IL and Miquel Gonzalez-Meler, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois - Chicago, Chicago, IL

Eden Place Nature Center is an environmental education center located on the south side of Chicago.  The nature center is situated in the Fuller Park community plagued with multipe environmental inequities included being located in a food desert, Pb posioning, and a hiigh proportion of vacant and or abandoned lots.  The nature center serves as a gateway to connect this predominantly African American community and other minoirty communities to an understanding of their local urban ecosystems through small education ecosystems on the 3.5 acre piece of land; which was a previous brownfield.  The nature center educates and engages the community to larger scale issues through a  cross continental program centered around a North American butterfly the Monarch (Danaus plexippus).  The Monarch Live program tracks the migration, life cycle and habitats of the Monarch through connecting citizen scienc eprograms online in Canada, the United States and Mexico.  More importantly there have been social benefits through this project that relates socio-ecological conflicts in Mexico to similar socio-ecological conflicts at the nature center.



Earth stewardship begins with an understanding of ones local environment.  We highlight the use of educational ecosystems that provide stewardship opportunities that connect with cultural communities.  Furthermore engaging residents through educational opportunities related to their immediate surroundings allows for them to connect their role and subsequent actions to the larger global community.

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Banner photo by Flickr user greg westfall.