Category Archives: Environment

These organizations advocate for ecological and conservation issues.

Chicago Gateway Green

Green Gateway Logo

Chicago Gateway Green is a non-profit organization dedicated to the beautification of the Chicagoland area, benefiting the environment and improving the quality-of-life for millions of residents and annual visitors.

In August of 1996, Gateway Green and the City of Chicago dedicated the award winning Donald J. DePorter Gateway, formerly the North Orleans Triangle, located at the base of the Kennedy Expressway and the Ohio and Ontario Street feeder ramp. This “Gateway to Chicago” was transformed through extensive landscaping and the relocation of the famed sculpture “Being Born” by Virginio Ferrari.

Due to the excited reception of the creation of this new ‘gateway’ to Chicago, Gateway Green was approached to develop a similar ‘gateway’ near the McCormick Convention Center. In 1998, Gateway Green dedicated its second sculpture-enhanced ‘gateway.’ The dramatic 60’ wide sculpture Arris, created by artist John Henry, serves as the focal point of the McCormick Gateway, greeting visitors to Chicago’s McCormick Place at the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Cermak Road.

Ultimately these projects became the launching pad for an intense redevelopment of much of Chicago’s front lawn. In 1999, Gateway Green developed the Expressway Partnership program, which joins the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois with Chicago’s corporate community to “transform our Expressways into Parkways.” Distinct from traditional ‘adopt-a-highway’ programs in other states, Gateway Green develops and maintains each sponsor’s site through the run of the program. The Expressway Partnership program includes various sites along the Kennedy, Eisenhower, Stevenson, Dan Ryan and Edens Expressways.

In 2005, with the continued growth of the Expressway Partnership, Chicago Gateway Green launched an entirely new landscape design concept on Kennedy Expressway. Contiguous, undulating mow lines were implemented to connect O’Hare Airport to the Loop. The effect was to lessen harmful pollution emissions, as well as expand existing plants beds, creating a tiered landscape inclusive of native Illinois grasses. The effect is reminiscent of Midwestern prairies. With the success of this new design, similar concepts will be developed on the Eisenhower (2006) and the Dan Ryan.

As sponsors continue to join our efforts, and as the overall profile of the organization is further raised through our fundraising events and promotions, the scope of our mission continues to expand as well. Our goal is to transform Chicago’s reputation from a gritty city of “big shoulders” to 21st century metropolis leading the way in responsible environmental development as one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

The AMA Building
515 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
312-645-8993 (Fax)


Chicagoland Transportation and Air Quality Commission

Born out of the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), CTAQC was founded to focus on opportunities for the public to impact regional transportation planning. With the advent of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991, CNT recruited seven core partners dedicated to bringing federal mandates to northeastern Illinois. By 1994, CTAQC was formed with 33 members.CTAQC published its first Citizen Transportation Plan in 1995 based on recommendations of stakeholder task forces. The plan called for more community-building projects, with greater emphasis on maintaining existing communities and more transit, bicycle and pedestrian investment. Six years later, to update our understanding of public opinion, Connecting Communities Summits were held in eleven local areas of the northeastern Illinois region to facilitate public involvment in transportation planning. The comments of the summits were synthesized into a report, Changing Direction: Transportation Choices for 2030, and published in 2002. Today over 190 organizations have endorsed the ideals of the plan.As the Tranportation Efficiency Act periodically comes up for re-authorization, CTAQC looks forward to strengthening federal policy to the benefit of local stakeholders. CTAQC has developed a two-pronged approach, combining public involvement with advocacy. We do this because we recognized the need to help residents understand policy makers as well as the need to aid policy makers in understanding taxpayers.CTAQC has taken a lead in formulating unique public involvement guidelines and tools that have been successfully applied in real-life community-building situations. CTAQC has designed, tested and implemented charettes as one type of instrument for participants to make proactive and creative suggestions to improve thier communities. Using the processes outlined, participants learn the context and lexicon needed to effectively communicate with their elected officials and transportation planners. We provide our constituency with the tools to reach consensus; our constituency provides the consensus.CTAQC has published literature synthesizing the public’s wishes into clear, concise, and comprehensive documentation that resonates with decision makers. We are also involved in monitoring public meetings of regional transportation policy agencies. CTAQC seeks a region in which taxpayers are seen as a critical constituency and are sought out by decision makers for input on the design of their communities and region. This vision can be achieved by building a trust between taxpayers and policy makers and by initiating a permanent dialogue that addresses the needs of all users and potential users of the area.We believe in: inclusive planning, equitable access to regional resources, investment in quality-of-life goals, development of a safe and accessible travel environment for all and preservation of open space. Website: c/o Center for Neighborhood Technology 2125 W. North AveChicago, IL 60647 Phone: 773-278-4800 x2030
Fax: 773-278-3840

Student Environmental Organizations

The Environmental Concerns Organization (ECO) is the main student environmental activist organization at the University. They organize informational events, protests, letter-writing campaigns, and other events throughout the year. They also are the lead organizers of the campus-wide Earth Week celebrations each year.


Address: 920 E. 58th Street Chicago, IL 60637

Phone: (773) 834-0621

Environmental Groups in the Calumet Region

The Calumet Environmental Resource Center (CERC) is a unique resource library, meeting place and referral network where local community residents, government officials, nonprofit environmental organizations, and others can learn about and respond to pressing environmental issues in the Calumet Region.   CERC was established in 1991 through a joint effort of the Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center at Chicago State University, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Chicago Legal Clinic and is operated by the Neighborhood Assistance
Center at CSU.  CERC works with numerous community organizations, businesses, and residents seeking to enhance economic development, protect the area’s fragile environment, and monitor the health and safety of their communities.   CERC’s extensive resource collection continues to grow daily and contains over 3,000 assorted reports, documents, maps, books, photographs and other resources that specifically focus on the Calumet region of southeastern Chicago, Cook County, and northwestern Indiana. As a comprehensive storehouse of government documents, industry profiles, and scientific research papers on past environmental pollution and current toxic hazards in the region, the center enables community groups and individuals to formulate effective strategies towards addressing local and regional environmental concerns.  

Michael Siola is the research specialist in charge of the collection which is housed in the Paul & Emily Douglas Library housed at Chicago State University. The center is open Monday through Friday from 10:00AM until 5:00PM. An appointment is not necessary, but it is always best to call ahead so we may better coordinate your research activities.


Adress:  9501 South King Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60628

Phone: | (773) 995-2000

Chicago Sustainable Development & New Urbanism Meetup Group


Meet other local people who are interested in Sustainable Development and New Urbanism.
Let’s define what we mean by “sustainable,” “energy-efficient,” “green,” etc. and then work toward making it happen here in
Chicago!  What are the building blocks of “sustainability?” What are the most important issues that need to be addressed? What issues are important to you when you look at your home, your neighborhood and your city? What actions can we take to effect true change that benefits everyone? We hope to answer these questions through conversations with local experts and other community members.
Let’s work toward having more energy-efficient, healthy and “sustainable” options when looking for a new home. Let’s create neighborhoods that are of human scale, cohesive and prepared for the future. Let’s restore our urban fabric and communities!


Adress: 60657

Environmental Law & Policy Center

The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental advocacy organization working to achieve cleaner energy resources and implement sustainable energy strategies, promote innovative and efficient transportation and land use approaches that produce cleaner air and more jobs, and develop sound environmental management practices that conserve natural resources and improve the quality of life in our communities. One of ELPC’s premises is that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together. Our projects around the Midwest put that policy belief into practice.

ELPC’s multidisciplinary staff of public interest attorneys, M.B.A. financial analysts, public policy advocates and communications specialists bring a strong and effective combination of skills to solve environmental problems. We are “public interest environmental entrepreneurs,” identifying opportunities to improve environmental quality in the Midwest and then working actively to develop and achieve the potential benefits. Our Midwest High-Speed Rail Network and Recycled Paper Coalition projects exemplify this approach. We also provide key legal and technical resources to local environmental groups through a combination of legal representation, economic analysis and public policy research.

ELPC was founded in 1993 after a year-long strategic planning process sponsored by seven major foundations. We meet two long-term needs in the Midwest: (1) increased public interest legal, economic and scientific resources devoted to important environmental and energy policy issues; and (2) a strategic regional perspective as energy, transportation, and forests and land conservation issues are increasingly regional in scope, complex and require coordinated strategies to shape public policy. ELPC brings a new form of creative public advocacy that effectively links environmental progress and economic development in Midwestern communities.



Environmental Law & Policy Center
35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-673-6500, Fax: 312-795-3730



The Conservation Foundation

Established in 1972 by business and community leaders, The Conservation Foundation is a not-for profit watershed protection organization. Our headquarters are located in Naperville, Illinois, on a 60 acre working farm, and a program office located in Montgomery, Illinois on a preserved farmstead.

The mission of the Foundation is to preserve open space and natural lands, protect rivers and watershed and promote stewardship of our environment. The Foundation maintains a support base of nearly 4,000 members and donors, and 500 volunteers in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties, Illinois. Although we work throughout Northeastern Illinois, these are the counties in which we focus our efforts.


McDonald Farm

10S404 Knoch Knolls Road, Naperville, IL 60565

Phone: (630) 428-4500, Fax (630) 428-4599

People for Community Recovery

PCR’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for low-income residents living in communities affected by pollution. PCR educates , advocates policy and programs in an effort to coordinate local residents on issues of the environment, health, housing, neighborhood safety and economic equity.


PCR‘s founder and CEO, Hazel Johnson dedicated years learning about urban environmental issues and networking with other environmental groups. After conducting her research, she learned that many waste disposal companies surrounded Altgeld Gardens as well as manufacturing companies that produced and emitted thousands of pounds of pollutants into the air, water and land. PCR found that due to the heavy concentration of industry, low income residential communities on the Southeast side of Chicago were being exposed to substantial amounts of toxic chemicals that could be responsible for negative health impacts.

With these facts in mind, PCR along with other residents from Altgeld Gardens began to address the environmental problems within their community. For the past two decades, PCR has been applying pressure on “corporate polluters” and government officials to make them aware of their negligence. It is PCR‘s goal to make both corporations and the government accountable to the communities in which they operate.

Concurrently, PCR has continually been educating itself and the community about urban environmental issues and their relationship to industry. Through extensive research and partnerships, PCR has found a significant correlation among various industrial processes– the byproducts of which pollute the air, land and water–and the health status of urban minority communities. With perseverance, tenacity and dedication, continues to be a force not only within Altgeld Gardens, but within the Environmental Justice movement.






Cheryl Johnson

13116 Ellis Ave.

Chicago, IL 60827

Chicago Climate Exchange

Chicago Climate Exchange
The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) is North America’s only, and the world’s first, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission registry, reduction and trading system for all six greenhouse gases (GHGs). CCX is a self-regulatory, rules based exchange designed and governed by CCX Members. Members make a voluntary but legally binding commitment to reduce GHG emissions. By the end of Phase I (December, 2006) all Members will have reduced direct emissions 4% below a baseline period of 1998-2001.Phase II, which extends the CCX reduction program through 2010, will require all Members to reduce GHG emissions 6% below baseline.

The goals of CCX are:

To facilitate the transaction of greenhouse gas emissions allowance trading with price
transparency, design excellence and environmental integrity
To build the skills and institutions needed to cost-effectively manage greenhouse gas emissions
To facilitate capacity-building in both public and private sector to facilitate greenhouse gas
To strengthen the intellectual framework required for cost effective and valid greenhouse gas
To help inform the public debate on managing the risk of global climate change

Address: 190 South LaSalle Street, Suite 1100
Chicago, Illinois 60603 USA

Phone: 312-554-3350
Fax: 312-554-3373


Chicago Environmental Network

Chicago Environmental Network

Where do you go when you care about the natural world and want to get more involved? Maybe you already recycle but want to do more. Or perhaps you’re a teacher and you want your students to understand—and help protect—the natural resources around them. Possibly you work for an environmental organization and want to reach other organizations with the same goals.

The Chicagoland Environmental Network (CEN), a group of more than 200 environmental and natural resource organizations, can get you connected.

Who uses CEN? People just like you. CEN is a resource for anyone interested in nature or conservation-related activities in northeastern Illinois and surrounding areas. CEN organizations are involved in important work, including habitat restoration; wetland, prairie, and watershed projects; urban gardening; energy conservation; composting, wildlife conservation; and recycling.

Click a link below to search the CEN database for volunteer opportunities, jobs and internships, family activities, or to learn more about CEN organizations.


Contact: Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, Illinois 60513
Phone: 708-688-8396