Eden Place is an urban nature preserve that seeks to introduce the Chicago community to food production and environmental education.
Eden Place Nature Center began in 1997 as an ambitious and impassioned vision of one south Chicago resident, Michael Howard. Raised in Fuller Park, one of Chicago's most neglected neighborhoods, Michael realized it was time for a change after discovering that his neighborhood had the highest levels of lead contamination in all of Chicago. The culprit was an abandoned and vacant city block adjacent to an industrial train yard that had been an illegal dump site for 35 years. A three-year clean-up effort was mounted, mobilizing area residents and public and private partnerships to transform and reclaim this space for residents and visitors.
Ultimately, over 200 tons of debris was removed. Establishing Eden Place was a labor of love for those who saw the vision over a decade ago and believed it was possible to create the first and only nature center on Chicago’s south side.
Today, Eden Place is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed, beautiful and productive space which serves as an education and conservation center to teach families and children about their environment. It now has the distinction as the first urban nature preserve providing a bio-diversified environment to educate people on the mechanics of a wetland, prairie and woodland. It serves as home to a demonstration garden, two hoop houses, a Native American Wigwam, a prairie walk, perennial garden, habitat for monarch butterflies and migratory birds, and a Children’s Farm with Shetland ponies, geese, chickens, goats, and more.
Eden Place hosts field trips from local schools, educational workshops, community events, and a summer youth science program. In May 2004, Eden Place was honored by the Environmental Protection Agency with the Conservation and Native Landscaping Award; recognizing creative use of native plants and animals that contribute to the region’s biodiversity. To date, over 10,000 youth have been exposed to skills ranging from urban agriculture to small business development.
Check out the recent coverage Eden Place has received!
Contact Michael Howard at Eden Place Hours
4417 S. Stewart Avenue Tues - Sat : 9am - 3pm
Chicago, IL 60609 Sun - Mon : Closed