Graduate student design build project for a non-profit urban nature center in Fuller Park, a south Chicago neighborhood.
Welcome to Eden Place
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 area 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.
Our Project | Nature Studio
Despite their continued success, Eden Place is in urgent need of a multi-use building that will serve both as a classroom and community gathering center for the Fuller Park neighborhood. Currently they have no permanent buildings and operate solely out of trailers and temporary shelters. That’s where we come in. It is our goal to give Eden Place a permanent classroom space that will enhance the educational experience and can be used year-round.
The building, roughly 750 square feet in size, will be able to accommodate a class of 25 students. A 16 foot long ‘kitchenette’ wall – incorporating functional custom cabinetry, a large sliding table, extended counter space and a sink - will act as the backdrop of the room and provide ample space for biology demonstrations, hands-on labs, or even entertainment for community functions. Nature Studio will also include the first bathroom with running water on site, which might well become the most popular attraction at Eden Place during events with 300 + people!
Nature Studio is designed to sit within a natural prairie habitat, adjacent to a shaded gathering space frequently used for picnics and campfires. With floor-to-ceiling glass doors, the southern façade will open to the prairie just outside, allowing nature to permeate the classroom. The building is also intended to act as a learning tool; the design will expose visitors to progressive ideas in energy efficient building and sustainable strategies.
What Are These Strange Sponsorship Levels?
At Eden Place, environmental education is the key to creating future generations of social and natural scientists, environmental justice champions, entrepreneurs, advocates for land stewardship and citizens committed to their personal health and the global community. Why should Nature Studio be any different?
How Much Will Nature Studio Cost?
In a typical building project, construction materials - known as hard costs - account for only a portion of the total budget. Architect and engineering fees, consulting, contracting and construction labor make up a significant percentage of any building’s cost. Luckily for Eden Place, we have all this covered.We ARE the architects and the builders and we are working with leading professionals to ensure that the building we give to Eden Place is of the upmost quality and continues to serve the community for many years to come. But we still need the materials to make Nature Studio a reality. All donations will go directly to the estimated cost of materials.
Thanks From Our Team
The majority of this project will be funded through in-kind donations made by suppliers and contractors. What we need is construction materials, and these guys have a lot of it. We are reaching out to local Chicago-based companies and utilizing all of our professional contacts to secure these types of donations, otherwise the project would not be possible.
The $10,000 goal on Kickstarter will allow us to begin. There are some things which just cannot be donated. We will need to hire someone to connect our plumbing and electricity to the city grid, we will also need to hire an excavation company that has the equipment we need. Then there are materials that most likely will not be donated, such as hardwood for our cabinetry.
Our kickstarter backers are just as important as our corporate donors, without the support from people like yourself we cannot complete this project.
Yes, Eden Place Nature Center is a subsidiary of Fuller Park Development Corp, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
Lets us know that you believe in our mission. A sincere thank you from the Design Build Team and Eden Place.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
A personal handwritten thank you and recognition on our website.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
Invitation to the Nature Studio Opening at Eden Place Nature Center and a Nature Studio frisbee!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
"Root" Level Sponsorship - Invitation to the opening and a Nature Studio T-shirt to show your support. You will be recognized on the Nature Studio donor plaque at the "Root" level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $150 or moreYou selected
"Rhizome" Level Sponsorship - Invitation to the opening and a Nature Studio Hat & T-shirt. You will be recognized on the Nature Studio donor plaque at the "Rhizome" level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $200 or moreYou selected
2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)
"Rhizome" Level Sponsorship - Invitation to the opening, a T-shirt, plus 1 voucher for the Chicago Architecture Foundation walking tour of downtown Chicago. Limit 4. You will be recognized on the Nature Studio donor plaque at the "Rhizome" level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
9 backers Limited (21 left of 30)
"Stolon" Level Sponsorship - Invitation to the opening and an engraved wood plaque with an image of the Nature Studio. You will be recognized on the Nature Studio donor plaque at the "Stolon" level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
2 backers Limited (13 left of 15)
"Crown" Level Sponsorship - Invitation to the opening and an 8 x 10 photo of the children you are supporting in front of the finished building in a custom frame made by us. You will be recognized on the Nature Studio donor plaque at the "Crown" level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
"Collar" Level Sponsorship - All of the above plus an invitation to a barbecue with the design build team and Michael Howard, director of Eden Place. You will be recognized on the Nature Studio donor plaque at the "Collar" level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)
"Blade" Level Sponsorship - Private use of Nature Studio at Eden Place as an event space for a day. You will be recognized on the Nature Studio donor plaque at the "Blade" level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
"Inflorescence" Level Sponsorship - We will plant a tree in your name to add to Eden Place's natural woodlands. You will be recognized on the Nature Studio donor plaque at the "Inflorescence" level.Estimated delivery:
- (25 days)