OUR HISTORY: ONE HUNDRED YEARS AND STILL COUNTING….
On March 6, 1919, a small but dedicated group of Evanston birders came together to create the then-named Evanston Bird Club, one of the earliest city bird clubs in the nation. Their achievement has spanned a century.
In 2019, the Club celebrated 100 years of accomplishments on behalf of bird conservation. In addition to a birthday party, we presented a special series of programs by former members who were mentored by ENSBC and who went on to become prominent in the world of natural history.
During the early years, the Club’s community outreach included hundreds of presentations to area schools and scouting troops. In the 1930s and 40s, members spoke out on conservation issues: the toll that artificial lights take on birds, the trapping of Cardinals, and a bill before Congress allowing live decoys “which would be disastrous to waterfowl.” In the 1950s, they advocated to preserve Volo Bog, Illinois Beach State Park and the Indiana Dunes. They lost tough fights to preserve local shorebird hotspots, a gravel pit that became Lovelace Park and the other, the Touhy claypits at Touhy and McCormick.
Today, our local field trips no longer take the trolley only to Harms Woods, as the early members did, but visit diverse local birding sites, among them the Northwestern University’s Campus, Skokie Lagoons, Perkins Woods, Montrose Dunes, and, for shore birds, Calumet Sewage Ponds with our partner bird club, Chicago Ornithological Society. Our quarterly newsletter, Bird Calls, explores a variety of conservation topics. Our e-blasts keep members abreast of local conservation issues and upcoming events. Our seven monthly programs from September through April engage the community by exploring an eclectic variety of topics, ranging from our group trips to current research on birds and other animals.
Continuing the conservation commitment of the founders, today we promote local conservation initiatives and serve as their fiscal agents: Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary, Perkins Woods, and Bird-Friendly Evanston. ENSBC is an active member of the Bird Conservation Network (BCN), whose mission is the conservation of birds and the habitats they need to survive. We are members of Illinois Audubon Society, Illinois Environmental Council, and Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS). We support IOS Young Birders and sponsor one of the longest running area Christmas Bird Counts.
“There is a natural bond of affinity between those who have gone to the fields in
March to hear the tinkle of the Horned Larks on the frozen ground; or in the hope of
seeing a meadowlark in the snowy stubble; or a group of early bluebirds on fence or
wire. There is a deep understanding among those who have heart the mystical nuptial
flight song of the woodcock at an April dusk, who have been surprised by the babbling
rapture of the ruby=crown’s mating song in the budding woods of early May; who have
listened with moist eyes to the robins singing in the rain, with its nostalgic memories
of childhood; or who have waited in a reverent and breathless silence, while the Wood
thrush chimed his bells in a June twilight.”
The above quotation is from a letter dated February 3, 1940, written by Fred Patee to the Evanston North
Shore Bird Club after the death of his wife, Bertha, the club’s founder and president
for 20 years from 1919-1939. Quoted in A Birder’s Guide to the Chicago Region
authored by club members Lynne Carpenter and Joel Greenberg.
PRESIDENTS OF THE EVANSTON NORTH SHORE BIRD CLUB
Ms. Fredrick Pattee 1919-1939
Ms. J. Benton Schaub 1939-1945
Ms. Norval Langworthy 1945-1947
Ms. Paul Stephenson 1949-1951
Ms. Walter Huxford 1951-1952
Ms. Reba Cambell 1952-1954
Mr. Alan Rogers 1954-1955
Ms. Robert Rulison 1955-1957
Ms. Helen McMillen 1957-1959
Ms. Walter Huxford 1959-1960
Mr. Marvin Ericson 1960-1962
Ms. Hadley Abernathy 1962-1964
Ms. Sidney North 1964-1965
Mr. Thomas Thoresen 1965-1967
Mr. Russell Mannette 1967-1969
Mr. Russell V. Watts 1969-1971
Ms. Roger O. Brown 1971-1972
Ms. James R. Ware 1972-1973
Mr. Jeffrey Sanders 1976-1976
Mr. Howard Glass 1976-1977
Ms. Lynne Carpenter 1977-1979
Mr. David B. Johnson 1979-1981
Mr. Homer H. Eshbaugh 1981-1983
Mr. David B. Johnson 1983-1985
Mr. Joel Greenberg 1985-1992
Mr. Ralph G. Herbst 1992-1996
Ms. Kristene Richardson 1996-1998
Ms. Mary Singh 1998-2001
Ms. Libby Hill 2001-2005
Mr. Tim Wallace 2006-2011
Dr. Gary Hantsbarger 2011-2017
Mr. Gerry Ginsburg 2017-2019
Mr. Jim La Rochelle 2019-