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Ecology Action Center Collection

Identifier: ECOLOGY

Scope and Contents

This collection contains administrative and non-for-profit business development information, as well as historical information and publications, pertaining to Operation Recycle and the Ecology Action Center.

The collection is organized into the following series:

    1. Community Involvement (Box 1-4)

    2. Organizational Records (Box 4-8)

    3. Special Formats (Box 9-12)


  • 1971-

Biographical / Historical

In 1971, Operation Recycle was created as one of the first volunteer, non-for-profit recycling centers in Illinois, by ISU professor Derek McCracken and his students. After several years of recycling drives and grassroots education efforts, in 1983 a grant from Mid Central Community Action allowed Operation Recycle to become a full-time buy-back center with employees. As the recycling pioneer for McLean County, this program piloted local businesses’ office paper recycling and also campus recycling programs for Illinois Wesleyan University and Illinois State University.

Further, Operation Recycle developed a drop-box recycling system in Bloomington and Normal through support from the City of Bloomington and the town of Normal. When the Bloomington and Normal governments implemented curbside recycling pick-up services in the early 1990’s, Operation Recycle shifted its focus to environmental education and hired an Environmental Educator. Soon the Environmental Educator implemented a district-wide environmental education program called Earth Schools in the Bloomington and Normal public schools. The Ecology Action Center was born in 1994 after the town of Normal donated the Hewett House for environmental education purposes.

Today the Ecology Action Center still operates from the Hewett House on College Avenue in Normal, and provides the community with tours, workshops, classes, earth-camps, fairs, and many other events. The center has taken over the education efforts of Operation Recycle, which was officially disbanded in 1998. The Ecology Action Center works with the Town of Normal and McLean County Solid Waste Management to increase recycling and environmental awareness for local business and community members.


6.50 Linear Feet : 11 Boxes

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Repository Details

Part of the Illinois Wesleyan University Special Collections Repository

P.O. Box 2899
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington IL 61701 US