Through environmental education and activities, we help citizens understand their personal responsibility in creating a sustainable environment.
The Quad Cities Earth Week Coalition was loosely formed in the fall of 2003 as a group of environmental organizations from both Iowa and Illinois striving to work more efficiently with each other by pooling resources and avoiding duplication of efforts. The main focus of the group at this time was planning a cooperative Earth Week event for the Quad Cities and neighboring communities.
The Coalition successfully launched its first endeavor in April of 2004, which included the Earth Week Kick-Off at the Putnam Museum. Attendance at this event was approximately 200. Coalition members displayed their booths, educational information, and demonstrations. This event allowed attendees to gather information about other Earth Week events that would occur in the upcoming week.
In evaluating the 2004 event, the group decided to expand its target audience and reach while working to establish itself as a non-profit organization. Non-profit status would allow the cooperative to fundraise for future events. In the summer of 2005, the Coalition received official notice of its non-profit status.
For the 2005 event, the Earth Week Kick-Off was renamed the Earth Week Fair and held at the Quad City Conservation Alliance’s Expo Center. Instead of a one-day Saturday event, the Fair included Friday so that schools could participate. The Eagle View Chapter of the Sierra Club sponsored John Wallace, who performed a living history of John Muir. Coalition members designed their booths to be more activity-based. On Friday, the Coalition hosted approximately 400 4th-6th grade elementary school students and teachers from counties in Iowa and Illinois. The Saturday event drew approximately 100 attendees.
In 2006, the Fair grew by leaps and bounds. Over 1,500 3rd-6th grade students attended Friday’s events where they visited booths with environmental activities and saw a performance by CLIMB Theatre called “Flashback: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. On Saturday, approximately 2,000 people attended the Fair including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H Club members and the general public. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts had the opportunity to work on the requirements for several of their environmental badges. Saturday attendees also had the chance to see the CLIMB Theatre performance and a magic show from Delmar the Magician.
The 2007 Fair grew even more. Nearly 1,800 students attended the Friday event where they visited booths and saw a performance on Water Quality by the Putnam Museum’s Heritage Theatre. On Saturday, Scouts worked toward environmental badges and spectators saw Pulp Fashion, a fashion show from Santa Fe, NM with all the clothes made out of reused or recycled materials. Nearly 2,500 attended the Saturday event.
In subsequent years, between 2008 and 2013, the Quad Cities Earth Week Fair was the unified activity our members presented to the community. Attendance remained high for a number of years but began to diminish in 2012/2013 due to budget limitations for student field trips. Over time networking seemed less of a focus during membership meetings, with members spending most of their time planning the Earth Week Fair, and member organizational goals began to change as well. These changes in dynamics resulted in the desire of coalition members to examine the coalition’s purpose and pursue identifying ways the organization might better serve the community, and their organizations.
After developing an education inventory in 2014, and developing a strategic plan in 2015/2016, the coalition redefined itself and the goals for the organization. Now the Quad Cities Earth Coalition, we are focused on networking and being a sustainable environmental resource to our Quad City area community.