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A brief history

            In 2012, Northwestern announced that it would be building a Visitor Center adjacent to its southern border with Evanston.  The construction project would doom a wild patch of land where cottonwood, hackberry and box elder trees along with shrubby sand willows had grown up at the boundary after Northwestern finished its lakefill in the 1960s.  This scrubby patch of unattended land became a bird sanctuary, attracted migrating warblers and dragonflies and nesting warbling vireos and Baltimore Orioles and, of course, birdwatchers.

Under Evanston’s city ordinance, Northwestern would be required to pay Evanston for every tree it removed. The amount totaled $173,850. ENSBC member Libby Hill requested that the money to be invested in a replacement sanctuary. She and Judy Pollock worked with city staff to determine the location. The most logical decision was to take advantage of the remnant area and expand it onto Clark Street Beach, a total of 2 acres. The Evanston landscape firm of Kettlekamp and Kettlekamp was selected to draw up plans.  Hearings were held, the idea was supported, the new sanctuary received a name, and planting took place during September and October, 2015, just three years after the original proposal of the idea.  The ENSBC board voted to adopt the Sanctuary to make sure that maintenance and monitoring would be continual activities in cooperation with the City.



The Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary (CSBBS) is located on Sheridan Road and Clark Street just south of the westward curve of Sheridan Road at the NU campus on the east side of the road next to a bike path.  It is just north of the Clark Street beach house.  Parking is available on the street or is free in Northwestern University parking lots after 4 pm weekdays and all day on Saturday and Sunday. 

The sanctuary is fenced in and volunteers and bird and site  monitors have access inside. Birds are easily viewed from beyond the fence.  CSBBS is a hot spot on ebird.


HOW YOU CAN HELP:  Become a volunteer, become a bird monitor, contribute to support CSBBS




       This is the best way to get involved.  As the seasons change, the emphasis shifts from weeding to mulching to seed gathering and sowing.  Volunteer workdays have finished for the season and will pick up again in Spring, 2021.  To learn about the volunteer schedule, contact



We need volunteers to conduct bird monitoring, an essential part of caring for the sanctuary.  Gathering and reporting accurate data is critical in assessing our effectiveness.  We welcome participation in our official monitoring group early in the morning during spring and fall migration.  (Contact Suzanne Checchia,  You can help any time of day by spotting birds from just outside the fence. Please post your sightings on eBird -


Like us on Facebook: and watch the page for announcements.


Watch the kiosk for information on plants, birds, and events.  



Here's how: If you would like to donate to Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary to help to expand and maintain the plantings, provide educational materials, here's how:

Donations can be made by check. 

Make out the check to Evanston North Shore Bird Club

Write Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary clearly on the check subject or memo line.

Send the check to ENSBC, 2715 Woodland Rd. Evanston, IL 60201. The check will be deposited into a special fund in Evanston North Shore Bird club.

Or, donations may be made on the ENSBC website under Donations.  Indicate the amount and under comments, indicate CSBBS.