Name: Evan Marks
Occupation: Founder and Executive Director
Place of Residence: Oceanside, California
Background and Personal History: With his background in permaculture and agroecology, and, having worked extensively in California and Hawaii and internationally in Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Ghana and Nigeria, Evan Marks has spent over a decade working to bring sustainable living practices to communities all over the world.
After several years abroad, Evan turned his attention back home to where he felt his passion for sustainability was desperately needed. In 2008, Evan won the lease of the historic Congdon Farmhouse in San Juan Capistrano and he rallied the community to come together to transform the vacant lot into a vibrant community gathering space and sustainability learning center.
Now, The Ecology Center is a 1-acre permaculture site composed of learning gardens, interactive exhibits, and a general store in the historic Congdon Farmhouse. Having witnessed more than 130 years of social, agricultural, and environmental change, the Congdon House is the perfect venue for an exploration of the links between past, present, and future. At the same time, as one of the oldest standing embodiments of the past, it serves to remind us that we must act today to rejuvenate the environment for the generations to follow.
Overall, Evan believes the world we live in is facing radical change—and The Ecology Center’s aim is to help find positive futures in the face of that change. To get in shape for the challenges of the future, we need a culture that knows how to sustain the things that sustain us and at the same time nurtures creativity, imagination and adaptability.
The Ecology Center is founded on the principle that each person can make a difference toward a sustainable future. Individual actions do transform the community, elevating the health of our environment and ecosystems. Through basic action, Evan believes we can create a diverse, safe, and healthy world with clean air, water, and power for ours and future generations.
Current Projects: The Water Effect. In partnership with the Municipal Water District of Orange County, The Ecology Center offers a robust curriculum of water education for grades 9-12. The program is currently applied at William Spurgeon Intermediate in Santa Ana and will be going into high schools throughout southern California beginning September 2015.Other Fun Facts: The Ecology Center has an office cat named Alice. The headquarters, the Congdon house, is in the national historic landmark registry. The Center grows and harvests its own vegetables and cooks meals in the kitchen. The sinks and laundry are a part of a greywater system that feeds into the garden. The Center has a 700-gallon rain tank. During 2008-2014, it welcomed over 7,300 students to its grounds for field trips.
More Places to Find Evan on the Web: