ECO-ACT History & Goals
Program History & Accomplishments

Participants work togetherFor the past 26 years, the ECO-ACT Environmental Leadership Program at the Missouri Botanical Garden has been educating high school and elementary students in ecology and environmental science. The program has become a stepping-stone for introducing students to educational and/or environmental careers as well as becoming role models and ecologically literate citizens. The ECO-ACT program has had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of high school and elementary children in St. Louis.

ECO-ACT began in 1981 as a result of a gift from a community philanthropist strongly involved in bringing about social change and providing leadership opportunities to urban youth. In 1984, the program became part of the desegregation effort of the St. Louis Public Schools and was funded by the St. Louis Public School Partnership program. Desegregation funding continued until 1999 when the federal court in charge of the case approved a final settlement. In the years that ECO-ACT has been operating, more than 1,400 high school students, and nearly 17,000 elementary school students have participated in the program. In 1983, ECO-ACT was awarded the “Exemplary Science Program Award” by the Search for Excellence in Science Education sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association. More recently, ECO-ACT has been recognized by Choose Environmental Excellence—Gateway Region.

In 2007, a generous endowment led to the program’s being renamed, The Saigh Foundation ECO-ACT Environmental Leadership Program.

Program Goals

  1. Participant studying pond crittersTo increase student knowledge of environmental science and ecology and the inherent issues within those topics, recognizing the complexity and variety of opinions involved;
  2. To contribute to the development of an environmentally responsible citizenry;
  3. To foster an awareness and respect for the natural world;
  4. To help students recognize and apply leadership skills;
  5. To empower students to function effectively in a group through team work;
  6. To increase students’ comfort and effectiveness when presenting information;
  7. To foster the development of open-minded individuals; and
  8. To encourage self-discovery and acceptance.
The Saigh Foundation ECO-ACT Environmental Leadership Program
Social Media Links

Find Us on Facebook

Alumni and Current Students, find us on Facebook


Go to ECO-ACT Flickr Collection

Go to our ECO-ACT photo collection on Flickr, where you can:

  • See current ECO-ACT photo sets,
  • see past ECO-ACT photo sets, and
  • download photos.

Hear what students have to say about ECO-ACT:


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