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About Eco-USA launched with the new millennium in January 2000. However, its origins as the local website EcoIndiana date back to May 1996.

I started EcoIndiana after finding a U.S. EPA document that contained brief descriptions of Indiana's superfund sites. I thought that information should be on the web, and as I could not find it there, I decided to post it myself.

Soon after I discovered that the oddly-named but wonderful Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry published a whole series of volumes called toxicological profiles. Each volume contained an in-depth treatment of various aspects related to a particular chemical or group of chemicals, including environmental fate and transport, metabolism, health effects, and other characteristics.

My original plan was to link to these documents on the ATSDR website, but I learned that they did not have a web site at that time, or if they did, I couldn't find it. So I undertook the laborious task of typing up, by hand, the first chapter of about a hundred of the toxicological profiles and posting them on the web. Of course ATSDR now has their own website, but I believe that I posted some of that information first.

Next up was an environmental organizations directory. As before, I started with Indiana - a task that didn't take a great deal of time. However, I soon began to receive messages requesting that I include groups in neighboring states, and before I knew it there were directories for the midwestern states, and then the rest of the country. Those lists have now grown quite lengthy, and after a brief foray into building a directory for other parts of the English-speaking world, I've decided to be happy with just trying to maintain reasonably current lists for the states.

Around the same time that I launched EcoIndiana, I began taking snapshots of plants and animals that I found in my travels, mostly from parks and nature preserves in Indiana. I bought a primitive handheld scanner and began posting tiny images, mostly of wildflowers, leaves, butterflies, and moths. EcoIndiana originally resided on the servers of a company called America Online, and in those days the entire website had to fit in two megabytes of storage, so I kept the images very small indeed. I've since moved to much larger images, but nowadays sites like Wikipedia do a much better job of providing broader and deeper coverage of the plants and animals of this country and the world. Mostly I maintain the plant and animal directories as a tip of the hat to the past.

Other projects over the years have included a grossly incomplete directory of natural areas, and other projects that have come and gone.

So that's about it. I don't know what the future holds for this site, but I aim to have fun with it, and hope that you enjoy your visit.


Mike Habeck