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Educator Resources

Classroom Support Materials

Classroom material packets consist of three to seven print-ready resources such as:   

  • In-Class Activities 
  • Topic Specific Glossary 
  • Recommended Resource Loan Kits 
  • Student Worksheets 
  • Outdoor Activities for School Grounds 
  • Student Copy Pages 
  • Recommended Student Readings

Activities and resources can be adapted to work for a range of grades. The 10 most popular topics are available here.

Don’t see the topic you’re looking for? More than 25 additional packets are available! Topics include: Native American Culture, Decomposition, Botany, Forestry, Water as a Resource, Restoration, Insects, Jolliet & Marquette, River Commerce, Edible Plants, Urban Wildlife, and  Watersheds. To request additional classroom support materials, email or call 815.722.2025.

EE Grants

Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant

Teachers and youth group leaders may apply for this competitive grant program to develop or enhance wildlife habitat in the schoolyard or other public place. The grant is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Conservation Foundation. This grant program awards up to $1,000 per grant and the deadline for submission is November 30 and January 31 each school year. For more information or to apply for a grant, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.

Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant

Illinois teachers and home school educators may apply to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to receive funding for natural resources related field trips. This grant program awards up to $500 per teacher, and the deadline for submission is January 31 annually. For more information or to apply for a grant, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.

Illinois K-12 Pollinator Schools Program

Eligible applicants may apply for up to $10,000 or 90% (whichever is less) of the costs related to the design and installation of the habitat and an additional $1,000 towards summer maintenance. This is a reimbursement grant program.  Grantees are responsible for all of the upfront costs.  Payment is made upon review and approval of paid invoices and receipts. Please check with the Foundation before applying. The Foundation reserves the right to change funding levels and guidelines of this program. More information or to apply for a grant, visit the Illinois Clean Energy page.

Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant

Applications will be accepted by the IDNR Division of Education through November 30, 2017, for the Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program. New for the program this year are two application options. Option One will allow you to apply for a standard pollinator garden. With this option, the plant species are predetermined. You and the students must decide how best to use these species in your available space. Other items to be purchased are limited with this option. Option Two allows the applicant to determine what type of wildlife habitat to develop. You can view both options at the IDNR website.

Conservation Education Grants

The SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund (SWBGCF) makes grants in four priority areas: conservation education; species research; habitat protection; and animal rescue and rehabilitation. Eligible applicants are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, governmental entities, schools and universities. The fund works with organizations to support programs that are science-based, solution-driven and community-oriented. Applications are due April 30 and November 30, annually. For more information or to apply for a grant, visit the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund page.

Captain Planet Foundation Grants

The Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) is offering grants to support inquiry-based projects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields that leverage technology or use nature-based designs to address environmental problems in local communities. Ideal projects are youth-led, project-based and integrate technology to address an environmental problem that results in real, demonstrable environmental outcomes. Preference is given to requests that have secured matching or in-kind funding. Eligible applicants are U.S.-based nonprofit schools and organizations with operating budgets of less than $3 million. Interested applicants must register online to receive an ecoTech Grant application. For more information or to apply for a grant, visit the Captain Planet Foundation page.

Lexus Eco-Challenge

The Lexus Eco Challenge is an exciting national STEM competition for grades 6–12 that awards a total of $500,000 in grants and scholarships to eligible teachers, students, and schools each year! For more information or to apply for a grant, visit the Lexus Eco Challenge page.

Resource Loan Kits

Topic-themed kits are available for teachers and home school parents. These kits are provided by the Forest Preserve District and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Click on any of the resource loan kit titles below to download a checklist of kit contents.

These resource loan kits are a collection of educational materials that help students explore. Kits are available for a two-week loan period without rental fees.

However, lost, broken or missing items will be paid for by the rentee. To reserve kits and arrange for pickup and drop-off at the Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet, call 815.722.5892.


Here to help

School programs offer hands-on learning incorporating science, social studies, history, art, math and language arts.

Contact the Education Office at 815.722.2025 and tell us how we can be a resource to you and your students.

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