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 815.727-8700.
Check out Willy's Wilderness for nature-themed learning and engaging activities.
Apply Now: Illinois Green Ribbon Schools Program
The U.S. Department of Education is accepting applications for its Illinois Green Ribbon Schools program, which recognizes schools that have active initiatives to promote and educate students on sustainability. Showcase the great efforts from students, staff and parents at your school by highlighting achievements and letting your community know how much you have accomplished to green your school! The deadline for applications is Monday, January 13 at 5 p.m. The top scoring schools are submitted at the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program for consideration at the national level.
EPA Activity Book for Elementary School Students
How do you describe to students what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does? Use this activity book to help kids can learn about the different ways the EPA works to protect our environment and our health. It's a simple, straightforward guide suitable for children of all ages. Download the book.
Wildlife Illinois procides informatoin about common species of wildlife, tips on how to live with wildlife, a way to report unusual, and resources for preventing and addressing wildlife concerns.
The IDNR Division of Education’s Web page offers educational resources and information for teachers, non-formal educators, scout leaders, youth-group leaders and other people interested in learning about Illinois’ tremendous natural heritage. You’ll find basic information, lessons, activity books, grants, educator professional development, correlations to learning standards, video podcasts (with open captioning), trunks and packs for loan and many other items. Updates are made regularly so visit often!
Monarch Waystation Network
The Monarch Waystation Network is a Monarch Watch project developed to connect and support schools who have pollinator gardens and/or incorporate monarchs into their curriculum. We aim to facilitate the use of your garden as a learning center- a center for discover, self-instruction, and sharing of knowledge by the students. We guide learners to ask questions and then seek their own answers.
Engaging Science Apps for Middle and High School Students
Project Learning Tree presents science apps focusing on topics such as climate change, trees, conservation, and weather. The apps include stand-alone games, interactive teaching tools, and reference guides.
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 email@example.com or call 815.722.2025.
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.
Mazda Foundation Education Grant
The Mazda Foundation supports programs that range from children's organizations and educational scholarships to food banks, environmental programs and crucial disaster relief efforts. The foundation awards grants to programs promoting education and literacy, environmental conservation, cross-cultural understanding, social welfare and scientific research. Eligible applicants are 501(c)(3) organizations. Priority is given to organizations located in markets where Mazda has offices, including Irvine, California; Bridgewater, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Sugarland, Texas; and Jacksonville, Florida. Applications are accepted May 1 to July 1, annually.
New Earth Foundation Education Grants
The New Earth Foundation, Inc. (NEF) was established to serve important humanitarian and planetary needs. NEF is focused on providing support to numerous nonprofit organizations involved in innovative projects pertaining to the arts, clean water and energy sources, forest and plant preservation, hunger, communication and education. Eligible applicants are nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. Interested applicants must first submit a Letter of Inquiry; selected applicants are then invited to submit a full proposal. Letters and applications must be submitted using the online system. Letters of Inquiry are due February 1 and July 1, annually.
Patagonia Environmental Grants
Patagonia provides grants for small, grassroots activist organizations aimed at preserving and protecting the environment. The company funds work that is action-oriented, builds public involvement and support, and protects local habitat. Grants range from $3,000 to $8,000. Applications can be submitted at retail stores and online. For more information, visit the Patagonia website.
Target Field Trip Grant
Here's a great opportunity for you to offer your students a valuable field trip at little or no cost to you or your school. Target Corporation will award thousands of Field Trip Grants for up to $700 each. For more information, visit the Target website.