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Kids and Environmental Education

Educational Materials and Resources

Environmental Educational Materials

Air Resources

Air Facts

Series of fact sheets on topics related to air pollution. The fact sheet titles include:

  • Air Quality Monitoring,
  • Air Terms,
  • Criteria Pollutants,
  • Hazardous Air Pollutants,
  • Nonattainment: Falling Short of Air Quality Standards,

2 pp. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.

Land Resources

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

This booklet describes how to safely manage and dispose of household hazardous waste such as used motor oil, antifreeze, gasoline, lead acid batteries, oil-based paints, solvents and latex paints.
15 pp. 2002. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited to 2 per request.

Nonhazardous Solid Waste Management and Landfill Capacity in Illinois

Report. Annual report on nonhazardous solid waste handled in Illinois, including amounts landfilled, composted and incinerated. Also contains current recycling information by county, and data on the volume of waste accepted at landfills in each region, as well as the reported remaining landfill capacity by region. Amounts of the nonhazardous solid waste handled by municipal solid waste transfer stations are also discussed.
348 pp. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.

Water Resources

A Guide to Illinois Lake Management

Covers lake problems and discusses how to deal with them. Offers lake management benefits and costs.
32 pp. FREE. Limited.

A Log Book of Your Lake

Student’s personal journal to take down to the lake and explore its environment.
20 pp. 2003. FREE. Limited

The Condition of Illinois Water Resources, 1999

Booklet. Quality of Illinois rivers/streams, inland lakes, Lake Michigan, wetlands and groundwater.
12 pp. 1998. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.

Hands on Lake Ecology - Teachers Guide and Student Workbook

This workbook and companion guide, complete with activities and experiments, covers everything from water properties and food chains to lake testing and classifying.
88 pp.2000. Target: Grade 5-8. FREE. Limited.

Know Your Watershed

Booklets.  Designed to provide guidance for building a voluntary partnership to protect your watershed, developing a watershed management plan and implementing that plan. Eight guides: Building Local Partnerships, Getting To Know Your Local Watershed, Leading & Communicating, Managing Conflict, Putting Together A Watershed Management Plan, Reflecting on Lakes, Wetlands: A Key Link in Watershed Management, Groundwater & Surface Water: Understanding the Interaction. Published by Conservation Technology Information Center.  1998.  Target: Grade 9-adult.  FREE. Limited.

All booklets are available online at:

Lake Notes

  • Aquatic Exotics
    Fact sheet - Identification of harmful plants and animals “not native” to our lakes. 4 pp. 1996.
    Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Aquatic Plant Management Options
    Fact sheet - Mechanical, physical, biological and chemical management of aquatic plants in lakes.
    12 pp. 1997. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Artificial Fish Structures
    Fact sheet – Information on the types of artificial structures for fish cover. 4 pp. 2004.
    Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Beavers and Muskrats
    Fact sheet – General information regarding habit and habitat, damage caused, and management suggestions.
    4 pp. 2001. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Canada Geese and Your Lake
    Fact sheet - Techniques to help control Canada Geese on your lake or pond.
    4 pp. 1996. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Common Lake Water Quality Parameters
    Fact sheet - Understanding a lake’s physical, chemical, and biological properties and the parameters most commonly tested.
    4 pp. 1998. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Determining Your Lake's Watershed
    Fact sheet - Step by step guide on how to determine your lake's watershed using topographic maps.
    4 pp. 2000. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Fertilizers and Pesticides
    Fact sheet - The effects of fertilizers and pesticides on your lake and alternative options for lawn and garden care.
    4 pp. 1996. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Home and Yard
    Fact sheet - What you can do in your home and yard to protect your local lake from pollution.
    4 pp. 1995. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Illinois Clean Lakes Program
    Fact sheet - Elements of Illinois Clean Lakes Program: public education, technical assistance, monitoring and research and financial incentives.
    4 pp. 1997. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Illinois Lakeshore Birds
    Fact sheet – Descriptions of birds you find along the shorelines in Illinois.
    4pp. 2001. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Lake Aeration and Circulation
    Fact sheet - Method of increasing beneficial dissolved oxygen in your lake.
    4 pp. 1997. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Lake Education Assistance Program
    Description of the LEAP grant program and explanations of different projects that can qualify for this grant.
    4 pp. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Lake Dredging
    Fact sheet - The “whys and hows” of dredging a lake: “Is it necessary?” “What are the regulations?”
    4 pp. 1998. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Lake Stratification and Mixing
    Fact Sheet - Discussion of stratification (thermal) and how it effects lakes.
    4 pp. 1997. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Monitoring Lake Quality
    Fact sheet - The reasons for and techniques used in monitoring lake quality.
    4 pp. 1998. Target: Grade 9-adult. Free. Limited.
  • Pressure Treated Wood
    Fact sheet - Cautions regarding the use of pressure treated wood in aquatic environments, including human and aquatic toxicity, and suggested alternatives.
    4 pp. 2001. Target: Grade 9-adult. Free. Limited.
  • Septic Systems
    Fact sheet - Information about how a septic system works, proper installation to reduce impacts to water resources and trouble shooting strategies.
    4 pp. 1995. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Shoreline Buffer Strips
    Fact sheet - Why and how to create and maintain effective protective buffer strips.
    4 pp. 1996. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Shoreline Stabilization
    Fact sheet - Bioengineering alternatives to shoreline erosion solutions such as rip rap, sea walls, railroad ties, etc.
    4 pp. 1996. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Storm Water Detention Ponds
    Fact sheet - The proper care of storm water detention ponds.
    4 pp. 1998. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • The Milfoil Weevil
    Fact sheet – Using the milfoil weevil, a small aquatic beetle native to North America, to control the invasive, exotic plant Eurasian water milfoil in North American lakes.
    4 pp. 2002. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program
    Fact sheet - Introduction to the VLMP, its benefits and how to become a volunteer.
    4 pp. 1998. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.
  • Waterborne Pathogens
    Fact sheet – An introduction to microorganisms and the types that can cause illnesses in humans, such as bacteria, parasites and viruses.
    4 pp. 2004. FREE. Limited.
  • Where to Go For Lake Information
    Fact sheet - Information about local, state, national, and federal organizations that can provide assistance on many aspects of lake management.
    5 pp. 1997. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE.
  • Zebra Mussels
    Fact sheet – Learn how to identify and reduce the spreading of these nuisance species.
    4 pp. 2004. Target: Grade 9-adult. FREE. Limited.

General Resources

Green Schools Checklist: Environmental Actions for Schools to Consider

Checklist offers tips and resources to help school identify “opportunities” and focus on common-sense enhancements that can be made in daily operations to improve learning conditions and lower operating costs.
Target: School Administration and Staff. FREE. Limited.

The Petals of Flower Hill

Coloring book. Story about keeping the air, land and water clean.
24 pp. 1998. Target: Grades K-3. FREE. Limited.

Environmental Education Programs

Environmental Pathways - Youth Investigating Pollution Issues In Illinois

Materials include teacher’s guide, posters for display in classroom and information on statewide poster and poetry/prose competition. The guide was designed to meet the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence. It is correlated to the Illinois Learning Standards.

The guide and the information for the statewide poster and poetry/prose competition are available on the Illinois EPA’s Website. Educators who do not have access to the Internet and/or cannot print materials from the Internet, will have the option to request a copy of the materials. Registration forms are mailed directly to fifth and sixth grade teachers in mid September. Materials are free and are mailed out in early December to participating teachers. Optional poster, poetry/prose contest includes awards for participation plus special recognition for top six finalists. Winning posters have been used in Agency publications and exhibits.

Governor’s Green Youth Awards Program

The Green Youth Award is an annual awards program sponsored by the Illinois EPA, that recognizes the outstanding and innovative efforts of youth in Illinois who are working on environmental and conservation friendly projects. Eligible projects involve one or more of the following categories: waste reduction, prevention or reduction of pollution in the air, water or land; restoration, preservation or enhancement of natural areas; and energy or water efficiency. Applications can be obtained online or by calling 217/557-7826.

Lake Education Assistance Program Grant Package

The Illinois EPA’s Lake Education Assistance Program (LEAP) provides funding for various watershed related projects. LEAP offers maximum awards on a $500 per school and/or other not-for-profit organization basis. Schools and other not-for-profit organizations can apply for financial help for group or individual attendance at field trips, seminars, workshops or other events related to inland lakes or lake watersheds. The Illinois EPA will grant approximately 100 awards per fiscal year. Two application periods are offered annually, September 30 and January 31. Application forms for LEAP assistance can be obtained from the Illinois EPA, Bureau of Water, P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, Illinois, 62794-9276, phone 217/782-3362.

Kids & Education

Educators' Tools
Poster and Poetry Contest
Green Youth Awards
Earth Stewardship Day
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