Environmental Defenders of McHenry County

Citizens working for a healthy environment

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Mission Statement 

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is a citizen organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the environment. We are committed to building sound ecological relationships between people and the natural world that supports all life.

To achieve the aim of environmental preservation and improvement, we provide the community with educational programs and volunteer action on pollution prevention, sustainable land use and energy and natural resource conservation.

We advocate policies which protect drinking water supplies and conserve land for open space and agriculture. We demonstrate waste reduction through recycling drives and reuse centers. We encourage natural resource protection through native landscaping and stream protection programs.

Earth Day Celebration

Saturday, April 26, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake

Rain or shine! Carpool to the event with friends to enter the raffle for a free picnic shelter reservation!

Live Music:
11 a.m. — Drum Circle
11:30 a.m. — Off Square Music featuring local musicians.
1 p.m. Bill Kehl's Earth, Music…Magic! family concert
2 p.m. & 3 p.m. — Off Square Music featuring local musicians

Scheduled Activities: 11:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. Guided Nature Hikes • 12:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. Puppet Show

Ongoing: Recycling Drop-Off • Games & Crafts • Over 20 Environmentally Themed Exhibitors • Food & Beverage Vendors – Duke’s Ale House and Pop’s Premier Kettle Corn, or bring your own “No waste” picnic lunch.

HOUSEHOLD RECYCLING DROP OFF: A regular service by EDMC at this annual event is the opportunity for people to bring in hard-to-recycle items. With the help of our partner, Chicago Logistic Services, we will be collecting electronics & small appliances (microwaves MUST be clean, no smoke detectors, no medical devices, no console TVs) clean Styrofoam™, packing peanuts, re-useable bubble wrap, Christmas lights, fluorescent tubes, athletic shoes, VHS tapes, CDs, cassettes, and household batteries will also be collected.  A donation is requested to offset the costs of recycling these items.


Sunday, April 27th, 2 – 6 p.m.

Cost: $35 per guest (Includes $10 Donation to Environmental Defenders) 

Join us at Duke's in Crystal Lake as we celebrate Earth Day with an eco-friendly food and beer tasting. Come mingle with friends and eco-minded breweries as you taste several beers and Duke's food items in a buffet setting.

Meet representatives from breweries leading the path for eco-friendly brewing practices while enjoying their exquisite beers. Learn how these breweries have become leaders in brewing beers with minimal impact on the environment. This is a unique event that cannot be missed. 

Proceeds from the tasting and raffle will benefit the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County.

To purchase tickets online, Click HERE

Or you can get tickets at Duke's, and we may have some at the office (cash or check) Call first!


EDMC offers $1000 Scholarship

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is offering an Entering College scholarship for $1,000 to an outstanding high school senior planning to pursue a career directly related to environmental science or preservation.  

The following criteria will be used to choose the winner of the scholarship: 

·        A resident of McHenry County who is attending high school in the county

·        Volunteer work/service for an environmental organization

·        Two letters of recommendation, with one being a teacher

·        Grade point average from high school transcript

·        An essay on your goals and aspirations in regard to the environment 

Applicants cannot be a relative of a Defenders board member or staff.

Click Here for application and more information.

View the movie trailer:


Many thanks to all who participated in our

44th Annual Meeting and Theta Award Ceremony

Dr. Don Wuebbles, professor at the University of Illinois and a Nobel Laureate for his work on the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, presented a terrific program about global climate change and how it is resulting in greater extremes of weather throughout the world. One climate change denier in the audience stated that he was actually swayed to believe that we need to take action after hearing this presentation. The rest of us were reaffirmed in our belief that we need to get Congress to act on this issue.

You can access the slides that Dr. Wuebbels used in his presentation HERE. The IPCC assessment Report 5 can be found at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.Ux0yr1xD83k and the 2009 National Climate Assessment can be found at http://nca2009.globalchange.gov/  

Click here to read the report Model Behaviour: Comparing Climate Science with Economic Forecasts

There are many photos of the event on our FaceBook page - Click Here!

What have we been up to lately?


·     Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge – served as fiscal agent for friends’ group

·     Farmland Preservation – served on Local Foods Taskforce to increase viability of small farms and promote local foods; advocated successfully for increased agritourism opportunities for small farmers in the County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)

·     Water Resources Preservation - Created Silver and Sleepy Hollow Creeks Watershed Plan; formed and facilitate SSHCW Coalition; facilitate the McHenry County Watershed Roundtable; member of FREP, KREP, Fox River Study Group; advocated successfully for watershed protection in County’s UDO

·     Green Infrastructure Preservation – helped with effort to create Green Infrastructure Plan for McHenry County; advocated successfully for inclusion of green infrastructure protection in County’s UDO



·     River clean-ups – collaborate with Sierra Club and SSHCW Coalition to conduct two or three river clean-ups each year around the county; conduct It’s Our River Day annually in Algonquin in collaboration with the village

·     Recycling - hold monthly recycling drives to collect items that are not collected curbside; annual Earth Day Recycling Drive; collaborate with County Health Department for annual Spring recycling drive; recycle at special events – Mozart Festival, Nippersink Music Festival, Wasted Plains Festival, Pickle Palooza, etc.; collaborating with County Fair Board and Ecossential Solutions, Inc. to begin recycling program at County Fair; small-business cardboard recycling project; electronics restoration project; serve on Lou Marchi Total Recycling Institute planning group

·     Native Habitat Protection – collaborate with MCCD, CL Park District, and SSHCW Coalition for multiple habitat restoration workdays each year in Silver & Sleepy Hollow Creeks Watersheds; reestablishing habitat restoration work on two roadside prairies – Triangle Prairie in Woodstock and O’Brian Prairie north of Greenwood; conduct annual workdays on Defenders’ and Soil and Water Conservation District’s properties in Woodstock

·     Transportation Planning – advocated for “complete streets” planning in County’s 2040 Transportation Plan; collaborated with McHenry County Bicycle Advocates to collect hundreds of signatures for bicycle lanes/paths in the Plan; met with IDOT representatives to preserve oaks and Sleepy Hollow Creek in Hwy. 31 widening project

·     Miscellaneous – served on taskforces to create McHenry County’s Wind Energy Ordinance, Solid Waste Reduction Plan, Water Resources Action Plan



·     Earth Day Celebration – annual event at Prairieview Education Center in collaboration with MCCD – multiple committees’ activities

·     It’s Our River Day – annual event on Fox River in collaboration with Village of Algonquin – presentations and educational materials

·     Tabling at events – environmental information provided at Algonquin Conservation Day, Natural Landscaping Seminar, Garden Fest, Green Living Expo, McHenry County Fair, music festivals, and at our documentary showings

·     Environmental Documentaries – show several documentaries annually at MCC in collaboration with Lou Marchi Total Recycling Institute and the MCC Sustainability Center – examples:  Gasland, Bag It!, Sun Come Up, Queen of the Sun, Chasing Ice, The Price of Sand, etc.

·     BYO Bag McHenry County – beginning educational campaign to reduce plastic bag use in County

·     Green Drinks – in 5th year of serving on planning group and facilitating monthly Green Drinks events at Dukes

·     State & Regional Environmental Issues – collaborate with Illinois Environmental Council and Environmental Law and Policy Center to educate and advocate about broader issues that affect our county


Fundraising Efforts – these include our Green Spot Used Book Store, annual books sales, annual Eco-friendly Food and Beer Fest at Duke's, Pioneer Tree Farm Christmas tree sales, County Fair ticket sales, Use-It-Again Garage Sales





Upcoming Events and Announcements:

(also see Calendar link above)

Office Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 am - 4:30 pm

Book Store Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 am - 4 pm. Saturday 11am - 3pm

Defenders' McHenry & Woodstock Recycling Drives

The Defenders' recycling drive committee would like to apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused wonderful citizens wanting to bring recyclable materials to the Woodstock drive this past Saturday due to our emergency closure. Because of the severe weather, including lightning strikes, up to 60 mile-per-hour wind gusts and damaging hail, we were forced to cease operation for the safety of our entirely volunteer crew. Please do not give up on doing the right thing when it comes to caring for the environment. We have happily weathered many extremes of Mother Nature in the service of our fellow environmental caretakers, but safety and well being had to come first today. Thank you for your understanding!

Here are a few alternatives on where to take stuff:

-Saturday, April 26, 11am - 4pm at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake

-Saturday, May 3, from 8am-1pm, at the McHenry County Administration Building (North parking lot) located at 667 Ware Road, Woodstock

-Saturday, May 10, Metra Station Parking lot, 4005 Main Street in McHenry, from 9am until noon.

Electronics can be brought to Algonquin Township Road District 3702 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, 847-639-2700 X6, Computer Recycling Center in Crystal Lake, 815-455-6300 (call for information), or Lakewood's electronics drop-off site on Haligus Road south of Ballard Road (at the Fire Station).

We hold a monthly recycling drive on the second Saturday of each month, alternating between McHenry & Woodstock, McHenry in odd-numbered months and Woodstock in even-numbered months.

Our next collection of fluorescent tubes, batteries (household, rechargeable, car, and button), and clean polystyrene foam (AKA Styrofoam) will be in McHenry on Saturday, May 10th, from 9 am until noon. Click the link below for the address and more information. A donation will be requested for fluorescent bulbs, batteries, monitors and televisions brought in.

We also collect packing peanuts, re-useable bubble wrap, and electronics such as computers, phones, printers, electronic toys, etc. A donation is requested to recycle TVs and computer monitors (suggested donation is $10 - $35 depending on size) We can also take VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc.

Now you can donate aluminum cans at both the McHenry and Woodstock drives, but we will no longer be paying for them. The donation will help fund our educational and advocacy programs.

USAgain Clothes Collection System will be providing a truck at each drive to accept any kind of cloth items—clothing, linens, or just plain rags, clean and preferably put into a bag.  They will also accept shoes, tied together by their laces and placed in the bag.

Become a new member of the Defenders at the recycling drive, at the $50 level or higher, and get two coupons to recycle a television or monitor for FREE!

Home Depot & Ace Hardware will take your compact fluorescent bulbs for recycling at no charge.

read more here...

The Green Spot Used Books Store

110 S Johnson Street, Suite 104

Woodstock IL 60098


Visit the Defenders' Green Spot used book store, across the hall from the office. We have a continually rotating supply of good used books and gift items, all at incredible prices, and all proceeds help the Defenders.


Book donations are welcome. You can drop them off anytime we're open, or you can use our book bin, located on Johnson Street just to the left of the building, day or night!


Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11am - 4pm and Saturday 11am - 3pm.


Volunteer Opportunities 

  • Phone person wanted. Anytime we need volunteers for an event, we do a lot of calling, and can use help. You can do this from your home or at the Defenders' office - we'll provide a script with all the information you'll need. Let us know if this is something you'd like to help us with.
  • Help at our monthly recycling drives is always appreciated.
  • Green Spot Resale – We can always use volunteers to help sort and price book donations, Mondays - Saturdays, anytime between 11am-4pm. If you can commit to a 11am - 4pm shift once a week or once every other week, Tuesday through Saturday, we can use clerks at the book store. Call the office if you want to help.
  • Speakers Bureau - we often get calls from groups looking for someone to do a presentation for them. If you enjoy public speaking, let us know the topics you can cover, and we'll add you to our list.


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Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, 110 South Johnson Street, Suite 106, Woodstock, Illinois 60098
815-338-0393  mcdef@owc.net