The Conservation District offers a variety of presentations for McHenry County civic organizations, garden clubs, and other community groups. Presentations are 30-45 minutes in length and can be tailored to meet the interests of your group. Let us know your preferred topic, date, time and location of your gathering, and the number of attendees. Presentations are booked no more than three months and no less than two weeks in advance, and are subject to staff availability. Presentations are free however a minimum of 12 attendees is required. Email Education@MCCDistrict.org or call 815-479-5779 for additional information or to schedule a presentation.
Click here to download the Education Outreach Speakers Bureau brochure or browse presentation topics below.
Getting to Know the Conservation District
Discover the McHenry County Conservation District | Not familiar with the Conservation District? Learn about the mission, vision, and goals of the agency and the services provided to the citizens of McHenry County. This general overview covers the sites that are open to the public, recreational opportunities provided, the educational programs offered, along with information on the management of the District’s wide open spaces.
Recreational Opportunities Close to Home | Learn all about the outdoor recreational opportunities the Conservation District makes available right here in McHenry County and where to find them. Whether you’re looking for a place to picnic, camp or fish or hoping to paddle or pedal, there’s something for everyone.
Safety on Conservation District Sites
Learn how the Conservation District Police Department manages to protect and serve the District’s site users, natural resources, property and infrastructure and how you can benefit from and support their efforts. With over 25,000 acres to patrol, the Police Department’s proactive strategies to preventing crime include the assistance of volunteers who participate in the Safety Watch Education & Environmental Program (S.W.E.E.P). This partnership program encourages neighbors and regular site users to keep watch while at District sites and to call in any unusual or suspicious behavior, helping to keep our sites safe and enjoyable places to recreate. Whether you want to help or simply know more about the safety of District sites, a Police Officer will lead you through an interactive experience that will answer your questions.
Officers may also be available to attend HOA gatherings, community picnics, block parties or municipal events to share safety tips, demonstrate the use of their equipment, and/or talk about their role in protecting District resources.
Wildlife Around the County
Bats of McHenry County | Bats are a culturally misunderstood animal. Find out why they’re not scary, but instead are fascinating and integral to the environment.
Birds of McHenry County | Learn about a variety of local bird species, their calls and their habits in this introduction to birding.
Canines of McHenry County | Discover the different species of the canine family that call McHenry County home. The presentation explores the similarities and differences of these wild cousins and includes the use of hands-on artifacts.
Frogs of McHenry County | Learn about the different frog species of McHenry County, how to recognize their calls and what they can tell us about the health of their ecosystem.
Jewels of Blue | Learn about the life of the Eastern Bluebird. We include information on the decline of populations due to habitat loss and aggressive introduced species, and conservation efforts made by the Conservation District and the success of the bluebird trail program.
Living with Wildlife | We all love to catch a glimpse of local wildlife but sometimes these encounters can go from fascinating to a nuisance. Learn how to deal with wildlife when they become problematic for your home or health.
Monarch Butterflies | Discover the life history of the monarch butterfly including life cycle, migration, and current threats to the species. Learn how you can help this iconic migratory species.
Owls of McHenry County | Learn what makes owls unique, what their mating habits are and what kind of owls you can see and/or hear in McHenry County.
Winter Birds of McHenry County | Not all of our feathered friends abandon us for the tropics during the winter. Some stay here year round while others are only winter visitors to our county. Brighten those dreary winter days by bringing these winter birds to you. Learn to identify McHenry County’s winter birds and how to attract them to your yard.
From Frontier to Settlement | Learn about McHenry County’s early years through the stories from prairie settlers. In this first person interpretation everyone gets the story straight from the settler’s mouth.
Of Furs and Traders | From out of the past a trader comes to visit your group and share his adventures in the Northwest Territory. Your visitor tells stories of the past to reach the audience in a first person interpretation experience. Learn about the fur trade in a historically fun and imaginative program.
Plants and Natural Areas
How Ecosystem Services Work for Us | Learn about the many benefits we receive from healthy, functioning ecosystems. Understanding these services helps us appreciate the value and impact of protecting natural communities. Discover the four significant categories of services that affect citizens here in McHenry County and across the globe.
Native Landscaping | Be introduced to a variety of native plants that have become popular in local landscaping. Learn about the special adaptations they have developed in order to better survive local conditions and why that makes them a great addition to your garden. We’ll also explore the ways these plants contribute to the health of our local ecosystems.
Natural History of the Prairie in Northern Illinois | How did Illinois come to be called “The Prairie State” and what happened to the vast prairies that were once found here? Discover what is being done now to restore some of these unique ecosystems.
Oaks of McHenry County | Oak communities have a long history in McHenry County. Learn about the importance of oaks as a keystone species in our natural communities and about the latest research on this topic.
Our Nippersink Creek | Take the time to explore the Nippersink Creek, a great example of a Northern Illinois stream that is rich in biological diversity and human history. We provide information on its natural history, restoration projects and the recreational opportunities it provides.
Planting for Pollinators | Pollinators are under threat from a variety of stresses, but with a bit of knowledge and effort, gardeners can make a positive difference for these important creatures. Growing native plants and adopting environmentally friendly practices brings the beauty of flowers to our yards while providing important habitat for our local wildlife. Even a small backyard garden can make a big difference. Discover how to create a pollinator friendly garden for your home.
Spring Wildflowers | Learn about the fleeting presence of spring wildflowers, including what to look for and when to expect to see it, along with some cultural history and fascinating folklore.
Wild Communities of McHenry County | Our human community is very important to us but so are the woodland, wetland and prairie communities that surround us. Explore what makes each community unique and why it’s important to preserve them.